|Known as the Cadre Noir because of their uniform, the horsemen of Saumur are the guardians of the art of French horsemanship. Their dark clothing was adopted in the first half of the 19th century to distinguish them from other army instructors. Today, whether they are civilians or military, they are all dressed in black and gold during public performances. Their silhouettes cut a sharp figure, from the tops of their cocked hats to the heels of their polished boots. In the service of the "impulsion, grace and lightness" which are the characteristics of French equitation, they keep a light hand, an arched back and a steady leg.