Monthly Archives: August 2014

Catching Up at Last! Part One – Our New Arrivals

A lot’s been happening around here this year and we thought it about time to tell you about it .

Just before we opened in April a new member of the team arrived and here he is  the first time Tanya rode him out obviously thinking ‘What’s all the fuss about?  I can do this’.

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Chico

Meet Cacique – alias Chico – he’s a 16hh, 7 year old Andalucian

He’s a really unflappable, comfortable ride and he has become VERY popular as  the season has gone on, so much so that once a guest has ridden him there’s not much  chance of anyone else getting him that week as they don’t usually want to give him up – bribery and a certain amount of coercion often takes place!

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Echo de Laumiere

 

 

Next we had a BIG surprise on 24 April, just 2 days before we opened. Tanya came running in jumping about saying ‘Guess what, we have a baby in the paddock!’ Lesse had produced the first of our 3 expected foals almost a week early.   Here is what we all saw when we went out.  A beautiful little bay filly who didn’t know the word shy and came almost right up to us to say hello.  There was then lots of discussion about a name which this year had to begin with an ‘E’ and as all our foals are ‘de Laumiere’ it could only have 6 letters.  Finally we decided on Echo

After this the next couple of weeks until the other 2 arrived went very slowly until we almost started to wonder if they were going to come at all. Then hey presto!on 12 May Lucy produced a very dark (almost black) little colt which everyone wanted to call Ebony but as Hope had been this colour we knew he would eventually go grey so this wouldn’t be quite right.  Just as we were moving to other names the French translation of Ebene was suggested so that when he goes grey we can call him Benny – good idea don’t you think?

Ebene was just settling in and on 14 May Peaches presented number 3, a super little chestnut filly.  This one was much easier because we all took one look at her little pointy ears and said Elf

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Ebene de Laumiere

 

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Elf de Laumiere

 

 

 

 

Well, that was quite enough excitement for a while and as we thought the last of this year’s new arrivals. How innocent can you be? In July, after quite a bit of correspondence, a fairly long drive to meet them and a great deal of discussion before a final decision was made our equestrian family increased with the arrival of 4 Exmoors and here they are

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Willow, Eiderdown, Dovetail and Galaxie

They have settled in very well and are now all quite happy to be handled and the general idea is that Tanya will work with them through the winter with the aim of introducing something quite exciting next year but to find out what that is going to be you will just have to watch this space!

Five Reasons Why Horse Riding is Good for Body & Mind

Ride & RelaxThere are numerous ways to get fit and many forms of exercise to explore. However, few sports give quite the same level of benefits across the board as horse riding does.

From the purely physical through to lifting our mood, we explore here just five reasons why we firmly believe horse riding is such a great activity for your mind and body.

1. Great for Your Heart

Horse riding is a great physical workout for the whole body. Not only are you burning calories at a rate of approximately five per minute, but you are also strengthening muscles and working on improving your cardiovascular system.

2. Perfect Balance

Horse riding is also highly beneficial for your levels of balance and stability and will, over time, improve your levels of flexibility and co-ordination. It is a full body workout to guide a horse where you want it to go.

3. Train Your Brain

Research has shown that learning a new skill is great for the brain, and if you are new to horse riding then, there is a lot to learn. Even for the more seasoned rider, every outing provides opportunities to stretch yourself mentally as you encounter fresh terrain and new experiences.

4. Bust That Stress
Contact with animals is now established as an excellent way to decrease our stress levels and consequently lower blood pressure. Apart from the time spent riding your horse, there is also the additional contact when you are caring for him. The rhythmic grooming of a horse is a great stress buster, and it also increases the bond between the two of you.

5. Feeling of Connection

Riding can offer a wealth of benefits on an emotional level too. Sometimes we all need to get away, with time to think, and the solitude of a solo ride can give you that space. Alternatively when we are riding with others, there is a sense of camaraderie as well as it being a great deal of fun.

You see the world from a different vantage point on the back of a horse and sometimes that is all we need to lift our mood and to help us look at life from a different perspective.

