Ride along the Atlantic Coast of France with 250km of protected beaches and one of the largest forests in Europe. There is access to miles of open beaches all year round and cool, sandy paths to gallop along in the forest. This programme is a point to point trek for fit intermediate riders onwards. The accommodation and organisation leave something to be desired, the location and riding is top class and is what people come here for. Be prepared to compromise on other things.
Enjoy fast and exciting riding up to 6 hrs daily covering 40km each day on very fit but beautifully schooled and easy to ride Anglo Arab horses. Accommodation is in the comfortable on-site guest house and there is one night of camping on trails in July and August. The food is typically French with multiple courses and plenty of red wine. This is an ideal riding holiday for good riders.
There is live availability on this ride, click the book button to see if there is space left on your preferred date.
Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.
Review received from KZ of Amsterdam on 01/04/2022
Transfer by minibus organised by the Equestrian Center for guests. Pick up time is at 16:00 at Bordeaux airport and 17:00 at Bordeaux railway station. Arrival to Mimizan at around 19:00, for all riders coming with or without the transfer. Departure for the dinner at the restaurant at 20:30 with dinner at 21:00.
Day 2 Mimizan - Bias. 20 km / 3 hours riding
10h00 Meeting with all riders after the breakfast and Briefing Time with the Guide about the week program
10h30 Riders are dropped to Mimizan Beach to visit the village and do any shopping required before the trail and have lunch in a restaurant of your choice (not included in the price).
13h30 Pick-up time is at 13h30 in front of the Tourism office and we head back to the Guest House.
14h00 Meeting at the stable for a briefing about the horses, the equipment and to discuss the itinerary.
16h00 The ride starts in the arena and we spend 30 minutes to enable the riders to get used to their horses and discover the French way to ride them. It also gives us the opportunity to asses the different levels and expectations of each rider, matching you to suitable horses for the 6 following days.
We do not ride nose to tail during the week, giving each rider the opportunity to control their own paces. This way of hacking out helps the rider
Our surroundings are beautiful and the wild landscape offers some nice views above the ocean from the dunes.
19h00 Transfer back to the Guest House and its swimming pool by minibus (8 minutes)
19h30 Relax time
20h30 Departure for the dinner.
21h00 Dinner at the restaurant.
Day 3 Bias - Contis - St Julien. 30 km / 5 hours riding
Today you'll be spending 5 hours in the saddle discovering forests as well as the coast landscape with its high sandy dune (up to 150 meters over the sea level) and you'll also enjoy the first beach ride either in the morning or in the evening, according to the tides.
09h00 Transfer to the horse’s field of the night.
10h00 Start of the trail ride
13h30 Lunch time and resting time
16h00 Start of the ride
19h00 Transfer back to the Guest House and its swimming pool by minibus (8 minutes)
19h30 Relaxing time
20h30 Departure for the dinner.
21h00 Dinner at the restaurant.
Day 4 St Julien - Mezos - Levignacq - Lesperon. 35 km / 5 hours riding
Programme : the landscape and the nature changes every day, offering various views of “The Landes” and wonderful ground for galloping. During the 2 next days, we'll spend as much time walking than with trotting, cantering or galloping. We visit the beautiful village of Landes “ Lévignacq “.
We take an afternoon adventure trip in the wilds along the river. Arrival at “Moulin de Caremonge”, a wonderful and unexpected place, where we’ll leave the horses in their field beside a lake for the night. Relax in the garden or beside the swimming pool before dinner at the Manor House.
08h00 Breakfast, time to prepare your luggage for the next night in the Manor House.
09h00 Transfer to the horses field of the night
10h00 Ride starts
13h30 Lunch at Lévignacq and rest time.
16h00 Start our afternoon ride
18h30 Short transfer by minibus (5 minutes) to the Manor of Tireveste
Day 5 Lesperon - Uza - Bias. 30 km / 4,5 hours riding
Programme : wild nature and wonderful ground for galloping. Bird reserve crossing and Uza village belonging to mister le Comte de Lur Saluces, owner of the famous Château Ychem Sauternes Vignard . Lunch time at Uza Lake in a typical restaurant and Landes speciality. Various landscapes and ride along river in the original forest during the afternoon. Dinner at the Equestrian Guest House.
09h00 Departure to Caremonge, the horses’ field of the night (5 minutes)
10h00 Start of morning ride
13h30 Lunch Time at Uza,. Resting Time.
