Aquitaine Adventures riding holiday in France - Far and Ride
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Aquitaine Adventures, France





Reviews



We have done around a dozen of these riding holidays in various countries and this one was way up with the best. The guide, Nadja, was a great companion and did her best to make sure that we stretched our riding capabilities. They also made a big effort to include as much variety as possible on the rides. Picnic lunches were four course French style with aperitifs as required. One day we even ate in a Routard recommended restaurant.

Brian H.
We thoroughly enjoyed the ride, especially the numerous gallops along the beautiful beach.

Robert D.
It was very enjoyable. Nadja was very nice and professional. My favourite memory was riding on the beach!

David G.
We had an absolutely amazing holiday! It was a really beautiful place with fantastic horses. Everything went really well and we couldn't be more satisfied. The people there were also really great, very friendly. I will also thank you all from Far and Ride for the help, you were really friendly and helpful! We won't hesitate to use you again.

Lina N.
It was the most wonderful experience, especially galloping on the beach. Fantastic horses. Experience of a lifetime, one I will not forget. My horse - Frisbee was all I could have dreamed of and the guide was brilliant.

Clarissa Y.
Michel and Annette (hosts) are both very friendly and they add a lot to the holiday through their personalities... Meals are good and become part of the holiday in themselves. Michel is a good guide and very personable, taking great care of his horses...

Graham P. (Pays Basque Trail)
A seriously good, challenging, educational riding holiday. Beautiful countryside, great horses and plenty of opportunity to go really fast. Long days with relaxing lunchtime breaks - a good teacher and good company. We both felt that our favourite memory was the fast gallop on the beach on Day 7! It's the fastest either of us have ever ridden and it felt safe doing it!!

Anita and Paul
It was AWESOME! Totally fantastic, really loved it and the people were great. They were best quality horses I have ever ridden (and fell totally in love with), gorgeous scenery, galloping on the beach, excellent long stretches of gallops. Lovely hotel, 30℃ sunshine and real variety of forest, beach, trekking through ferns taller than horses etc! I will definitely be booking another trip for next year with you guys, the quality of service from Holly was outstanding - I only booked a few days before and she was so friendly, informed and helpful and managed to find me the perfect trip. THANK YOU!!!!

Catherine H.
The trip was fantastic. I really enjoyed it and it met expectation. I was particularly impressed with the quality of the horses and that Michel is clearly devoted to the care his horses get. I loved the fact that we were not strictly nose to tail the whole time and was frequently leading the trail which was a great feeling. We also had lots of racing which I had not done so much of in the past which was simply thrilling! I requested a fast and safe horse and that is exactly what I got - he was awesome, a horse called Horus. Having the photos as the end of the trip is a real treat. They are quite expensive at 50 euros but when else will you get such photos so I didn't mind paying. The hotel we stayed in was in Mimizan Plage so a stones throw from the beach which we agreed was great and it’s where spent the first afternoon and the following morning before we got the horses and the last afternoon. Needless to say the local wine is stunning and I made an effort to test as much of it as possible and the food at the hotel and at lunch out and about was also very good. I've never had so many 3-4 course meals in one week (lunch and dinner on some days) but you quickly burn it all off on the horses. The local town had a music festival on the last Saturday which was great fun - we all went out until the early hours listening to live music (and felt horrendous for it on the Sunday). Its very small town but they had lots of cool surf type shops and bars and people. Yet another good trip with Far and Ride with great advice from my initial queries on where to go, helpful and clear information and quick responses. Overall good value for money too for the quality of the horses and food.

Nia W.
Our trip to France was amazing and we only had one day of rain. Michel had matched us up perfectly to our horses. I now have a new understanding of just what horses are capable of. We spent a lot of time on the beach and in the water and enjoyed plenty of long, fast gallops individually and racing with our partners. The horses were extremely fit, well trained and enthusiastic (my Sam was sometimes a little too enthusiastic - they weren't lying when they said you needed to be experienced!) Robert coped well and Michel had given him a horse that kept him safe yet appealed to his love of speed and excitement. We had a fabulous time and the new guide Julie was great at keeping us all safe and interested. The landscape was so varied and beautiful and the professional pictures were fabulous and well worth the 60 euros! The other people were fabulous too and helped with our French. It was a perfect holiday to celebrate our recent engagement. Thank you so much for your help in organising the trip - I'm sure we will be in touch soon!

