Family horse riding holiday in France
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This holiday, based on a farm in western France, is great for those who want a more relaxed holiday, or would like to boost their riding confidence before tackling a longer trail. It is also perfect for families who would like to ride together. The farm is a wonderful environment to get to know the horses and spend some time riding in the arena before doing short rides in the countryside close by.

The itinerary is quite relaxed allowing guests to sample some of the other activities on offer such as carriage rides, hiking or visiting the local towns. At the end of the week there is a lovely two-day trail through the valleys of Blourde and Vienne with an overnight stop by the river.

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Day 1
You will be met at the airport and transferred to the farm where you can meet the horses and discuss the week ahead with your hosts before dinner.

Day 2
After breakfast you will go out onto the farm and meet the horses. Once you have collected your horse from the field you can spend some time grooming him or her and start to build your relationship. Once you are ready you can mount up in the school to get to know the horse and if you feel confident go for a short ride out across the fields. The afternoon is free for you to relax or go for a walk.

Day 3
Today is a chance to do some more riding as you spend the whole day exploring the area around the farm on your horse. You will ride over the gently rolling hills of ‘La Petite Suisse’ and along old paths from village to village. Return to the farm for dinner.

Day 4
The morning today is free, so you can choose to take a walk along the river or visit the nearby town of L’Isle Jourdain. In the afternoon you visit the local market in Luchapt, either on horseback or by horse and carriage and you will stay here for dinner.

Day 5
Today you will begin the two-day trail, leaving the farm via a ford in the River Blourde. You will ride across the farm fields with views of the lakes, passing sheep and the local Limousin cattle, to the fortified church at Adriers. You can visit Bernard, a local carpenter, before a picnic lunch on the edge of a lake. Depending on the weather there is a chance to swim in the lake, with or without the horses. After lunch you will cross a small bridge and arrive at Nérignac in the valley of the Blourde. You will spend the night in a guesthouse close to the banks of the river and when the evenings are warm you can sit out on the large granite blocks in the water before dinner.

Day 6
After breakfast you will set off again on your horse into the valley of the Vienne. The paths take you to a private lake that you can ride through before a picnic lunch on the banks of the Vienne river. From here you will have a wonderful view of the viaduct on L’Isle Jourdain. After lunch you will ride along an old disused railway and have the chance for a good canter as you return to the farm for a final dinner and overnight.

Day 7
Depart after breakfast.
Non-riders are welcome to join the tour and can travel in the support car, joining riders for the picnic lunch. However it is recommended that non-riders have their own car to explore for a fuller enjoyment of the area. Please enquire for non-rider rates.

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 are about 20 horses on the farm that are used for the treks including French saddle, Anglo Arabian, Barb-Arabian, Spanish, Quarter horse and different cross breeds. Many of the horses were bred and trained on the farm, so the staff know them really well. Horses are always matched carefully to riders abilities and temperaments - there are forward going horses for confident riders as well as gentle mounts for those who are less confident. High quality English saddles, with cloths and saddlebags are used on the trails.


The riding starts in an arena on the farm to allow guests to become familiar with their horses and guides. The riding is then mostly out in the countryside following tracks and trails close to the farm. The trails occasionally involve crossing streams and rivers on horseback but the horses are all well trained and used to this. Some riding is done in villages and towns and involves a small amount of road work. Riding hats are compulsory for this ride, a variety of helmets are available to borrow from the farm. A safety briefing will be given to all riders at the start of the trek.

Rider requirements

Riders should have experience at walk, trot and canter. This ride is a great option for less confident or experienced riders who wish to get more practice in a safe and encouraging environment while still being able to ride out. The minimum age for this ride is 14 years, although younger children with good riding skills may be accepted as part of a family booking.
Riders with less experience can be given extra help and guidance to start with, please contact us to discuss this ride if you are unsure. Riders are expected to groom and saddle their horses but the guides are always about to help if needed.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 16 st/220 lb/100 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

The accommodation on this ride is in rustic farmhouses, most still attached to working farms. The twin rooms are comfortable and traditionally styled. There is also the option to have a third bed in the room. Bathrooms are shared. There is a common area at the farm for guests to relax in. Electricity will be available each night for charging devices, however access to WiFi is limited. 


Food is freshly prepared each day using local produce wherever possible including from the farms you will be staying at. Lunch will be a picnic freshly prepared each day and brought by the support vehicle. Meals will include local specialties such as farci poitevin (stuffed herb pate) and Pousse d’epine ('thorny wine', an aperitif made from blackthorn). Local apple juice, wine from the Poitou and beer from the farm's own brewery are also served.

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. 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.

General information:

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: webmaster.paris@fco.gov.uk.

The French Embassy in the U.K can be found at 58 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7JT. Telephone: (020) 7073 1000. Email: presse.londres-amba@diplomatie.fr.


Climate Summary

The climate here is warm and temperate with rain common in all seasons. The least amount of rainfall occurs in July while the wettest month is November. The temperatures are highest on average in July (25 Celsius) and lowest in January (7 Celsius).

Climate Chart
Health

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.

Health (ride specific)

There are no specific health risks in this area.

Electricity

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.

Film and Camera Equipment

There is electricity at the farm for guests to charge cameras and phones. There may be limited access to WiFi and phone signal.

Packing List

We have put together a suggested packing list for your trip. You will have a saddlebag for small items during the rides. You may wish to take a small overnight bag for the two-day trail which will be taken to the overnight stop by car. Soft luggage bags are recommended.

• Riding Helmet - these are mandatory and we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384.
• 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
• Sunhat
• Sunglasses
• Fleece - Although the weather is generally very warm, the evenings can be a bit cooler
• 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 wise idea to pack a waterproof/ windproof jacket!
• Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take inset 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

Programmes

This is a 7 day/6 night programme with riding on 5 days available on set dates throughout the year. Other dates are available on request.

Departure Dates

2019: April to September, on request

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

Due to the nature of the accommodation, single rooms are not usually available, however it is sometimes possible to arrange - please enquire.

No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20187d/6n5double pp1,035
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20187d/6n5double pp1,125
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20187d/6n5double pp1,309
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20187d/6n5double pp11,869
Recommended Reading

Theodore Zeldin ‘The French’,
Francoise Sagan ‘Bonjour Tristesse’,
Peter Mayle ‘A Year in Provence’ and ‘Toujours Provence’,
Louis Stevensons ‘Travels with a Donkey’ and
Henry James ‘A Little Town In France’.
For an excellent selection of equestrian travel and adventure books visit www.horsetravelbooks.com (part of the Long Rider’s Guild).

Wildlife

Deer, fox, and many types of bird may be seen on the ride.

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):
Poitiers airport
Transfer:
2018: From Poitiers or Limoges airport, €40 per person return. Payable on site.
Flight Guide:
London Stansted to Poitiers PIS from £45
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