As you can see riding offers a wealth of benefits for your body, your mind and your emotions. Whether you are a novice rider or an experienced equestrian, there is always something new to learn, and the physical and mental benefits never end.

Sounding Good?

If you can now see the benefits of taking a riding holiday in the beautiful, peaceful French countryside then now is the time to be proactive. You could be with us in a matter of weeks so why not get in touch with us and see if we can tempt you?

We offer a range of flexible riding holiday options with each of those options delivering a holiday that can relax or invigorate; it’s your holiday so you can choose the pace.

You can find out more via our website home page or drop us a line and we can call or email you with more details and a few tailored options to suit your ideal holiday.

English Instructors, French Countryside – The Perfect Riding Holiday

Riding InstructorThe countryside of Southern France has much to recommend it: beautiful scenery, picturesque villages and gorgeous sunny days. If you are thinking of taking a horse riding holiday and would like to go a little further afield than the UK, then France might prove to be the perfect solution.

The French countryside is an idyllic place to explore on horseback, with significantly more open access areas to explore and much quieter roads than the UK or other parts of Europe. It’s for these reasons that Southern France is the favoured choice for the more discerning holidaymakers looking for a tranquil riding holiday.

Horse Riding Instructors

If you are a beginner horse rider, or if you are unfamiliar with the countryside, having a qualified Instructor at hand to offer assistance is an important consideration. Maybe you need to brush up on your equestrian skills, or simply need a guide to help you negotiate unfamiliar roads and trails?

Most French riding schools have excellent Instructors, well skilled in all aspects of horse riding. France is well-set up for horse riding, and so you will not have much difficulty finding an Instructor with the skills to give you the tuition you need.

Will Language be a Barrier?

The ability to communicate effectively with your Instructor is vital. When you are being given information about how to ride, safety, equipment or where you are heading on your trek that day, it is crucial that you understand every detail.

Many French riding Instructors speak excellent English, but, as you would expect, this varies greatly from person to person. If you have a fluent grasp of the French language this isn’t going to be an issue for you. However, if your French isn’t that great, then you may find the language barrier gets in your way.

Therefore, when you are making your selection about a riding holiday venue abroad, always check whether they employ English speaking Instructors.

Feel at Ease With Your Instructors

At horse riding holiday venues such as ours we cater for many tourists coming in from the UK. We therefore make sure there are always English Instructors available on all our organised excursions. Our instructors are completely at home in southern France and are comfortably bi-lingual, so they make the perfect guides and companions on your riding holiday.

Great Climate, Great Location

With our English instructors and the rolling French countryside you can relax and explore more of the local area at your own pace. If the thought of sunny days, beautiful country and English speaking instructors sounds good to you, then heading to the French countryside for a horse-riding holiday with us this year may just make for the perfect holiday.

An Independant Horse Riding Holiday Review by Nicola Green

If you are looking to get away from it all on horseback, the French countryside near Toulouse
is the perfect destination, says Nicola Green…

Riding Holiday Review

Landing on a Saturday in sunny Toulouse, France, was the ideal start to my first ‘girly’ family holiday with my sister, Helen, and Mum, Sue. It was a present to Mum – who was celebrating a major birthday – and a riding holiday at that.

An hour and a half’s drive later, we pulled up at the impressive Château de Laumière. Going in search of owner Lynda, we bumped into her husband, Chris, who was busy bringing in horses. Originally from Kent, Lynda and Chris moved to France to retire. But then Lynda’s daughter, Tanya, decided to move out with them bringing her horses and a holiday business grew.

Tanya’s equestrian credentials are long and varied. As well as being a British Horse Society instructor, she picked up her French qualifications, becoming a ‘monitrice d’équitation’. Lynda cooks all of the meals, Chris looks after the vegetable and herb garden and all of the grounds whilst Tanya keeps the horse side running smoothly. We were shown to our accommodation – two en suite terrace rooms on the ground floor, one with a bath/shower and the other (as I discovered to my joy later on) with a fabulous power shower.

Both rooms were tastefully furnished and had tea-making facilities. There is a guest fridge, which is housed a short walk across the grass from the rooms, full of soft drinks, beers and wine. The downtime here is most pleasant!

