Yves Plantin – Impacting His Devotees Like No One Has Ever Before

Yves Plantin
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Since 1995, the population of horses in France has increased, reaching 950,000 heads in 2010, representing 15% of the total population of horses in Europe. This growth is the result of the increasing interest of French people in recreational riding and horse betting. Such changes provide major advantages to different parts of horse industry, especially in the context of increasing international competition in the horse market, decreasing horse-meat consumption, societal changes regarding animal welfare, and harmonization of regulations at the European level.

Horses are still used for ranching and other types of work, but the joy of riding and keeping them as companions is what stirs the hearts of millions of people. Inspired by a similar passion, Yves Plantin became stellar in the horse breeding industry.

Born on July 21, 1938, in Paris, France, Plantin studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1959, which led him to discover the forgotten work of the Parisian Art Nouveau architect Hector Guimard. He wrote the script and directed two short films on Art Nouveau architecture and Bugatti cars, which enabled him to win a Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival.

In 1968, Plantin and his friend, Alain Blondel, created the Galerie du Luxembourg in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. They exhibit major artists of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods such as Tamara de Lempicka, Jean Dunand, Boutet de Monvel, Geroges Lepape, Rupert Carabin, etc. His love for art was recognized when he was named a Chevalier de I’ Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French Minister of Culture in 1996.

His link with horses dates to the late 1980s when he moved to Ginals to set up his PA studio. His first PA horse, Sisinius won the race against Dormane, twice. Plantin’s founding broodmares were Polish, French, and Russian mares. Amongst the horses he had bred, Whalid Al Dunixi was his leading French PA 3-year-old horse. The list of his other outstanding horses includes Verlino (Habdur), Vert Olive (Elbing), Nouil-laugratin (Dunixi), Vite Amines (Dormane), Quazar (Djelfor), Vitella (Njewman), and many more.

Plantin had an exceptional career in the horse breeding industry. He was the president of the European Conference of Arab Horse Organizations (ECAHO) Racing Commission from 1994 to 1998, the founder and inaugural president of the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR) from 1999 to 2002, and a member of IFAHR Executive Committee from 2002 to 2017.

In 2022, Plantin took the honorary presidency. Since the days of the ECAHO Racing Commission and the founding of IFAHR, his passion for the Arabian purebred and his goals have remained unchanged. He fought tirelessly for the harmonization of rules and regulations, for the development of Arab professional racing in most countries, and also for the independence of national Arab Jockey Clubs from specific decisions concerning their races. Being the chairman of the French Arabian Racing Association, Yves said, “Purebred Arabian races in France were getting stronger and will continue to attract top runners from around the country and Europe.”

Plantin left the world on July 11, 2022. He had a rich heritage in terms of the culture of the art world. The increased awareness of horse racing events, international competitions, and the exchange of horses and information between countries are also the prime factors for his success. Axelle Negre de Watrigant, the first woman to lead the AFAC, paid tribute to him: “Mr. Plantin, with whom I had the chance to share time in the AFAC office, was a gold mine of information and experience. He was honest, kind, incredibly dynamic, very cultured, and always passionate. To his passion, moreover, he has dedicated his life to imparting knowledge to young people.”

Throughout his life-long journey, Yves was very close to his friends and colleagues. This was the reason why most of them paid tribute to his memory quite beautifully. Robert Litt, a Jockey turned into a trainer, said about Yves, “I’ve worked with him since 1987. We had a good rapport. I’ve trained all his horses. We did everything together. He was a straight person in his dealings, and we never had any problems. We got along really well. It was a real pleasure to work for him. Every year I was given his home breeds to train. We had some great performers in the mold of Quazar (Djelfor), and a winner at Deauville and Newmarket, before being sold for very good money; we trained Vitella (Njewman) to win the French Arabian Breeders’ Cup Classic at Toulouse; there was also the Deauville winner Simmbad (Njewman). But I can’t believe it’s all in the past now…

We met through racing. There were very few races for PA horses in 1987. When I started training, I was lucky enough to be entrusted with Tout An Khan (Dahman El Arami), bred by Monsieur Di Francesco, and a winner on top of that, From then on, Yves Plantin entrusted me with a horse, Walid Al Dunixi (Dunixi), who had every fault imaginable but who did very well on the racecourse (the winner of the Critérium des 3ans and Prix Denouste among others). He could gallop! That’s how the seeds were sown as he entrusted me with his horses. Our relationship lasted until the very end. In fact, it’s partly down to him that I’m now breeding horses even though I’ve stopped training. Before that, he saw to it that I became part of the executive board of AFAC, of which he was the president, and for which he did a lot. In 2011, having stopped training, I decided to buy a mare in order to start breeding. She hailed from my yard, and the owner was looking to sell her. She was Salma Thabeth (Dormane), who proved to be a good producer, and whose daughters I have retained. We have a bit of fun. However, it was really Monsieur Yves Plantin who got me started in this business.”

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