This is a beautiful rustic horse ranch situated in the unspoilt countryside of Le Sidobre. The varied terrain of pine forests, heather moorland, natural lakes and flowing streams makes for exciting riding country. The area is known for the countless granite rocks that are scattered randomly over the area. This programme is recommended for strong intermediate and advanced riders.

The Le Sidobre ranch moved to a new location in 2021 and offers accommodation is in comfortable en-suite rooms with sitting area and a restaurant onsite. 

A welcoming atmosphere combined with fun filled riding days create a wonderful holiday experience with a high level of returning guests.

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 SH of HASTINGS on 12/07/2017

Ride Summary
Excellent
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Although my particular wish to swim with horses would not have happened anyway due to problem with the lake and this was apparently known when I enquired but not told to us. I guess you didn't know either.
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
What could we do to improve this ride?
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
6
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
Paced ideally for our group and I understand beginners are separated.We had opportunity to ride at all paces and length of riding times was accurate even though I didn't do all the rides it was my choice.We were able to be challenged with the TREC obstacles to whatever level we rode at.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Happy with the holiday arrangements and quality of ride.
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
NO
Any other comments:
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! We were not aware about any lake issue - sorry about that. :)

Day 1 - Friday
Arrive at the ranch from 16:00. Check into the rooms and take a look around the ranch before a  3-course  meal with the group.

Day 2 - Saturday
After breakfast there is an introduction to the horses. A saddling demonstration gives plenty of opportunities for discussion and questions. After lunch is the allocation of the horses and the first short ride.

Day 3 - Sunday
Today is a full day ride (4-5hr) across plains and through woodland. Enjoy the parks vast views and enjoy a picnic lunch at a vantage point.

Day 4 - Monday
Today's ride (4-5hr) is across plains and through woodland in a different area than previously.

Day 5 - Tuesday
This is a rest day. Relax at the ranch, go for a walk in the forest or. If guests have a car they could go sightseeing in some of the of interesting locations like Castres (about a 20 min drive from the ranch), the beautiful town of Albi (about 1hr drive from the ranch) with it's beautiful cathedral Sainte-Cécile or Castelnau-de-Montmiral (over 1hr drive from the ranch, 32km west of Albi).
Guests without their own transportation we can be taken to Castres by the hosts and picked up later (included with transfer costs). 

Day 6 - Wednesday
Today the ride explores more of the trails around the farm with a picnic lunch in a picturesque spot.

Day 7 - Thursday
After breakfast, ride out into the surrounding area for the last day in this beautiful area of France. The week is finished off with a  BBQ at the ranch, and recap the week's adventures with new, old friends.

Day 8 - Friday
Depart after breakfast.

Riders will keep the same horse all week to enable them to build a working relationship. Riders are also asked to saddle and groom their own horses.

Reading List
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
Labyrinth - Kate Mosse

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.

Horses & Riding

There is a mix of horses, all trained by the ranches owner. The  guests will will be shown how to saddle up if required. The horses are trained for endurance, strength and good character. The riding is at a walk, trot and canter over varying terrain. The ranch is a beautiful area of Le Sidobre and there are large open meadows to canter over as well as small trails in the forests. If riders are up for it and capable, there might be a chance for a nice gallop as well.


Rider requirements

Advanced Programme:
Riders should be comfortable in all paces, riding out in the open countryside. Riders of any discipline are welcome. Western riding skills are taught on the ranch and no previous experience of western riding is necessary.

The weight limit for this ride is 90kg and riders should be 16 years or over.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

The estate is spread over 20 hectares, where both private and guests quarters are located as well as the bar and restaurant, and the stables. The guest houses and restaurant are separate from the farm. Everything is within walking distance. There are 4 double rooms available at the ranch, all of which have their own bathroom and sitting area. Single rooms are not available and guests should be prepared to share a room with someone of the same gender. If the rooms are not fully booked it might be possible to have a room of your own at an extra charge, please enquire for more details. All rooms have air conditioning and there is a swimming pool on site available to guests. The food is varied, plentiful and freshly homecooked with some meals cooked outside over an open fire (depending on the menu and availability).


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling.

Passport and Visa requirements can change regularly 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 should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france

In the USA: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/France.html

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/france

Climate Summary

The climate here is mild, and generally warm and temperate. The hottest months are July and August.

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in France and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.


Please take along sun cream and anti-allergy medicine for possible insect bites.

The emergency phone number in France is 112. If you need to contact other emergency services, call 15 (medical), 17 (police) or 18 (fire).

Health (ride specific)

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!

Electricity

In France the supply voltage is 230V. If the appliance is a single voltage rated appliance, it will need to operate at the same voltage as the supply voltage of the country i.e. 230V. If this is not the case it should be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly.

Film and Camera Equipment

Once on the ranch there is no opportunity to purchase film or batteries unless you go to a nearby town on your leisure day. There is electricity available to charge cameras and batteries.

Packing List

It is recommended that you bring clothes that air-dry quickly.
Riding trousers - jeans or jodphurs
Riding boots or riding trainers (with heel)
Lipbalm with sunscreen
Half or full chaps (optional)
Insect repellent
Riding gloves
Sunblock
Riding hat with brim
Baseball cap or similar (that will stay on while riding )
Sunglasses
Plastic bags for wet clothing
T-shirts and shorts
Swimsuit
Mobile phone
Camera and film
Long sleeved shirts
Binoculars
Heavy sweater or sweatshirt
Informal wear for evenings
Lightweight rainwear
Water bottle
Copy of your passport
Towels for bathroom and for swimming
Toiletries
The ranch provides small saddle bags for packed lunches/ water bottles and such like.

Programmes

This is an 8 day/7 night with 5 days riding, programme available every Friday from May to October

Departure Dates

2023: Friday arrivals between 19 May and 29 September.

Pricing
No single rooms available (on some or all nights). Riders must be prepared to share with someone of the same sex.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20238d/7n5double pp999
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20238d/7n5double pp1,105
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20238d/7n5double pp1,269
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20238d/7n5double pp12,695
Recommended Reading

Theodore Zeldin "The Franch" Francoise Sagan "Bonjour Tristesse" Peter Mayle "A Year in Provence" and "Tojours Provence" Louis Stevensons "Travels with a Donkey" Henry James "A Little Town in France" For an ecellent selection of equestrian travel and adventure books visit www.horsetravelbooks.com, a part of the Long Riders Guild


Other Activities

Either by walking or by car rental exploring the local towns and villages. There is always plenty to do at the ranch.

Other Country Information

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.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Castres town
Transfer:
Castres - €50 per person return payable on site. Please make sure you arrive in Castres before 17:00 to get to the ranch in time for dinner. We recommend flying into Toulouse Airport (TLS) and taking a shuttlebus or taxi to Toulouse Matabiau train station and from there a train to Castres. It is also possible to reach Castres from Paris, the train journey takes just under 6 hours. Departure transfer is available according to flight schedule, preferably after 11am.
Flight Guide:
London - Toulouse Airport (TLS) return from £45pp return. Alternatively you can fly to Paris and take a train to Castres.
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