16h00 Afternoon ride (2 more hours ride)
19h00 Transfer back by minibus (10 minutes) to the Equestrian Guest House and its swimming pool
19h30 Relax time at the Guest House
20h30 Departure for the dinner.
21h00 Dinner at the restaurant.
Day 6 Bias - Lespecier - ocean. 19 km / half day ride (4 hours riding)
Programme : Half-day rest and half-day ride in the morning or in the evening depending on the low tide. National littoral Forest crossing and access to the beach – 2 hours on the beach. This half-day trail gives riders the opportunity to enjoy the Atlantic Ocean and have some more exciting gallops along the beach. The other half-day gives riders time to relax beside the swimming pool at the Guest House.
If the weather is fine, from June to the end of September, our riders have the opportunity to play and swim in the ocean with or without their horses.
08h00 or 10h00 Breakfast
20h00 or 21h00 Dinner
Day 7 Mimizan Village - Aureilhan Lake - Mimizan Beach 30 km / 5 hours riding
Programme: Full day ride - Ride in the forest and along Aureilhan lake (protected area) – Ride along the river to Mimizan Beach . Forest and beach ride with the sunset.
According to the tide schedules, this program can be reversed.
09h00 Departure to join the horses
10h00 Start of ride
13h00 Lunch along the river
15h30 Afternoon ride
19h00 Arrival at the Guest House
If the weather is fine between June and September you will have the opportunity to play and swim in the sea, both with and without your horse. However, riders must be aware of the following: you can’t always ride on the beach during the 4-day trail, for instance if it is a very low tide. It’s not possible to canter in the seawater because of the wet sand which gets between the girth and the skin, which can injure the horse during the day. Therefore the aim of the last day is to offer the opportunity to be on the beach (in the morning or evening) at the best moment according to the tide. The beach is sometimes 200 m wide and often you will have it to yourselves. When this happens there is opportunity to canter or gallop in the seawater without restriction and have great fun.
The other half-day either in the morning or in the evening, according to the tide, gives to the riders the time to relax, to visit the village and to do some shopping, to sunbath on the beach or have a swim in the ocean before leaving for home.
Departure after breakfast. A transfer is organised for our guests from Mimizan to Bordeaux airport or Bordeaux railway station. Departure from the guest house according to the flight or train of the first client.
On the itineraries in July and August is one night of camping accommodation. The campsite is in a lovely natural area. The weather is pleasant at this time of year and this allows riders to enjoy beautiful natural areas. Hotels are often not available at this time. The camping is in 2 person dome tents with mattresses inside, plus shelters, tables and chairs outside.
Riders are also welcome to swim in the lakes and rivers during the day and in the evening - for this reason it is a good idea to keep your swimming costume handy in your saddlebag everyday! If the weather is nice there may be the opportunity to swim in the sea with your horse (see Day 7 above).
The trails can confirm for a minimum of 3 people for a small group supplement. As and when more riders book on then this will be refunded to you.
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
There are 25 horses of all types available at the riding centre. The majority of horses are Anglo Arabs with one each of Quarter horse, Lusitano and Standardbred. There are also 12 ponies available for children and smaller riders. Mineral water, hats and chaps are provided. This ride is for fit intermediate riders onwards. Fast and exciting riding up to 7 hours daily covering 40km each day. Here you have an opportunity to ride at all paces, take your own line on the beach and through the forest on very fit Anglo Arab horses. The horses range in size from 15.3hh to 16.3hh. The saddles are all English with deep seats and are comfortable and well maintained. The horses are schooled in English style and are very responsive and reliable. The numnahs used on trails have saddle bags in them and in addition cantle bags are available for camera, water bottles etc
•For the Atlantic Coast Trail riders should be of a fit intermediate level and able to ride at all paces for up to seven hours daily.
•The riding is at all paces and there are many opportunities to trot, canter and gallop.
•Riders are encouraged to take their own line wherever possible and can canter ahead and depart for faster riding singularly or in small groups spaced about 50-100m apart.
•There is a minimum age of 12 years for the trails.
•There is a weight limit of 90kg on this ride.
The weight limit for this ride is 209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
The accommodation is in the on-site guest house. The rooms are small and neat, all with an en suite bathroom. The owners are helpful and friendly with enthusiastic attempts at English. Please note that during busy periods rooms may host up to 5 people. The guest house has a small swimming pool for riders use.
