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Icelandics in Brittany

Overview

In the heart of Brittany, you will find a small stables in the rolling countryside, home to some of the only Icelandic horses in the whole of Brittany - waiting to take you on extraordinary journeys. Hosts Claire and Benjamin have been firm friends for many years. They met at university in Lava…

Highlights

  • Meet and ride gorgeous Icelandic horses
  • Tolt along miles of off-road bridleways & tracks
  • Discover Brittany - its amazing food and its culture
  • Ride to the stunning bay of Mont Saint Michel
  • Enjoy these off-the-beaten-track adventures

Essential Facts

  • 2 itineraries available
  • Max 8 riders per group
  • Average of 6 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 90 kg / 198 lbs / 14st 2lbs - heavier riders may be accommodated, according to experience and horses available, so please confirm with us if you are over this limit.
    more info

Description

In the heart of Brittany, you will find a small stables in the rolling countryside, home to some of the only Icelandic horses in the whole of Brittany - waiting to take you on extraordinary journeys.

Hosts Claire and Benjamin have been firm friends for many years. They met at university in Laval and developed their enthusiasm for horses and equestrian tourism during a summer internship at Mount Juliet Equestrian Centre in Ireland. While there, Claire worked in the stables, preparing the horses, leading rides and learning everything she could about this aspect of the industry. Benjamin took a role in the hotel taking care of guests, organising behind the scenes and learning about hospitality and what it takes to be the best host possible. This experience has put them in a great position to provide their own amazing offer for their guests.

The pair discovered and fostered a love of the Icelandic horse breed later on, but is something that they now cannot imagine being without. Benjamin is the current president of the French Icelandic Horse association and they both compete and attend gala events on their own horses.

Together, they have set up their heaven in the Breton countryside, outside the glorious National Forest of Fougeres, in order to share their passion for their horses with as many people as possible. Here you will find a peaceful getaway, set in simple nature, where you can enjoy the fun of riding enthusiastic Icelandic horses alongside friendly hosts, lovely food and the pleasure of tolting your way through the surrounding forests and valleys.

Horses & Riding

Tack

The horses are ridden in Icelandic saddles and synthetic bitless bridles. The bridles and saddles are easy to fit and remove during the trail. There are bitted bridles available too if riders prefer though.

Horses

The Icelandic horses are known for their robust and hardy nature, incredible stamina and additional 'tolting' gait. The horses here are a mix of ages and backgrounds, some having been imported from Iceland. They have kind characters, are always treated with great respect and will be a pleasure to ride.

Riding

There are 2 itineraries:

  • Trail to Mont St Michel is a trail ride
  • Fougeres Forest Weekend is a based ride

Ages

None within reason. Children joining the trail should be confident and capable riders, able to spend long hours in the saddle and accompanied by an adult.

Health

For the trail, riders should be fit and capable of spending sustained periods in the saddle. On the base rides the days can be tailored to suit, so a lesser level of fitness and experience can be accommodated.

Weight

90 kg / 198 lbs / 14st 2lbs - heavier riders may be accommodated, according to experience and horses available, so please confirm with us if you are over this limit.

Food & Accommodation

Food

Meals will include a combination of traditional fare of the Brittany region, as well as some traditional Icelandic recipes. Meals are prepared and cooked by Benjamin who has a passion for home-cooking fostered by his home-life while growing up and using recipes borrowed from his mother.

Food is often filling and hearty and may include crepes and tarts filled with local cheese and wild mushrooms, hearty broths brimming with home-grown vegetables, or mussels in white wine accompanied by fresh, crusty French baguettes.

Breakfast is typically continental, with tea or coffee, as well as baguette with cheese. Yogurt and fruit (apples, oranges, bananas) will also be available.

Lunches vary depending on the season and time of year, but will can include charcuterie, salads and quiche, etc in the summer. On the long trail, a picnic lunch will be carried with you in the saddle bags, so will be more simple. There is usually a cake or pudding to finish and tea or coffee (instant) available.

Dinner will normally comprise an aperitif of crisps, snacks and a drink, followed by a hot meal served with green salad. Then a cheeseboard with local cheeses and baguette and a desert to finish.

