The home of Gabrielle d’Estrées

Demeure Gabrielle D EstreesIn the 16th century, King Henri IV was hunting in the Yvelines forest, accompanied by his dear mistress, Gabrielle d’Estrée when he stopped one evening, exhausted, at a woodcutter’s house.

The royal guests found the setting very appealing and built a home there: La Cense.

Between two wars, the King sometimes came to La Cense seeking some rest with the beautiful Gabrielle.

The first horses at La Cense

William Kriegel bought La Cense in 1980 from the industrial designer Raymond Loewy. In 1985, he worked on the location, creating a quarter horse stud farm and professional reining stables. La Cense excelled in competitions in France and in Europe, thanks to rider and trainer Lisa McCauley’s outstanding results. The quarter horse breeding facility developed over the next ten years, notably with star stallion Cash Enterprise. The business came to an end in 2009.


photosyannarthusbertrand5William Kriegel was a pioneer when, in 2000, he dedicated La Cense to a new approach to the relationship between riders and horses: natural horsemanship. This term brings together horse training techniques from the American horsemanship practiced by the “whisperers” and scientific knowledge on horse behavior: ethology.

Between 2000 and 2002, La Cense developed its teaching activity, in partnership with Pat Parelli and opened the Ecole la Cense, the first professional training center specializing in ethological riding. Andy Booth, an Australian student of Pat Parelli, took over technical management of La Cense and personified the development of this approach in France.

In 2003, the Fédération Française d’Equitation created the Savoirs Ethologiques and the Brevets Fédéraux d’Equitation Ethologique.

The La Cense Method, published in 2005, offers a horse and rider training program, using a series of progressive exercises. This reference book enabled the techniques taught at La Cense to reach a wide audience.

Since 2012, the Fédération Française d’Equitation’s Galops program includes part of its techniques and knowledge on ethology.
It has now become a widespread and respected approach. La Cense communicates its knowledge to professionals and amateurs in a cross-cutting way, and to all equestrian disciplines.