Alexis-Francois L'Hotte: The Quest for Lightness in Equitation

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Alexis-Francois L'Hotte (1825-1904) was a French general. He attended Saint-Cyr as a young cadet. Since at the time Saint-Cyr had no cavalry school, L'Hotte was sent to Ecole de Cavalerie at Saumur to pursue his equestrian talent. It was around this period that he became the pupil of both Francois Baucher and comte d'Aure. He returned to Saint-Cyr as commandant of the reopened cavalry section. In 1864 he became ecuyer en chef of the Ecole de Cavalerie. In 1875 he returned to Saumur as commandant of the Ecole de Cavalerie. He was considered by all to be the most outstanding ecuyer of the period. His two works Un Officer de cavalerie- Souvenirs (1905) and Questions equestres (1906) appeared posthumously. It was on his personal horses that L'Hotte practiced the teachings of Baucher. But as ecuyer en chef and commandant at Saumur, he was obliged to follow the teachings and rules of a military establishment. In this respect he was more in the d'Auriste idiom, practicing primarily exterior and military equitation. For not supporting more openly the teachings of Baucher when he was ecuyer en chef and commandant at Saumur he was, and still is, criticized.