Macron to offer Chinese president a Republican Guard horse
A Republican Guard rider prepares his horse before the 14 July 2014 parade on the Champs-Elysées
Emmanuel Macron, who begins his first state visit to China on Monday, will offer Chinese President Xi Jinping a horse from the Republican Guard, a “horse diplomacy” unprecedented and a gesture of friendship towards his host, said the Elysee to AFP.
“During his visit to Paris in 2014, President Xi had been escorted from the Invalides to the Elysée Palace by 104 Republican Guard riders and had been fascinated by this excellent know-how,” the presidency said.
“Wishing to form bonds of friendship with foreign heads of state, more than a gift, Emmanuel Macron wanted to make a diplomatic gesture,” said the Elysee. This gesture responds to the Chinese “panda diplomacy”, in which in 2012 Beijing lent a pair of pandas to France, whose baby was baptized in November by the wife of the president, Brigitte Macron.
Note that the transcription in Mandarin of the name of the French president is “Makelong”, which means “the horse defeats the dragon”.
Dubbed “Vesuvius of Brekka”, this 8 year old brown bay gelding from a small breeding of the Channel joined the Republican Guard in 2012. Emmanuel Macron will also offer his harness and a saber engraved with this sentence: “Mr. Emmanuel Macron – President of the French Republic – Beijing – January 2018 “.
The horses of the Republican Guard represent the excellence of the missions of honor of the presidency during the reception of heads of state, explains the Elysée.
France also concludes “a partnership agreement between the Republican Guard and the Chinese authorities, which values the excellence of the French equine sector with many assets to support the development of this sector in China”.
Vesuvius Brekka, born June 10, 2009 in Colomby at Mr. Le Boulanger, is a typical horse of the Republican Guard. He made his last presidential escort on November 11, 2017 on the Champs-Elysées.
The horses of the Republican Guard remain fifteen years in active service. They are bought at the age of three from private breeders.
They must meet the criteria of size (minimum 165 cm at the withers at three years) and have a robe (chestnut, bay or gray).
The horse traveled to China in a special plane, accompanied by the veterinary chief and the Republican Guard’s healer. They arrived on January 4th and will take care of the horse on a quarantine farm. The latter will join the presidential team of Mr. Xi.
In the meantime, Mr. Macron will hand over to Mr. Xi on Monday evening, during their first meeting in Beijing, a photo of the horse he has dedicated to him.
General Damien Striebig, commander of the Republican Guard, accompanies the official delegation. The saddle of arms offered with Vesuvius dates from 1874 and equipped the cavalry regiments of the French army. Only the Republican Guard uses saddles of this type nowadays.
The partnership agreement between the Republican Guard and China provides a mission of expertise in China and training actions in France.