On the itineraries in July and August is one night of camping accommodation. The camp site is in a lovely natural area. The weather is pleasant at this time of year and this allows riders to enjoy beautiful natural areas. Hotels are often not available at this time. The camping is in 2 person dome tents with mattresses inside, plus shelters, tables and chairs outside. Riders usually swim in the clear river water (1km from a spring), but showers can be arranged nearby by prior arrangement.
Due to the nature of the accommodation, single rooms are not usually available, however it is sometimes possible to arrange. Supplements will apply - please enquire. In the event that more than 3 people are sharing a room, each person will receive a rebate on arrival.
The food on the ride is quite basic, but plentiful. Breakfast is continental with juice, coffee, tea or hot chocolate, fresh bread of various kinds/croissant, butter and jams (often homemade). Lunch is usually taken comfortably seated around a table, with a vehicle bringing all needed equipment. It starts with an aperitif (vermouth, muscat wine or pinsat), various dips and tortillas and regional sausages. The next course is a salad with meat e.g. tabouleh with chicken, then a cheese selection with salad, followed by dessert and coffee with chocolate/biscuits. Dinner is similar affair to lunch with an aperitif, meat, vegetables, salad, cheeses, dessert and coffee course.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.
Visa are not required for U.K. or other European nationals. In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on travel insurance, passport and visas, health and vaccinations, legal issues and emergency issues. They can be reached on 0207 008 0232/0233 or at www.fco.gov.uk.
The British Consulate in Paris is at 35 rue de Faubourg St Honore, 75383 Paris Cedex 08. Tel + (33) 1 44 51 31 00. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The French Embassy in the U.K can be found at 58 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7JT. Telephone: (020) 7073 1000. Email: email@example.com.
The best time to visit this region is from March to November. The Landes region and trail almost always have dry days and when rain falls it is usually in the evening, overnight or before 9am in the morning. This is due to the local sea breezes. Riding is in the extensive shady pine forest or along the beach making for a pleasant temperature even in summer. At the height of summer in late July and August the riding is done early in the morning and the hours before sunset.
No special health precautions are required for visits to France, for further details please see your local doctor. We do advise taking plenty of sunscreen!
For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org.
Voltage is the same as in the UK and most appliances such as battery chargers for videos, hair dryers etc. can be plugged in with appropriate adapters. These are available for purchase at most airports and travel shops.
Good quality film is widely available for purchase as well as batteries (normal, alkaline and lithium). Electricity to recharge video cameras etc is available at the hotel.
We have put together a suggested packing list for your trip. This should be used as a guideline as requirements may vary according to your programme and preferences.
• Riding Helmet - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384. Helmets are available at the stables if you do not have your own
• Jodhpurs - jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot)
• Riding Boots - it is important to have correct shoes or boots for horse riding. Jodhpur or ankle boots with a rubber sole are recommended but sturdy shoes with a definite heel are acceptable (such as walking boots)
• Half Chaps - these are great when worn with ankle boots and help prevent the stirrup leathers rubbing against your legs
• T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts
• Fleece - for cooler weather
• Warm layers - at times the evening temperature drops significantly
• Casual Clothes - for when out of the saddle
• Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot, especially when doing physical activities
• Raincoat - it is always a good idea to pack a waterproof/ windproof jacket!
• Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take insect repellent and plenty of sun cream
• Camera and Spare Batteries/Charger - an absolute must! It is also a good idea to take a camera case you can strap around your waist or onto a belt for whilst you are riding
• A copy of your passport
For trails in July and August you will need to take along your own sleeping bag for the camping.
This is an 8 day/7 night programme with 6 days riding available on set dates throughout the year.
2022: Feb 27; Mar 13, 27; Apr 3, 17; May 8, 15; Jun 5; Jul 3*, 24*, 31*; Aug 21*; Sept 11; Oct 9, 23; Nov 6. (* includes 1 night camping)
No single supplement is charged if the rider is willing to share with someone of the same sex, and a sharer can be found.
Depending on availability, rooms may be shared by up to 5 guests. If you would like to guarantee a single or double/twin room supplements will apply. Supplements also apply to individual bookings where no other rider is available to share the room.