Fiona L.
I decided to switch back to Helios for the evening fun of gallops along the beach at sun set, a perfect Friday night...

Sarah Ritchie, Far and Ride, Read review
Just as you described it and more. Favourite memory... racing on the beach with a Russian lady (I lost by a head)! Horses well looked after and good tack. You described the trail properly.

Tom J.
I really enjoyed that we got involved in preparing horses for the ride. Also like to mention the laid-back and happy atmosphere during the holiday. I liked both accommodation, the Mimizan hotel and the mansion in the countryside, it was a good contrast. I was happy with my horse and with the equipment too. Michel and Laura were both excellent guides.

Mariann N.
Fantastic holiday... challenging, good fun, excellent riding. Long hours in the saddle, midnight dinners and early starts. Overall a great experience and a lovely bunch of new friends!

Jo C.
I enjoyed my time very much... The ride was very special because it really wasn't "nose to tail" and the combination of beach and inland was great. We had a very experienced group, so the pace was fast which I enjoyed. (Favourite memory?) I have many! Picking apples, grapes, figs and walnuts and eating them when sitting on the horses. Also arriving on horseback to the castle's parking lot where a group of tourists started taking pictures of us - I think we were a bigger wonder than the castle itself! And of course, the beach - I have ridden on beautiful beaches before, but this was one of a kind! Michel (guide) knew his horses and wanted to pair us up with the most suitable ones. He told us interesting things about the areas we rode, history, nature, etc. Both Michel and Annette were very sweet and they wanted to make the holiday as good as possible for us.

Sari H.
Fantastic riding, good food, fun host.

Julian A.
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Primarily Anglo-Arabs but with other breeds and some ponies available.

Nature of horses:

Fit and forward-going, sure-footed on difficult ground.

Height of horses:

14.2 - 16.2hh on average.

Weight limit:

90kg (95kg on some programmes)

Tack type:

English

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

This riding centre in the resort town of Mimizan-Plage is set in the heart of the Landes Forest and just 400 metres from a vast and pretty beach. It is well equipped with two arenas, a cross country course and the various paths provided by the huge forest, the largest pine forest in Europe. The beach riding here is spectacular and the different programmes offer holidays to suit whatever you are looking for. Riding in the Pays Basque is a real cultural experience whereas the Atlantic Coast ride is more for countryside adventures and exhilarating beach experiences. For the children, beginners or simply those preferring a based stay, there are plenty of options for a flexible holiday here without the need for sacrificing excellent riding.

The centre is a certified French Riding School and Equestrian Tourism Centre with qualified instructors and guides who truly know this outstanding riding area. They offer a wide selection of horses and ponies, many of which are anglo-arabs who are fit, healthy and happy. The beaches and forests of this special part of France, in the Aquitaine region, offer the perfect backdrop for a wonderful riding holiday and guests can enjoy galloping along forest trails. The rides here try to break free from the stereotypical nose to tail trail rides with guests being able to canter individually and to explore more of the area than you can when riding single file. This also means that riders can sometimes get the true feeling of freedom that comes with a long beach gallop - just you, your horse and the waves.

For most of the riding guests need to be of a good intermediate level, though there is a beginners programme available and what a fabulous setting to learn in! Bear in mind that the amazing photos in the gallery page for this ride are taken from the various different programmes available here so they do not reflect any single itinerary. The beach photos are mostly taken from the Atlantic Coast trip with the majority of countryside photos showing sights from the Pays Basques. However, on any of these rides you will experience a range of beautiful landscapes.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Accommodation varies depending on which programme you have chosen, as some of them involve moving between different places. When in Mimizan guests are generally accommodated in guesthouses/gites next to the riding centre, or in 2* hotels in Mimizan (depending on availability). During the trail rides you will move between 2* and 3* accommodations, most of which are in a rural location. Several of the programmes involve a night (or more) in a typical Landes manor house with pool.

Please refer to the different itineraries for further details or where you are staying for each night or please feel free to contact us for a list of the accommodations.

Food is typical, simple French cuisine. You can expect to eat some of those great French specialities - aperitifs and appetisers, Bordeaux red wine, soups, salads, meat, chicken, vegetables, scrumptious french cheeses, paté, fruit, desserts, tea and coffee.