Accommodation

The accommodation on these rides is predominantly tented; simple, yet comfortable. The ride base is at your hosts's home which is an old fashioned farmhouse on the edge of the Fougeres forest. You will sleep in large Teepee style glamping tents which are shared (twin, double or triple) with shared shower/toilet block and clubhouse with kitchen and seating area. Please note that there are 2 friendly rescue dogs living at the farmhouse - they are kept away from guests as much as possible but you may meet them.

On the trails you stay in simple campsites (in tents) and cosy rural hotels. Tents are provided.

Itineraries

Trail to Mont St Michel Tented accommodation.

Fougeres Forest Weekend Tented accommodation.

Other Activities

During the rides, there will be few opportunities for other activities as the days will be fairly long.

Travel

The meeting point for this ride is at the stables from 6pm on arrival day.

Transfers from Laval train station are also available and this is easily reached - with 1 change - from Paris CDG airport (typical journey time 3.5-4hrs). You can check train times on https://www.sncf.com/

It is also possible to drive from Cherbourg ferry port.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Arrival

Riding: No riding.

Arrival at the stables from 6 pm. A welcome drink and tasty home-cooked dinner will await you.

Transfers from the nearby station of Laval or the bus station in Fougeres can be organised for you - please enquire.

Day 2 - Chauvigné

Riding: 7 hours

After a tasty breakfast you will head to the field to meet your horses and prepare them for riding.

Today's trail will see you head along peaceful country bridleways and greenways, enjoying the beautiful Breton landscapes as you go. Your destination for today will be Chauvigné where you will stay the night at a farm campsite belonging to a family of deer breeders. A tasty evening dinner will be prepared for you by your hosts.

Total riding distance c. 36km.

Day 3 - Pleine Fougères

Riding: 6 hours

Rise to the sounds of the countryside and enjoy another tasty French breakfast.

Today's ride will see you tolting down more scenic greenways and serene country trails as you head to your destination at Pleine Fougères. A relaxed lunch stop in the forest before finishing up the afternoon at the cosy equestrian lodge. Today's ride will cover around 28 km.

Day 4 - Mont Dol

Riding: 5 - 6 hours

Today's ride is another 28km day as you begin to head in the direction of the coast. Your destination will be Mont Dol, following perfect flat trails along the Banche canal which invite some great canters. After having settled your horses and things at the camp site for the evening you will head to the top of Mont Dol to enjoy a celebratory drink as the sun goes down, with breathtaking views.

Day 5 - St Méloir

Riding: 5 hours

Setting out from your campsite in the morning, your destination for the day will be the next campsite at St Méloir des Ondes. This site has a swimming pool, so a shorter riding day will allow time for you to enjoy the facilities on arrival.

In the evening you will go into the fortified town of St Malo to taste famous Breton crepes!

Riding distance c. 25 km.

Day 6 - Mont St Michel

Riding: 7 hours

Today will be the highlight of your trip - riding to the Mont St Michel!

Heading towards the coast this morning you will ride between the sea and the saltwater marshes that border the bay of Mont St Michel. Plenty of opportunities to enjoy some tolt and canter before arriving at your base for the night. you will camp overnight near the Mont and head across the bridge to explore on foot and take dinner at a local restaurant tonight.

Riding distance c. 38km.

Day 7 - Couesnon

Riding: 4 hours

You can enjoy a later start to the day and a cooked brunch.

The ride this day will offer perfect places for some good canters and excellent photo opportunities too. The afternoon will then see you follow the Couesnon in the direction of the equestrian lodge once more.

Dinner and overnight at the lodge; riding distance c. 15 km

Day 8 - Forest Fougeres

Riding: 6 hours

Today's ride will enable you to spend more time on the beautiful forest trails in Fougeres. Discovering criss-crossing tracks and long wide paths. A great opportunity to perfect your tolt and enjoy some fun canters too. A tasty picnic lunch stop in the forest before heading on to the Maison Neuve deer farm for the night.

Riding distance c 28 km today.

Day 9

Riding: 7 hours

A fortifying breakfast this morning as you make your final push for home.

