Since the 19th century when horses were selected as working animals up until now in the early 21st century when sport horses and ponies are trained in six equestrian disciplines, the Société Hippique Française and the role played by horses in our society have been evolving at the same time.
1865: foundation of the Société Hippique Française. Its original articles of association required it to organise a central show for workhorses every year in Paris, open to geldings and mares from 4 to 6-years-old.
16 October 1866: Emperor Napoleon III officially recognised the SHF as a non-profit organisation.
1866: the first central show was held at the Palais de l’Industrie in Paris, open only to geldings and mares from 4 to 6-years-old. The competition aimed to show, rank and award prizes to horses which were harnessed or being ridden, used for agricultural work and transport.
1870: creation of the first show jumping classes.
1876: creation of the first international horse show with a cup for horses of all ages and nationalities, predominantly English and Irish.
Creation of shows outside Paris: Nantes (1874), Bordeaux (1875), Lille, Nancy and Lyon (1876).
1887: creation of the shows in Vichy and the purchase of a plot of land known as the Sichon ground in the town centre, the current home to the Jumping International de Vichy. The show in Vichy is the oldest show jumping competition in France.
1901 to 1940: central show held at the Grand Palais in Paris.
After the First World War: working alongside the Cavalry, the SHF guided French breeding towards the production of saddle horses. It implemented a full programme of confirmation, gait and outdoor jumping classes.
At the same time, the SHF continued to be the leading organiser of horse shows, giving rise to memorable incidents such as the 2m38 jump by the Vendean horse, Vol au Vent by Ignotus, at the show at the Grand Palais.
1937: the first CSIO was held in Paris.
1950: creation of the first French Show Jumping Championships in Fontainebleau.
1952 to 1979: the SHF took control of the management of all show jumping companies, a responsibility that was subsequently passed on to the French Equestrian Federation of which SHF was the first member.
1972: the SHF was approved by the Ministry of Agriculture as the parent body of young horse classes in France.
1973: creation of two show jumping circuits: the cycle classique (for professional riders) and the cycle libre (for amateur riders).
1982: first Grande Semaine de l’Elevage of Fontainebleau that brought together the finals for young horses aged 4, 5 and 6-years-old was held.
1988: scores for conformation and gaits and the horse’s jumping style during an individual test were integrated into the ranking.
1991: inauguration of the Committee of Socio-Professionals (breeders, owners and riders).
1993: the National Eventing finals were moved to the Haras National site and Pompadour Racecourse.
2000: the National Dressage finals were moved to the Ecole Nationale d’Equitation (National Riding School) in Saumur.
2000: inclusion of endurance classes for young horses.
2003: opening of the SHF classes to foreign horses born in Europe that belong to studbooks approved by the World Breeding Federation of Sport Horses.
2006: the SHF took over the over management of the young pony classes’ circuit.
2011: the Société Hippique Française became the parent body for the entire breeding industry, including the National Breed Associations, the Regional Breeders Associations, the Chamber of Commerce for French Horses (CSCCF), socio-professional stakeholders and qualified persons.