MEALS AND DRINKS BY PROGRAMME:

Atlantic Coast Experience: this programme includes full board except for lunches on days 2 and 7 when you have a choice of where to eat. 1/4 litre of wine or soda, coffee or tea is included with each dinner, other drinks cost extra. Wine is included with every lunch.

Pays Basque Trail and Beach Combo: this programme includes full board except for dinner on arrival day which is at your own cost. During dinners in the restaurants/hotels there are 2 glasses of wine or soda, plus tea and coffee included in the cost, other drinks cost extra. Unlimited wine and soda is available with lunches.

Perigord and Beach Combo: this programme includes full board except for dinner on arrival day which is at your own cost. During dinners in the restaurants/hotels there is 1/4 litre wine or soda, plus tea and coffee included in the cost, other drinks cost extra. Unlimited wine and soda is available with lunches.

 

Activities

Tennis, cycling, swimming and various water sports.

 

Further Details

Languages: French and English.

Health requirements: Good health recommended.

Age limit: 12 - 72 (maximum age of 55 for beginners course).

Tuition: On some programmes

Included: Accommodation, riding, some meals (as per itineraries) and wine with lunch.

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, airport transfers and some meals.

 

Travel Information

Airports serving Bordeaux include Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester & Southampton. Airlines include Bmibaby, BA, Easyjet, Flybe, Ryanair.

You can fly into Biarritz from Luton, Manchester and Stansted with Ryanair.

Transfers:

For the Atlantic Coast Experience, Beginners Programme, Flexible Programme and Training Programme, a set transfer from and to Bordeaux Airport or Railway Station is available for 2 - 8 people on Sundays.

Guests are collected from 15:00 and the minibus leaves the airport according to the arrival time of the last client. On departure day, guests are dropped off in the morning, according to the flight time of the first client leaving.

If you would like to take this transfer then please plan your Sunday arrival in Bordeaux BEFORE 15:00 (the bus hopes to leave at 15:00 itself, so you should take a flight landing earlier so that you have time to collect your luggage etc) and your Sunday Bordeaux departure AFTER 13:00. The cost is 90€ per person for a return fare (45€ per person each way).

For a group of more than 8 clients then a bigger bus can be provided and the price remains the same.

For the Pays Basque Trail and Beach Combo, a transfer is arranged from Bordeaux Airport at 14.00 to Saint Jean Pied-de-Port. In order to have enough time to explore Saint Jean Pied-de-Port in the evening, guests must arrive at the airport BEFORE 14.00.

The ride finishes on Saturday nights, at around 8pm, with sunset on the beach. Guests are transferred back to Bordeaux the next morning and will arrive at Bordeaux Airport or Railway Station according to their departure but before 13.00.

Alternatively, guests can take the train from Biarritz to Saint Jean Pied-de-Port for a cost of 22€. This is a very nice trip as the scenery is wonderful and the cost of a return transfer to Bayonne or Biarritz is 20€.

Pick up time in Bayonne or Biarritz: 16.00
Drop off time in Bayonne or Biarritz: 20.00

For those arriving by train, the meeting point is on Sunday afternoon at the 'Hotel des Remparts' at 5pm.

Airport: Bordeaux

Alternative Airport: Biarritz

 

Programmes


Atlantic Coast Experience



An 8 day 7 night programme in a gorgeous part of the Aquitaine region, featuring riding through the stunning Landes forest and along the beautiful Côte d'Argent. This programme offers fabulous horses chosen for their great bloodlines and their gorgeous appearance. They are fit and healthy and can really shift along the beach in a safe and enjoyable way, accompanied by ponies chosen to suit younger riders.

The programme combines some days riding out in the local area, followed by a trail of 4 days with two nights spent elsewhere. During the trail days, riders travel up to 40km a day over a period of 5 or 6 hours with much time spent in canter and gallop as well as walking. The clear, sandy paths of the huge forest offer wonderful gallops but you will also encounter tougher and more challenging terrain as well as the flat beaches of this area. Food is of the typical Landes style and lunches are usually taken as proper meals at tables. A car follows the group for lunch and carries the luggage of the riders between each place (on the rare occasion when the group is particularly small then clothes are carried in saddle bags). Depending on the weather during June and September there are chances to swim, with or without the horses, in lakes and the sea. 

