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Parc de Maisons-Laffitte: motorists-horses, the difficult cohabitation

It is not uncommon to come across horses in the park of Maisons-Laffitte (Yvelines). (©78news)

When we enter the Maisons-Laffitte Park, it is not uncommon to come across horses. A meeting point that is a source of tensions both for riders and other road users.

For professionals in the horse racing world, the situation is one of constant stress. “I lose 2 kg a day, quips Gianluca Bietolini. I am responsible for the horses. » Gianluca is professional trainer.

In his stable, he has nearly 60 racehorses that can cost up to €2m for some people. Every day, without exception, the trainer carries out with his horses several round trips of 1 to 2 km between the stable and the practice rounds.

The trainer is obliged to take the road where each crossing with a bicycle, a scooter, a dog, a car or even a truck is a danger for his mounts and for others. Although trained, the horse remains an animal and can show itself unpredictable.

“They are very powerful beasts and it is unclear how they can react. The horse can be hit, but it can also run into someone, kick…”

Gianluca Bietolini

A speed not respected

The main problem concerns passing motorists too fast and too close horses. In the park, the speed is limited to 45km/h, which is insufficient. “Even at this speed, it’s not possible. I have young horses who are not used to this passage,” says Gianluca.

Reducing the speed would not, however, solve the problems either, according to the deputy mayor for equestrian activities and defense correspondent, Véronique Bertran de Balanda. “The limitation is already not respected. We can’t put speed cameras and police everywhere. We don’t have the coercive means to control everyone. »

A lack of information

Lack of knowledge of people is also a real issue. “No one knows the difference between the different types of horses anymore,” says Caroline Ehrwein, co-founder of the Sauvons Maisons-Laffitte association. Because a so-called “saddle” horse has nothing to do with a racing horse.

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“It’s like comparing a Formula 1 with your car. They are much more sensitive, a little noise can make them react. In addition, they are bred to be strong, reactive, powerful and dangerous for the horse, the rider on it and the people around. »

Gianluca Bietolini

In recent years, Maisons-Laffitte has seen the arrival of several new residents. In addition, many people come from other cities and are not necessarily aware. Finally, many schools are located in the park and the children are generally too excited at the sight of the animals.

Behaviors on both sides must be adapted when meeting horses.
Some roads in the Maisons-Laffitte park (Yvelines) are narrow. (©78news)

In both ways

The criticisms do not go only in one direction. On the side of the riders, in particular of “saddle”, the behaviors are also inappropriate. “I am also a motorist, underlines Gianluca. When I see riders, three abreast, on their phones and not paying attention to anything, I understand that it can be exasperating. »

Motorists also have reason to be impatient and you should know share the road.

“I appeal to individual responsibility in the public space. There is a general problem of education and good citizenship. »

Veronique Bertran de Balanda

Considered solutions

A major awareness campaign is needed. “We have been campaigning for this for years. We should also make partnerships with the schools, that they come to visit the stables, that we inform them, we had proposed it to the town hall as other solutions but nothing has changed. “, emphasizes Caroline Ehrwein. The best way to reach parents is also to reach children.

“The reality is that there is no action on the ground and that the majority refuses consultation”, underlines Charles Givadinovitch, elected from the opposition group Tous pour Maisons-Laffitte. In a forum, the group indicated that it wanted to create a working group with all the players concerned in order to think about solutions.

“The objective is consultation with professionals who know the animals, those who know them less, the Association Syndicale du Parc (ASP) and the town hall, which has the last word on the structuring of traffic, in order to have a message that affects everyone. »

Charles Givadinovitch

Véronique Bertran de Balanda defends herself and assures us to carry out “field actions” and that it is not necessary to create “working groups which do not lead to much”.

The elected majority indicates that several signs are displayed in the city. That every year, “We distribute small posters and goodies in schools. We do a ceremony every year with the new arrivals and we talk to them a lot about this problem. […] There are bridle paths. Similarly, posters have been put up in all the stables so that the riders are also made aware. »

A project to bring the Republican Guard in schools would also be underway. The town hall has also indicated that it will reopen, during the week, the gate which leads to the Boileau round and that it was in the process of redeveloping the Racine round in the center of the park.

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