What's a Manège?

If you know this blog, then you know that I spend an inordinate amount of time looking at UK property listings. From Grade I Listed historic estates to the smallest timbered cottage, I've taken virtual tours of just about every type house that can be found in Britain. Often, the property listings include a list of outbuildings and other features - paddocks, stabling, ornamental lakes, coach houses, conservatories, etc., etc., etc. Occasionally, I'll find mention of something called a "Manège." Time and again, I've asked myself, "Exactly what in the heck is a manège?" A manger? A manger in the French manner? Something one manages? A management office? A farm office?   Hhhhmmmm  . . . . .

 According to Merriam-Webster.com, a manège is:

1: a school for teaching horsemanship and for training horses
2: the art of horsemanship or of training horses
3: the movements or paces of a trained horse
Other than this, the availability of internet information concerning the manege is slim to none. Go on, Google the word, I'll wait . . . . . see?
I did find a website called Equine World UK, where I found the following useful information:
A horse riding manege or dressage arena is usually marked around the edge with letters. In the riding lesson or during a dressage test this enables instructions to be given as to when to perform a particular action. Arena sizes may vary but most riding schools have an arena that is 20 metres by 40 metres, whilst others may have an arena that is 20 metres by 60 metres.

The images below shows the location of the letters that denote a particular point in the arena. Although there may be physical markers around the edge of the arena, there are no markers to identify the positions of the internal letters and so these must be memorised.

So, a manège is an indoor riding ring or school. And should never be confused with a ménage, which is the French word for "household," or with the French term "ménage à trois," which may be the topic of a future post, perhaps featuring the Hamiltons or the Duke of Devonshire. 

Perhaps the most famous indoor riding school is the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, where the famous Lipizzaner stallions are trained and housed.

For more on the Stallions and their training, click here.