Sunday:

You arrive at your accommodation and join fellow guests for dinner. Please note that the pre-ride briefing is usually tomorrow (Monday) at breakfast as any French guests joining the ride usually arrive on Monday mornings. However, if everyone arrives today the briefing may be this evening at c. 7pm

Monday:

After breakfast you are dropped onto Mimizan beach to visit and walk through the village, perhaps doing some shopping or just relaxing on the beach. Lunch is to your own account in one of the restaurants. You are then collected from in front of the Tourism office at 1.30pm and transferred back to the guesthouse. Riding activities today do not begin until you meet with the group at 14:00 for a pre-ride briefing - this is because French guests usually arrive on Monday morning. 

This first ride is a half day trail of around three hours, including a 45 minute break where riders can chat about their first experiences over a cup of tea, cakes and orange juice. This day is designed to allow riders to get used to the horses and allows the hosts to grasp the experiences and capabilities of their guests so that the perfect horse can be found. For some riders, this half day allows them to get back into the swing of riding. The surroundings of the riding centre are very beautiful and the wild landscape offers great views of the ocean from the top of sand dunes.

Tuesday:

Today is the start of the 4 days trail riding. This day of varied riding begins on the silvery coast before you head inland towards the Tielague Marsh, Sintias Lagoon and Bourg le Vieux lake. In the afternoon, after a delicious French lunch, you will head back towards the coast over the sand dunes. Your day of riding finishes by travelling along the banks of the River Courlis. Please note that riding on the beach will be dictated by tides and so your beach section may be morning or afternoon.

Wednesday:

The riding today takes you over large, sandy plains where you can enjoy the company of your horses and companions and perhaps some lovely sunshine. You will then ride around some pretty lakes before taking in another of those tasty lunches; meats, french cheeses, salads and some fabulous Bordeaux wine. After filling your tummy with these delicious goods, you will ride south towards the picturesque village of Lévignacq, a charming old village with buildings showing traditional architecture. Overnight will be at the wonderful Landes Manor from the 18th Century.

Thursday:

During the morning the group will explore an area known as the Grande Lande before riding along the banks of the River Vignac, enjoying some long canters, and reaching the village of Mezos to the picnic spot. Once again you can enjoy a fabulous lunch before riding your way back towards the Bourg le Vieux lake, travelling via the Moulasse Marshes.

Friday:

This is your last full day of riding and you will head towards the Étang d'Aureilhan, a large lake protected by the state and north of Mimizan. This lake, situated amidst the beautiful Landes forest with which you will now be familiar, provides a lovely setting for this last trail day and when the weather is nice, from June to the end of September, riders have the opportunity to play and swim in the water with their horses. You spend this afternoon riding along the shores of the lake before finishing your day with a sunset ride along the open beach.

Saturday:

This half day ride for the last day enables the rider to enjoy the Atlantic Ocean and to enjoy some great gallops along the beach. You will ride in the morning or afternoon, according to the tide, and then will be free to enjoy the rest of the day as you choose. There are several options but guests often choose to shop, relax on the beach, enjoy the surf and to find a lovely place to buy lunch. 

Sunday:

Guests enjoy one last breakfast before their departure.

During the 4 day trail of this programme, it is not always possible to canter on the beach due to the high tide. Although it is fine to canter on the hard sand, it is not possible to canter in the sea water as the wet sand can get between the girth and the horse's skin injuring them. Therefore the target of the half day ride of day 7 is to offer the rider the perfect beach opportunity, at the right time, to ensure that nobody misses out on the wonderful beach experience. The beach is 200 metres wide and pretty empty so riders can canter and gallop into the sea water without restriction. During the warm summer months, there is sometimes opportunity to swim in the ocean with the horses.



Accommodation: During the trail you spend two nights at a Manor House (Tuesday and Wednesday) and the other nights in the guesthouse at the riding centre. Except on the trails of 9-16 July, 16-23 July, 13-20 August and 20-27 August where you camp for two nights. The tents have comfortable mattresses, and there are tables and chairs for dining and hot showers.
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 12
Ability description: Fit intermediate - advanced riders only. Riders must be confident and experienced riding in an English saddle at all paces, including full gallop, and be able to leave the group and return with good control on the beach. Riders must be fit and confident, able to ride long hours over varied and sometimes challenging terrain. This is not a nose to tail trail ride, you must be able to cope in a group and individually out in open spaces, often at speed. Min age 12, Max age 70. Experience in a western saddle is not sufficient for this ride, you must be competent in an English saddle.

