14hh grey Camargue gelding DoB: April 2000
Muscadeu joined us on the 6 October 2008, from the Camargue region in the south of France and his arrival in this country, after being ridden through France with ‘The Caravan of Hope’, was covered by local TV and newspapers. Muscadeu does a wonderful job in his role as an RDA pony, and has successfully competed at both the RDA Regional Qualifiers and National Championships. Muscadeu is a very popular pony, and he is great friends with Huggy.
How did Muscadeu come to the centre?
In May 2008 ten Camargue horses were ridden from the Camargue in the south of France to begin a new life in Great Britain. Muscadeu d’Arbaud, known to all at the Elisabeth Curtis Centre as Muscadeu, was one of those ponies. He was bred in 2000 by Henri et Andre Palatre Manade d’Arbaud, at Mas Tourblanque, Gageron.
The Sète Lorient London (SLL) Association is an Anglo-French charity who provide horses for the English and French RDA. All the ponies were ridden to the UK by disadvantaged young people from France and the UK who also benefited from the amazing experience of riding across France and then to London on the ‘White Horses Project’, looking after the ponies as well as each other.
After a reception organised by the ‘Association of the Maison du Cheval Camargue’ on 5th May 2008, the ponies left Mas de la Cure in Saintes Maries de la Mer in the Camargue region on their journey to Brittany. Two notable receptions were at the Hotel de Ville of Vannes on 18th August 2008 and at the Hotel de Ville of Lorient on 25th August 2008. Five of the horses were donated to four RDA Centres across France.
The team with the five remaining horses then continued to Cherbourg and took the ferry across to Poole on the 12th September. They arrived safely in London on 27th September and the group were received in front of the French Embassy. The horses and team were also Blessed at St Marks Church, Regents Park, London by the Bishop of Edmonton on Sunday 28th September 2008.
After the ceremonies, the team donated one horse to each of the following Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) centres during October 2008:
- Elisabeth Curtis Centre, Bromham, Bedfordshire: Muscadeu d’Arbaud
- Barrow Farm Group, Chelmsford Essex
- Cranleigh Group, Guildford Surry
- Bradbourne Group, Sevenoaks, Kent
- Bank Farm, Chesham Bucks
In 2021, Muscadeu is still part of the herd at The Elisabeth Curtis Centre where he continues to be an outstanding, much loved and valued RDA pony. The journey from his birth in the Camargue, where the ponies are bred to herd cattle, to his life in the UK, has been fulfilling for both him and all the people he meets. He has taught many children to ride and is one of those ‘special’ ponies which are very precious to the RDA. The Elisabeth Curtis Centre is very lucky to have such a willing pony who is a firm favourite with all the volunteers and riders.