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I created the Association Française du Poney Européen de Sport (the French Association of European Sport Ponies) in September 1997 with my wife (of the Arby stud), Jean-Philippe Marin (of the Soulac stud), Gérard Parisot (the Oye stud) and Jean-Marc Lefèvre (of the Montmain stud) and I was the founding president. 

The aim was to promote elite sport ponies, to bring together pony breeders whose priority was performance in the three Olympic disciplines, to provide the information they needed to achieve this and to encourage a mix between ponies and horses, bringing the best of foreign blood and opening new ways of breeding, taking from the success of the leading European countries. 
The ambition was to create our own stud book – European Sport Ponies – somewhat contrary to the views of people of the era such as Jean Lassoux, president of the Association Nationale du Poney Français de Selle (National association of French Riding ponies), and Bernard Pichon, the director of the Bureau de l’Elevage (office of breeding), who made a lot of mistakes with regards to the evolution and selection of French sport ponies (as well as setting things back) and who had nothing but derisory comments to make about the cross-breeding we wanted to promote.
At the time, he was revolutionary in wanting to encourage cross-breeding between ponies and horses, citing it as an inevitable way forward for those who wanted to achieve the highest levels, and advocating that it was embraced rather than marginalized. At the same time, my other warhorse, using foreign blood, was very poorly viewed: a resistance which was undoubtedly understandable for the Selle Français horses which claim to come from a National breeding ground and to have well-defined characteristics, but was without foundation for the Poney Français de Selle (French riding pony). 
The leaders didn’t want to listen and there was strong opposition, discouraging – but not enough for me, as I’d always achieved the crossings that I intended without worrying whether they pleased everybody, ticked all the boxes and were allowed or not. After relentless letters and meetings, of which of course I kept records, things started to change. From the moment my first ponies, descended from exactly such crossings, started to reach the highest level I felt their views towards me changed and my beliefs started to have some impact. Jean Lassoux was thankfully replaced by Marie-Dominique Saumont-Laccueille, a much younger president, decidedly more open, closer to the realities of competition as her daughter competed at the top level in ponies on a homebred stallion. 
Our ideas were progressively incorporated into the modifications of the rules of the Poney Français de Selle studbook and today it isn’t far off being satisfactory, despite a few irritating… and prejudicial… stumbling blocks. One of the strengths of the AFPES, which can count up to 400 members, was the quarterly newsletter, whose original summary quickly made a name for itself. I looked after the writing of some of the articles and coordinated papers and sections which other volunteers had been charged with.  With support having rapidly evolved right from the 5th edition of around 44 pages (and 48 pages for number 8), in four colours and on glossy paper, the newsletter became more expensive to produce and Jean-Marc Lefèvre took care of grants from the Conseil des Chevaux de Normandie. 

Eight numbers were published in this way, the links to which are shown here:

Bulletin d'information N°1 (Size *.pdf - 0.674mo) Bulletin d'information N°2 - (Size *.pdf - 0.803mo) Bulletin d'information N°3 - (Size *.pdf - 11.580mo) Bulletin d'information N°4 - (Size *.pdf - 11.340mo)
Bulletin d'information N°5 - (Size*.pdf - 1.920mo) Bulletin d'information N°6 - (Size *.pdf - 2.180mo) Bulletin d'information N°7 - (Size *.pdf - 3.230mo) Bulletin d'information N°8 - (Size *.pdf - 3.160mo)

Nevertheless, following difficulties encountered by Jean-Marc Lefèvre in obtaining the aforementioned subsidies to allow us to continue to publish this little brochure, two numbers, although completed, were never able to see the light of day – which convinced me to step down, leaving the Association in the hands of the Vice-President Jean-Marc Lefèvre (the AFPES, currently inactive, still exists).

Here are the links to the two unpublished numbers:

Bulletin d'information N°9 - (Size *.pdf - 2.330mo) Bulletin d'information N°10 - (Size*.pdf - 2.810mo)

Numbers 11, 12 et 13, whose summaries make my mouth water when re-reading them today, were in the course of being prepared, but were never realised! Simultaneously, another project continuing this adventure was created: the Syndicat Linaro, in whose birth and development I was going to assist.

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