Low Season: February, March, April, October, November
Mid Season: May, June, September
High Season: July, August
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2022 Low season||8d/7n||6||pp in shared dorm room||1,155|
|2022 Low season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||98|
|2022 Low season||8d/7n||6||non rider half board||555|
|2022 Low season||8d/7n||6||small group supplement for 3 riders per person||139|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||pp in shared dorm room||1,435|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||195|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||non rider half board||645|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||small group supplement for 3 riders per person||139|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||extra night half board||93|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||supplement for double/twin room per person||98|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||pp in shared dorm room||1,225|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||149|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||non rider half board||559|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||small group supplement for 3 riders per person||135|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||supplement for double/twin room per person||62|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2022 Low season||8d/7n||6||pp in shared dorm room||1,305|
|2022 Low season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||109|
|2022 Low season||8d/7n||6||non rider half board||625|
|2022 Low season||8d/7n||6||small group supplement for 3 riders per person||159|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||pp in shared dorm room||1,619|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||219|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||non rider half board||729|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||small group supplement for 3 riders per person||159|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||extra night half board||105|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||supplement for double/twin room per person||109|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||pp in shared dorm room||1,399|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||169|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||non rider half board||639|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||small group supplement for 3 riders per person||149|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||supplement for double/twin room per person||70|
|Riding days||Product item description||$|
|2022 Low season||8d/7n||6||pp in shared dorm room||1,455|
|2022 Low season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||125|
|2022 Low season||8d/7n||6||non rider half board||699|
|2022 Low season||8d/7n||6||small group supplement for 3 riders per person||179|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||pp in shared dorm room||1,809|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||249|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||non rider half board||815|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||small group supplement for 3 riders per person||179|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||extra night half board||119|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||supplement for double/twin room per person||125|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||pp in shared dorm room||1,565|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||189|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||non rider half board||709|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||small group supplement for 3 riders per person||169|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||supplement for double/twin room per person||79|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2022 Low season||8d/7n||6||pp in shared dorm room||14,399|
|2022 Low season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||1,219|
|2022 Low season||8d/7n||6||non rider half board||6,915|
|2022 Low season||8d/7n||6||small group supplement for 3 riders per person||1,745|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||pp in shared dorm room||17,885|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||2,439|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||non rider half board||8,055|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||small group supplement for 3 riders per person||1,745|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||extra night half board||1,149|
|2022 High Season||8d/7n||6||supplement for double/twin room per person||1,219|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||pp in shared dorm room||15,265|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||single supplement||1,855|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||non rider half board||6,949|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||small group supplement for 3 riders per person||1,639|
|2022 Mid Season||8d/7n||6||supplement for double/twin room per person||765|
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.
The French - Theodore Zeldin
Bonjour Tristesse - Francoise Sagan
A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence - Peter Mayle
Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes and the Amateur Emigrant - Louis Stevensons
The many other activities available in this area include cycling on miles of cycle paths, tennis, water sports such as surfing, catamarans, canoes, swimming, walking on the beach and golf. Non riders with a rental car can explore these options.
France is easily accessible from most of the UK and offers a large amount of space and totally different regions to explore. The weather in the south of France is almost always warmer than the UK. It is very rider friendly with miles and miles of open space and off road tracks to explore.
The region of Landes:
« Les Landes » is the second largest department in France (9 250 km²), and has 337,012 inhabitants, a mere 36.4 inhabitants per km². It is home to the Gascogne forest, the largest forest in Europe. The main administrative town of the department is Mont de Marsan. More than 93% of the land is used for agricultural purposes (244,000 ha) or is forested (632,000 ha). It is also home to 250km of protected dunes and beach fronts of the Atlantic Coastal Reserve.
The French wrote the book on la vie en rose and gave the world champagne and camembert, de Beauvoir and Debussy, the Tour de France and the Eiffel Tower. It is a country steeped in history. Staggering monasteries and castles dotted all over the country are a reminder of a turbulent and often violent past, especially in the Carcasonne region where the Gnostic Christian organisation the Cathars held fast against a crusade launched in the 11th century by an angry and vengeful Catholic church for over twenty years. Despite their vow of non-violence they had a strong support base, including the Knights Templar, and their name often pops up in the legend of the Holy Grail.
The French character has undoubtedly been influenced by their past, today they are a proud and patriotic people famed for enjoying the finer things in life and displaying a great generosity character in their willingness to share their country with the millions of visitors they receive each year.
Food is very important in French culture, almost puritanical. Families eat dinner together late in the evening and their diet is usually very healthy, packed with home grown fruit and vegetables. You will hardly ever see anyone eating on the street; if you do chances are they're not French!
France is one hour ahead of GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram. The international dialling code for France is +33.