Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Favorite Video: French Police Horse Tours Paris on the Run

A 15-year-old stallion abandoned his post guarding the French President Mr. Sarkozy at the Élysée Palace in Paris today and ran away with the headlines on the evening news. Garibaldi, the highly trained horse, spooked while on duty and dumped his rider. In a flash, the riderless Garibaldi decided he needed to be home in his nice safe stall at the Garde Republique stables, and he headed there, at a gallop. Someone was following with a video camera and captured this amazing footage, including a gallant effort by a long-armed gendarme who tried to climb halfway out of a speeding police car and grab the reins.

It was like a scene from Hopalong Cassidy Meets The Pink Panther.

Thankfully, the horse wasn't hurt, and Paris managed to stop for a few minute to get him gallop by.

Maybe Garibaldi was watching the Super Bowl a few weeks ago and decided to imitate the ad about the lovestruck Budweiser Clydesdale who helps his girlfriend escape from the circus.

For farrier readers: this is one of the police horses shod by the famous traditional military farriers in Paris who use a crew of four or five men to shoe each horse, using the highly rhythmical two striker system. It is a beautiful tradition, but the proof of their work is that this horse stayed on his feet most of the way, and the shoes didn't seem to fall off.

And leave it to the French: Garibaldi is a fine-looking horse. The French are so romantic, they may have a law that only stallions can serve at the President's palace. My compliments to the uniform designers; did you see the knee rolls on those saddles?

Thanks to the British newspaper, The Telegraph, for making this video possible. Click here to read the full article, with more information.

And to learn more about the Garde Republicaine, here's a little behind the scenes clip and a ceremonial guarding of the Presidential touring car as it whizzes elegantly by:

Do you know how some horses are afraid of marching bands in parades? Notice that with this group, the marching band is mounted on the horses.

Click here to watch a great video about the Garde Republicaine, which includes closeups of the band playing on horseback and the magnificent gray drum horses! A visit to their stables is a must for any trip to Paris!

Click here to learn all about anatomy of the horse's foot and lower limb with our 3-D animated CD!

© 2009 Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask. Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site,, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to