Canters and gallops are often one at a time or in pairs (rarely in a group) for reasons of safety.

Some experience of jumping is recommended though jumps are small and generally optional (and not common).
Type of ride: Daily riding with trail of a few days.
Total riding time: 5 to 7 hours per day (sometimes 40km). Long hours in the saddle and long days overall.
Departure dates: 2017: 19-26 February, 26 Feb-5 March, 12-19 March, 19-26 March, 26 March-2 April, 2-9 April (10% discount), 9-16 April, 16-23 April, 23-30 April, 30 April-7 May, 7-14 May, 14-21 May, 21-28 May, 28 May-4 June, 4-11 June, 11-18 June, 18-25 June, 25 June-2 July, 2-9 July, 9-16 July (CAMPING 2 NIGHTS), 16-23 July (CAMPING 2 NIGHTS), 13-20 August (CAMPING 2 NIGHTS), 20-27 August (CAMPING 2 NIGHTS), 3-10 September, 10-17 September, 17-24 September, 24 Sept-1 October, 1-8 October, 8-15 October, 15-22 October, 22-29 October, 5-12 November.
 
Pricing: 2017:

April, May, June and September:
Double room: £936
Single room supplement: £128
Additional night: £51

July, August and December:
Double room: £1107
Single room supplement: £179
Additional night: £64

March, October and November:
Double room: £839
Single room supplement: £128
Additional night: £48


Small group supplement (if only 3 riders): £128 per person.

Price includes 7 nights of twin/double room accommodation, all meals (except two lunches), drinks with meals and riding on 6 days.

NB. Twin room bookings are only possible if there is somebody to share a room with you. If there is no roommate available then single supplement must be paid on arrival.

Please contact us for non-rider prices.



Pays Basque Trail and Beach Combo



This is an exhilarating trail where riders can see untouched scenery from the back of a beautiful anglo-arab. The riding covers different terrains, often rugged, but the horses are sure-footed, fit and willing to carry you safely throughout your journey. There are high peaks here leading into deep, wild valleys where eagles and vultures soar above you in the blue skies. There are additional days with beach riding!

This trek is exciting and requires riders to be fit and confident in all paces and able to ride for 6 - 7 hours each day over some challenging terrain. The group will make the most of the great trot and canter opportunities provided by the landscape here and when difficult paths are encountered, riders are expected to be willing and able to walk beside their horse. Lunches are leisurely and consist of typical food from the region. Once you've had your fill, there is often time for a short siesta before continuing on your adventurous way.

Not only is this programme thrilling from a riding point of view but it also offers a very interesting insight into the culture of the Pays Basque region. When arriving in Saint Jean Pied de Port, a Unesco World Heritage Site, guests will enjoy discovering the area on foot before visiting the little shops and choosing a restaurant for a lovely first evening.

Two easier days will be spent riding on endless beaches of the Atlantic Ocean where there will be the chance for an exciting gallop on the white sands. If weather allows you may swim with the horses. Also depending on the forecast, the programme may start on the Atlantic Coast in order to take advantage of the best weather on the mountain.

Sunday: Transfer from Bordeaux and arrival at Saint Etienne de Baigorry.You will enjoy exploring this famous old city. Dinner will be taken at a typical Basque restaurant in the middle of the historical part of Saint Jean Pied-de-Port. Tonight you will have bed and breakfast in a typical 3 star hotel.

Monday: You will depart at 10am after a leisurely breakfast at 8am. Discover the famous village of Saint Etienne de baigorry on horseback. The goal is to get to the top of the Monhoa summits for a magnificent 360 degree view of the surrounding area and onwards to the valley of Aldudes and the ocean beyond. Overnight in Banca at hotel Erreguina or Gîte Espila.

Tuesday: Departure at 10am. You will ride up the summits of the mountains with views of Spain, and along the ridge line between France and Spain with fabulous 360 degree views of your surroundings. You will arrive in Urepel, the picturesque village of the Aldudes Valley. Overnight at hotel Erreguina or Gîte Espila.