A long day in the saddle, exploring more of the beautiful forest trails and greenways which radiate around this area. A last opportunity to enjoy time with your horses and their special paces as you follow the peaceful and green country highways to finally return to the home stables in the late afternoon.

You will cover around 36km today and will be able to depart form around 6:30 pm.

Accommodation

Each night you will stay in campsites (tents) or rural gite (guesthouses)

Experience Experienced

Riders should be confident at a walk, trot and canter in open country and capable of being in the saddle for long hours each day. The horses are kind but you will need to be fit enough to complete the required hours each day.

Minimum group size 4
Maximum group size 8
Departure windows

June 28, 2024 - July 6, 2024

July 12, 2024 - July 20, 2024

July 26, 2024 - Aug. 3, 2024

Aug. 9, 2024 - Aug. 17, 2024

Sept. 6, 2024 - Sept. 14, 2024

Pricing

2024
Rider; sharing
£1170 $1485 €1390
Included Accommodation in shared rooms/tents, all meals from dinner on arrival day until lunch on departure day, drinks with meals (except in restaurants), 8 days riding with an experienced guide.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, transfers, train tickets, drinks in restaurants, sleeping bags and camping mattresses, tips and other personal expenses.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1 - Arrival - Friday

Riding: No riding.

Arrival at the stables from 6 pm. A welcome drink and tasty home-cooked dinner will await you.

Transfers from the nearby station of Laval or the bus station in Fougeres can be organised for you - please enquire.

Day 2 - Saturday

Riding: 6 hours

Breakfast will be served at around 7:30 am today - usually consisting of fresh croissant or pain au chocolat!

At around 9 am you will head out to the fields to meet your horses and prepare them to ride. Your hosts will give some direction on how to fit the Icelandic tack f you need it. Once everyone is ready and on, you will set out into the countryside, following magnificent wooded paths in the Fougeres Forest. Perhaps pass the Druid's Cordon on your way to your lunch stop on the shores of a lake. There is a little corral here where the horses can enjoy some grass and a good roll while you rest.

In the afternoon you will continue riding through the forest, discovering the Landéan cellar - an antiquated catacomb used to hide royal treasure during the revolution. You will also pass the 200 year old twin trees on the edge of this ancient forest.

Arrival back at the farm at around 5 pm with time to settle your horses and freshen up before dinner.

Day 3 - Sunday

Riding: 6 hours

Breakfast will be served from 7:30 am again today and set up for another day of exploring.

Departing at around 9 am you will head out into the countryside once again on route to the Fougeres Greenway - a dedicated multi-use leisure trail which leads you through the heart of the ancient walled city. You will have opportunities for some tolt and canter as you learn more about the city and its past.

Arrive at Cotterets park and pond in time for a tasty lunch and a rest. Through the afternoon you will continue back to the stables along nature paths and forests tracks with more opportunities to enjoy some exhilarating tolt and canter. The adventurous may choose to try riding bareback to test the comfort of the Icelandic paces.

Arrive back at the farmhouse at around 5 pm and departure from 6 pm.

Accommodation

Every night will be in teepee style tents at the farm; shared double, twin or triple with shared bathroom facilities nearby.

Experience Beginner / Intermediate / Experienced

All abilities can be accommodated and rides will e tailored to suit. Groups cannot be split so the riding will be limited by the weakest member of the group.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 8
Departure windows

May 31, 2024 - June 2, 2024

June 7, 2024 - June 9, 2024

June 14, 2024 - June 16, 2024

June 21, 2024 - June 23, 2024

Oct. 4, 2024 - Oct. 6, 2024

Oct. 11, 2024 - Oct. 13, 2024

Oct. 18, 2024 - Oct. 20, 2024

Oct. 25, 2024 - Oct. 27, 2024

Nov. 8, 2024 - Nov. 10, 2024

Nov. 22, 2024 - Nov. 24, 2024

Pricing

2024
Rider; sharing
£295 $370 €350
Included 2 nights accommodation, all meals from dinner on arrival day to lunch on departure day, drinks with meals (tea, coffee, beer and cider) and 2 days riding.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, transfers, tips and other personal expenses.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.