La Chapelle Gaceline, a rural commune in Morbihan (Brittany, France) has been building an increasingly marked horse identity since 2009. It began with the arrival of Nayak, the first territorial horse, then the installation of an equestrian theater and a saddlery on the commune.
After a visit in 2008, to Saint Pierre sur Dives in Normandy where school transport is done daily by carriage with a draft horse led by 2 municipal employees, Nayak, a Breton draft horse began to transport children daily from school to the canteen.
Nayak’s missions have expanded to watering planters and flowering the town, transporting plants to be crushed and thus transformed into mulching, then a project to sweep the town center with a prototype of horse-drawn sweeper but also participation in local events: Flower Festival of La Gacilly, Folles Journées Equi-cités, as well as the transport of the bride and groom during ceremonies or the delivery of municipal flyers and bulletins. (summary of La Chapelle Gaceline, petite cité d’ équidés).
At its General Assembly in December 2022, the United Nations drafted a report on Agriculture Development, Food Security and Nutrition. It mentions the beneficial role of working animals, including horses and donkeys, for the planet. Still used in many parts of the world, they are making a timid comeback in Europe. (see Les animaux de travail, atouts pour une planète durable selon l’ONU)
Some School horse-drawn carriage Initiatives did not wait for the UN to opt for “very” soft mobility: the city of Ungensheim near Mulhouse (France), a true model in terms of ecological transition (see video: Ungersheim, Village in Transition). But also, several towns in the north of France, such as Bachy, near the Belgian border, several other municipalities in Brittany, such as Hennebont (see article from The Guardian), or Vendargues, in the suburbs of Montpelllier.
A study shows that from 1995 to 2021, the number of communities using human-equine work increased almost 20-fold. Beyond the objectives of carbon-free mobility, it is also a question of saving draft horses, which had lost their usefulness in our cities and especially in rural areas. Other uses also include skidding, beach cleaning, rubbish collection, etc.