Wednesday: Starting at 10.30am, you will have time to discover the traditional life of the Basque people in the valley and enjoy a typical lunch. You will ascend the Marguibel mountain on the Spanish side, then cross a Spanish virgin forest which will be an unforgettable moment. Overnight at Banca at the Hotel Erreguina. Dinner may be the local Banca Valley river trout along with some delicious local wine.

Thursday: After a 10am start, you will cross the Elhorrieta Pass, where you will discover the prehistoric graves of Kromlech as well as more spectacular views. Descend through Ispéguy Pass. After lunch in a typical Spanish restaurant you will ride a thrilling descent of Smugglers Path and head towards the village of St Etienne de Baïgorry.  You will cross the city on horseback and here you can taste delicious local wines before being transferred to the Atlantic Coast by bus. Dinner in a typical restaurant along the journey before arriving at the guesthouse in Mimizan to overnight.

Friday & Saturday:

On these two days, you will discover the greatest forest of Europe, with views of the most beautiful beach in France. This will be when you have a chance to enjoy some exciting gallops on the white sand beach of the Aquitaine Coast. The ride ends on Saturday night at around 8 pm with the sunset on the beach (providing the tide times are suitable). You will stay in the guesthouse in Mimizan throughout. The final dinner is in a nice restaurant where you can sample fresh sea food or traditional meals.

Sunday: Departure after breakfast, passing through the city centre if time allows. Drop-off to Bordeaux is before 13:00. 

Transfer on arrival is no later than 14.00 at Bordeaux airport. This allows plenty of time for our guests to explore Saint Jean Pied-de-Port.



Accommodation: Accommodation is a variety of 2 and 3 star hotels and gites, which provide food typical of the region.
At dinner 2 glasses of wine or soft drinks along with tea and coffee are included. At lunchtime drinks are all included.
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Fit Intermediate - Advanced. Some fast and long gallops in the Landes Forest and on the beaches. You should be competent to ride over varied terrain and fit enough to ride long days of up to 8 hours.
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: 6 - 8 hours each day for 6 days.
Departure dates: 2017: 7-14 May, 14-21 May, 4-11 June, 11-18 June, 25 June-2 July, 2-9 July, 10-17 September, 17-24 September.
 
Pricing: 2017:

May, June and September:
Double room: £1192
Single room: £1311

July:
Double room: £1243
Single room: £1362

Small group supplement (if only 3 riders): £170 per person.

Price includes set time transfers from and to Bordeaux, 7 nights of accommodation, all meals (except for dinner on day 1, arrival day), drinks with meals and 6 days of riding as per the itinerary.



Perigord and Beach Combo



This trip is rich with the history of the Aquitaine region and is a trek through walled towns and fortified castles. Riding through the beautiful valleys here will lead you into the magnificent forest, a refuge for the local people during the 100 year war. The last few days of this holiday are spent back in the Mimizan area so not only do you get a trip of great historical interest, you also get the fabulous beach rides!

In 1152, the marriage of Eleanor to Henry II (Henry of Plantagenet) led the Aquitaine region into a long conflict known as the 100 year war. Several walled towns and castles were built during this period in order to respond to the different strategic, political and economic requirements of the area. This journey back in time takes you roaming on the back of your courageous charger through deep, mysterious valleys and on a maze of ancient paths through the forest.  The forest became a refuge for many local people.

The three day historical trek ends each day returning each night to the Hameau de Peyrie where you will enjoy delicious food influenced by the neighbouring Perigord province. You will spend four nights at this lovely location. You will have the opportunity to taste some fabulous French wines every evening at dinner. Three departments border this area - the  Lot, Lot et Garonne and Dordogne, so every day you will discover new ground, new flora and fauna and some fabulous castles.

Following this, three nights are spent back in Mimizan in a two star hotel with breathtaking beach riding and exploration of this phenomenal area.

Sunday: Arrival day. Transfer from Bordeaux Airport to Bonaguil and you will arrive at the the Hameau du Peyrie which is a beautiful manor house. You will meet the horses and enjoy a relaxing evening beside the swimming pool with dinner at a local restaurant.

Transfer from Bordeaux is at 14.00. Distance to Bonaguil from Bordeaux is 100 miles and takes 2 hours 30 minutes.

