Type of horses:
Nature of horses:
Well-schooled and sure-footed.
Height of horses:
14.2 - 16.2hh
90kg / 14 stone
Trekking saddles or English style Wintec saddles.
In the beautiful French region of Armagnac, southwest France, lie a stables of well-trained horses who offer the ideal way to explore this lovely part of the world. Your host, Evelien, is a trained horse riding guide who speaks fluent Dutch, French and excellent English. She is available to guide you on trail rides throughout the area or she can offer you unguided riding where your group can ride alone with only the horses and maps.
The Armagnac region is primarily known for its production of the oldest French brandy but it is also an area rich in historical significance and charming countryside. The 'counts of Armagnac' were politically very strong during the 14th and 15th centuries, the height of the region's power, and it was during this time that the Armagnac brandy became a commercialised product and sold throughout the country. As part of Gascony the region enjoys a wonderful climate and is mainly agricultural with fields of crops, rolling hills and a variety of rivers. The historical bastide towns and villages which dot the area take you back to times gone by and riders will see some fascinating architecture during their holiday, ranging from impressive châteaux and fortresses to traditional stone farmhouses.
Evelien's horses are of mixed breeds and live outdoors as a herd. They are well-schooled and can be matched to different riders in order to give guests a happy and enjoyable ride. If you choose to ride unguided then you will need to care for the horses yourself and therefore must have experience of horse care. Unguided riders must go out in pairs or more and carry a map, compass and mobile phone. Preferably a few words of French wouldn't go amiss! However, if you prefer to just relax then Evelien is more than happy to guide groups of three or more.
Try a holiday here for a true taste of Armagnac and a great horse riding experience!
During the Four Day Trail, guests are accommodated in typical chambres d'hôtes (small local guesthouses) which offer a warm welcome and serve good local cuisine. Some have swimming pools but all offer excellent hospitality.
Trail Ride: all meals are included during the trail ride, from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day. Soft drinks with meals are included.
Languages: English, French and Dutch.
Health requirements: Good health and fitness recommended.
Age limit: 12+ for riders
Included: Accommodation, meals as described and riding as mentioned in the itinerary.
Not included: Flights, travel insurance, transfers, some meals.
Guests can fly into Bordeaux and from there it is about a one and a half hour drive to the stables. We can arrange transfer from Mont de Marsan - a short train ride from Bordeaux - at an additional cost of 75€ return fare, per car (to be paid direct).
Alternatively you can travel to Gabarret from where your hosts can collect you for free. To reach Gabarret you can take a train from Bordeaux to Mont de Marsan or Marmande. Then a bus to Gabarret.
This beautiful four day trail ride through the Armagnac region of France overlaps three different French départements: Gers, Lot et Garonne and Landes. The trail is available with or without a guide so participants can choose to relax and follow Evelien or to enjoy a real adventure and find their own way, equipped with maps and a compass. During the ride guests are accommodated each night in a chambre d'hôte, a small guesthouse, and all meals are provided.
All riders should be able to spend long hours in the saddle and to ride at walk, trot and canter. Those who choose to go unguided should be competent at map reading, experienced with horse care and preferably able to speak a few words of French. If you choose to ride unguided then Evelien will ride with you for the first few hours so that you can get used to your horse without having to read the map.
Day 1: Arrival at the stables between 4pm - 7pm for a welcome drink and a chance to meet the horses. Evelien will explain the trail route, indicating the trail on the maps. Dinner and overnight at Gentiane's (a chambre d'hôte with swimming pool), located just five minutes from the stables.
Day 2: This morning you will follow the pilgrims' route to Santiago de Compostella and on to Montréal du Gers, where you will stay in the ancient house of Annick. The ride today is approximately 4.5 hours and includes hilly landscapes dotted with vineyards, fields of sunflowers (in summer!) and woodlands.
Day 3: The ride today heads north with a visit to Fourcès, an old round fortified village. You will join Mezin in the Lot et Garonne and then your ride will take you into the hilly forest. You will stay tonight at the comfortable accommodation belonging to Isabelle and Jean-Pierre. There is a swimming pool here so you can relax with a dip after the long hours of riding. The ride today will take 5.5-6 hours.
Day 4: Today you will ride on the border of the biggest artificial forest of Europe, la Forêt Landaise. The forest offers sandy tracks which provide the perfect going for fast canters! From here you will cross Poudenas and old village with a charming chateau and church on top of a hill. You will then follow a disused railway track and make your way to the chambre d'hôte of Louisette et Alain. The ride today will take 5.5-6 hours.
Day 5: Your last day of riding sees you heading home to the stables and covers two different routes. Your ride takes you via another disused railway track to Sos, a charming village. You will see a charming old church lost in the countryside. The first route is a shorter option with lunch at the Lake of Castelnau d'Auzan (4.5 or 5.5 hours). The second is a longer ride through the Forêt Landaise. This route take 6-6.5 hours but is only recommended to those riders with good map reading skills and if the horses are still keen to go the longer distance. Overnight is once again at Gentiane's place, (the chambre d'hôte with swimming pool).
Day 6: Breakfast and departure.
|Accommodation:||During the trail riders are accommodated in small local guesthouses (chambres d'hôte) in twin or double rooms.|
|Minimum group size:||2|
|Maximum group size:||6|
|Ability description:||Riders should be capable of riding at walk, trot and canter in open country and for long hours. You should be able to groom, saddle and care for your horse (if riding the trail unguided, you should be experienced with horse feeding and care).|
|Type of ride:||Trail (guided or unguided).|
|Total riding time:||4 days, approximately 4.5 - 6 hours riding per day.|
|Departure dates:||Trail runs Sunday - Friday. Dates are available to suit for a minimum of 2 riders so start dates could be flexible.|
2017: £686 per person.
Price includes 5 nights of shared room accommodation, all meals, soft drinks with meals, 4 days of riding (guided or unguided), luggage transport and maps.
Single supplement is not an option, riders must be willing to share rooms.