A master horseman in everything from dressage to the steeplechase, François Lemaire de Ruffieu is a renowned teacher, artist and author.
Born 1944 in the city of Rabat (Morocco), François was the third child of a French Cavalry officer. As a young man, life guided François to follow the footsteps of his father and in 1963 he signed a contract with the military. For the next six years, François served in the mounted cavalry. After passing many examinations in the classroom, in the field with tanks, and finally on horseback, François became a member of thefamous Cadre Noir, where he received training from Maitre Jean Couillaud.
While riding, competing and teaching, François served as a Riding Master in the cities of Saumur, Fontainebleau and in Paris at the military school of war. At the end of his contract, François left France to travel around the world, giving horseback riding seminars. In December 1971, he moved to New Jersey. Since 1978 François has been giving clinics throughout the US and Europe, his students winning year-end high-scores in equitation, hunter classes, stadium jumping, dressage and CT.
In 1984, François published his first book “The Handbook of Riding Essentials”. Then in 1986, he published his second book, “The Handbook of Jumping Essentials” which was translated in six languages. Two years later, François had columns in various horse magazines including a column entitled “Equestrian Savoir Faire”, a Dear Abby type column, in which he answered riding questions and illustrated them with cartoons.
Since 1988, François has been a panel member of the American Riding Instructor Certification Program, and in 1996 he was awarded the title of Master Instructor.
For many years, throughout his equestrian career as a teacher and trainer, François has constantly observed horses and riders.He is a perfectionist and is not happy with mediocrity. He is able to realize quickly if riders are or are not technically correct, and why.
Since 1990, François has painted over one hundred canvases. Many of his paintings have been printed in equestrian articles, and have appeared on covers of magazines such as “Horse Connection”, “The Chronicle of The Horse”, and “Dressage and CT” to mention only a few. Three of his paintings have recently been published in Hilda Nelson’s new biography, “Alexis-François L’ Hotte, the quest for lightness in Equitation” published by J.A. Allen.