Monday:  This first day begins at 9am with discovery of the Cahors Vineyards and the Lot Valley. A 4 km gallop will lead you to Duravel with an al fresco lunch being taken in the Domaine of Caze forest.  You will pass through the fortified village of Moncabrier on the road to Bonaguil Castle. This is a great example of military architecture and the last of the great fortified castles in France. This amazing castle has never been besieged and is in a perfect state of preservation.

(5-6 hours in the saddle)

Tuesday:  Today's trail starts at  9.30 am. You will ride through stone hamlets in the forest of Perigord and discover the charming architecture typical of this area. Lunch will be near the foot of the Castle of Sauveterre. There will be more lovely canters this afternoon and you will return to the Gite and relax by the swimming pool.

(4 hours in the saddle and some hours by the pool!)

Wednesday: You start at 8.30 am to begin your 65 km trail passing by the fortified Bastide of St front sur Lemance and Lacapelle Biron. You will ride to the fine and noble Castle of Biron where you will enjoy lunch. The afternoon ride is long, passing by St. Avit, the picturesque village of the Castle of Gavaudun then the deep chestnut tree forest of Cuzorn with a surprising view over the Lot Valley. Then you will ride back to Bonaguil and the comfortable manor house.

(7 hours in the saddle)

Thursday: Today you will have relaxing start and enjoy a brunch around the swimming pool and then you will be transferred to Mimizan. The distance from Bonaguil to Mimizan is 120 miles and will take 3 hours. You will be in plenty of time to discover Mimizan from the back of a horse and you will definitely love the sunset beach ride in the evening. This perfect day will finish with dinner in a restaurant overlooking the beach.

Friday & Saturday: On the last two days you will will trail through the Landes region, heading from Mimizan to Contis and back again. The first day of the trail is 65 km riding over the soft and sandy ground of the largest forest in Europe with some stunning views of  the most beautiful beach in France. This is also an exciting time because you will have enjoyed the most fabulous gallop on the white sand of the Aquitaine Coast.

The following day you ride to the shore of the Aureilhan Lake where you will enjoy lunch. This is a more relaxed day of riding. Saturday evening will be fabulous with a sunset beach ride. The last dinner!

Sunday: Transfer back to the airport - if time there will be shopping in Bordeaux.

You will be dropped at Bordeaux before 13.00 and final time reflects the time of the clients' departures. Transfer to the airport takes 1 hours 30 minutes and is 70 miles.



Accommodation: During the 3 day historical trek, accommodation is in the same 3 star luxury gite. Once you have transferred to Mimizan, you will stay in the guesthouse at the riding centre.
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Fit, confident intermediate - advanced riders only. Riders should be capable of caring for their own horse, riding at a fast gallop and fit enough to manage some very long days in the saddle (two days are 65km each!).
Type of ride: Based/stationary rides but half the week in one location and half the week in another (so you return to the same accommodation each night for 4 nights and then move to another accommodation for 3 nights).
Total riding time: 6 days of riding (inc. 2 very long days of 65km each).
Departure dates: 2017: 2-9 April, 23-31 April, 31 April-7 May, 28 May-4 June, 24 September-1 October, 1-8 October, 16-23 October.
 
Pricing: 2017:

Double/twin room: £1192 per person
Single room: £1311 per person

Small group supplement (if only 3 riders): £170 per person

Price includes set time transfer from and to Bordeaux, 7 nights of accommodation, all meals (except for dinner on day 1, arrival day), drinks with meals and 6 riding days as per the itinerary.



Beginners Programme



The objective of this riding centre is to make horse riding an activity accessible to and enjoyable for everyone. The instructors here enjoy teaching how a close relationship can be established between horse and man and how, by learning just a few important riding notions, beginners can take advantage of this fabulous activity and means of travel.

As a certified Riding School in a seaside resort, the number of summer visitors has meant that they have adapted an "accelerated learning method". This means that complete beginners can enjoy the pleasure of riding out whilst also feeling secure after very few riding sessions. This is enhanced by the adapted and well-trained horses. Guests will learn walking, rising trot, canter and maybe even gallop and how to move independently from the group in these paces. By following the techniques here, it is expected that most full beginners will be able to finish the week by cantering alone down the beach, illustrating good control of their balance and horse.

