The foals of Mr. Séguin

Armand Séguin (1675-1835) was an amazing character. He made his fortune as a chemist and developed an accelerated method for tanning thick leathers by means of dilute sulfuric acid. With this, he was able to guarantee the revolutionary army, a great consumer of leather, the supply of this material for the manufacture of shoes. He installed his factory on the island located in Billancourt and that still bears his name today (Île Séguin). He also worked in the discovery of morphine together with Bernard Courtois and Charles Derosne. After several setbacks of fortune and accusations from which he had to defend himself, such as that of having tanned human skins

During the worst moments of the Terror, he threw himself into breeding racehorses during the Restoration.

The Comte d’Aure relates in the “ Utilité d’une École normale d’Équitation (Paris, 1845)” his terrible adventures as a horse breeder: “25 years ago, Mr. Séguin had Magnificent England broodmares loaded with the best thoroughbred stallions. Such so that a good number of very useful specimens could have been bred in France, if only they would only have been raised in proper conditions; but unfortunately, only the foals were weaned, they were sent to the garden of their home in Carrer de Varenne, an extension of 5 to 6 acres covered in magnificent forest, and during the winter, at least twenty of these foals they grazed there.

Most of these poor animals died after having uselessly scratched the earth and eaten the bark of the trees. Instead of worrying about such losses and giving solution to the problem, Mr. Séguin was content to respond to whoever gave him the news of the death of a foal: “worse for him, it is proof that he had a bad character”. Indeed, 2 or 3 who annually escaped this sad end undoubtedly had a supernatural temperament, but it did not show in any way that if they had been well maintained, they would all have managed to be very good specimens ».

More information:

The books of Armand Séguin
The book of Count d’Aure

Articles author brief breeder