Last week we introduced you to the vaulting club L’écurie de la 2ème Chance. They buy horses with a difficult past and give them a second chance in vaulting. The big problem: The club doesn’t have enough vaulters to stay alive.
The vaulting club is in Duttlenheim, near Strasbourg in Alsace (France) and also near the German border. The club was founded in 2009. The coach bought her first horse at 18 years and started with vaulting lessons soon. At first, the teaching was just private and for fun for friends and her family. However, when it became more, she started the club eight years ago.
For the coach it was a challenge which took a lot of time, paperwork and visits to the authorities to start the club. But the much bigger challenge is to keep the club alive:
The club is very small, currently it has only 7 active vaulters but 4 vaulting horses.
Five of the vaulters are members of the team, two are beginners. One of the vaulters told us that they need help to find new athletes. They tried all different kinds of marketing like newspaper articles, registered as a sport club with the city, organize tombolas … They definitely can manage the financial part of the club but the lack of club members is a big issue. The club of the seond chance needs new vaulters to make progress, to have juniors who could move up into the canter team and to make the club more public.
They get some support from their city, which is a great help: They can use a small ballroom once a month to train without getting wet. It is a nice alternative for a gym. On the other side, as a small club they get not much support from the national association
Very seldom we organize clinics for our vaulters. Last year we had Jacques Ferrari at our stable. Together with another club it was possible to finance it. It was a great weekend, where we learnt a lot, but it was a one time thing. Is this useful?
Let’s take a look at the overall French situation
I asked the club member what has changed in French vaulting during the last ten years.
It depends where. In their region Alsace vaulting decreased a lot. Now there are only three clubs and one private person left which offer weekly vaulting lessons and also take part in competitions. In some clubs vaulting is only a holiday program.
In other regions of France vaulting stays the same: Either there are clubs or it doesn’t exists. On the other hand some regions develop very well. Most of France’s vaulters are members of the four or five biggest clubs. It looks like there is not much variety of vaulting offers. On top of it, there are nearly no vaulting-only clubs. Most of them are stables with riding schools which have some vaulting lessons next to it.
The vaulters from Duttlenheim think if nothing changes in their region, vaulting will not exist there anymore in ten years from now. There will still be vaulting in France but it will be concentrated around Paris in the biggest clubs.
Is it possible that our amazing sport cannot find any interested children? We asked around and will present some ideas how to do marketing for an equestrian vaulting club in part III of this small series.
We are also curious if someone has different experiences in France.