The instructors here speak fluent English so have no difficulty teaching English speakers. Around 6 hours is spent with the horses and learning each day - 4 in the saddle and 2 furthering their equine education. Courses start on Mondays and guests should be quite fit and healthy to take total advantage of this great week.

On the last day of activities (Saturday), you will take part in a full day ride including lunch. This is a great way to celebrate and use your newfound skills! 

This programme is available on a B&B or half-board basis and has various accommodation options (see below). 



Accommodation: Accommodation is available in either a gîte (B&B basis), a 2* hotel or a rental apartment.

1) Mimizan Guesthouses (Sunday to Sunday) - situated beside the riding school with varied shared bedrooms including 4 bedrooms with 2 or 3 beds and 1 bedroom with 4 beds. Hot water and swimming pool available.

2) 2* Hotels in Mimizan (Sunday to Sunday) - there are three options depending on availability (Mermoz, De France or Bellevue).

3) Apartments - there are some rental apartments available in the south of the village, available either Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday, depending on which options you choose. Some have terraces or balconies and access to WiFi, pools etc. Please contact us for further details.
Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 6
Ability description: Complete beginner to novice. Guests should be fit so that they can take full advantage of the week. Minimum age is 13.
Type of ride: Based.
Total riding time: Around 4 hours per day for 6 days. Another 2 hours each day is spent with the horses but not riding them.
Departure dates: 2017: Sunday - Sunday during March - November. Course starts on a Monday.
 
Pricing: 2017:

Prices are per person and include bed and breakfast accommodation in either the gîte neighbouring the stables or one of the 2* hotels in Mimizan. You can choose which option you prefer. Half-board also possible.

July and August
Double room: £894
Single room supplement: £179

April, May, June, September and October
Double room: £809
Single room supplement: £119

March and November
Double room: £749
Single room supplement: £119

Half board supplement: £113

It's also possible to choose a rental apartment for your accommodation (ideal for families) - please contact us for apartment details and prices.



Flexible Riding Programme



The riding centre offers this flexible riding week (8 days, 7 nights) where guests buy a number of riding sessions to be claimed at a time of their choice. This makes it a programme more suited to families, those not wanting a set itinerary or guests who want to look around the area and enjoy the beach, shops and restaurants.

Riders of all levels buy a personal card with 8 riding sessions (each session being 2 hours) and are able to use these at their leisure. We have tow programmes, one with relaxed trail riding only and one which combines relaxed trails and tuition as well. If they wish to join a half day tour of 4 hours then they use 2 sessions or for a day trip tour of 6 hours, they use 3 sessions.

The formula of this programme can be half board or breakfast only, depending on your preference. This gives guests the opportunity to visit the fabulous Mimizan beach and its surroundings to test out the wonderful restaurants (serving delicious seafood) or to enjoy a leisurely lunch on the beach. Great for sampling some typical French meals! Breakfasts and lunches usually include typical French items such as sausage, paté, cheese, fruit, Bordeaux red wine, soups, salads and chicken and meats with vegetables.

Shorter and longer stays, including weekend breaks, can be arranged to suit you so please ask the office for more details.



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 6
Ability description: Novice - Advanced
Type of ride: Based
Total riding time: Flexible
Departure dates: March - November (can start any day of the week)
 
Pricing: 2017:

Flexible trail riding: Gite Mimizan or Hotel (B&B accommodation) - 8 riding sessions (no instruction)

July and August
Single room: £982
Double room: £803
Additional night: £55

April, May, June, September and October
Single room: £815
Double room: £695
Additional night: £36

March and November
Single room: £755
Double room: £636
Additional night: £32

Half board supplement: £113


Combination trail and lessons: Gite Mimizan or Hotel (B&B accommodation) - 8 riding sessions (instruction and trail rides)

July and August
Single room: £1073
Double room: £894
Additional night: £55

April, May, June, September and October
Single room: £928
Double room: £809
Additional night: £36

March and November
Single room: £868
Double room: £749
Additional night: £32

Half board supplement: £113
Advanced rider supplement (jumps over 1m): £128
Supplement for individual course (private lessons): £341

Accommodation in self-catered apartments close to the beach in Mimizan are also available. Please contact us for detailed pricing.