Saddling up

We were given the option of grooming and tacking up our horses, and decided to make friends with our mounts by getting involved. Otherwise, Tanya would have prepared all four horses each morning – she will get eight ready if there is a full contingent of guests.

Each day followed the same routine. We were at the stables at around 9.15am, after breakfast. We rode out at 10am for about three hours, returning for lunch and some free time each afternoon before heading back to the château for dinner. Tanya matched us with the right horses. In terms of ability, we were a mixed bunch, to say the least.

I rode every day as a child up until my late teens, working my way through Pony Club tests. But I hadn’t ridden for any length of time for 18 years. In addition, I had one of my legs fused straight two years ago, so have had to find a new way of balancing while on board. It turned out the few hours of hacking I had done in preparation for this trip were not really enough. Meanwhile, my sister, Helen, hadn’t ridden properly for 30 years, but got in the saddle regularly in the build up to our holiday.

My mum, Sue, was the fittest and best rider in our party, as she still has horses and rides every day. I was paired with 16hh chestnut gelding Boysie, who had been imported from Britain. Sue was given Nao, a 15hh black Merens, and Helen had Ayva, a 16.2hh chestnut. All three were kind to their nervous new riders. Hitting the trail our rides took us along quiet drover tracks.

Tanya plans every hack meticulously, with each covering between 20 and 25 miles. We had forgotten how hard it is on your muscles to trot for long periods. My legs and back were aching after three minutes of trotting, and it’s a wonder I stayed in the saddle at all during our first long canter!

Soaking up the scenery the varied riding took us past tiny stone sheepherders’ shelters, ancient burial sites, pigeon lofts and stunning châteaux. The tree-lined fields went on forever and we even spotted wild deer. We were struck by how quiet it was. Apart from our own voices, all we heard were the horses’ hooves on the tracks and birdsong.

Images of Riding Holiday

The hoopoe bird was particularly fun to watch, pottering around in the trees and bushes. Each ride – despite the rain, which was unusual for April – was peaceful and relaxing. I imagine in the sun it would have been even more idyllic. Hacking through the villages, it was wonderful to peek into the lives of people in rural France, even nosing into back gardens.

On our last ride, we took in a beautiful lake and passed locals fishing in the tranquillity. We wound our way around empty picnic tables that, in summer, are full of families enjoying the water. This day was also memorable for a glorious gallop. The horses were as good as gold, and didn’t take advantage of their not-very-experienced jockeys.

Downtime

Riding in the mornings was enough for us, and there were plenty of things with which to fill the afternoons. It was easy to nip into the village in our hired car to find a tabac selling hot chocolate and wine, or visit the farmers’ markets.

On our final day, we had lunch at an internationally renowned restaurant. Lou Bourdie was featured on British television two years ago in one of Jamie Oliver’s cookery shows. On other afternoons we went to the stunning historical site of Saint-Cirq- Lapopie, took in the cave Pech Merle and popped into the town of Cahors.

There is a lovely swimming pool at the château, though sadly the weather wasn’t warm enough for us to dive in. Guests have their own dining room and a living room available to use in the main house, as well as access to a library.

Wi-Fi is available, however, there is no TV or radio, which makes a stay here a real escape from normal life. Each morning, I woke to see mare Lucy and her newborn foal from my window. That alone made me feel lucky to be at the château, away from it all.

Riding Holliday Info

Five Reasons We Think You’ll Fall in Love With Southern France

Southern FranceIf you are considering Southern France as a holiday destination this year, here are five reasons why we think it will be the start of a location love affair.

1. Easy To Get To

When we are off on our holidays, it is nice to think that it is not going to take that long to get to our destination. You can either choose a very short haul flight or if you do not like to take to the skies; there is always the ferry or tunnel option and then a car or train journey taking in the stunning vistas.

2. Indulgence

Southern France is well known for its beautiful scenery, castles, medieval villages and coastal regions. Accompanying this feast for the eyes is total pleasure for your taste buds, with a wealth of delicious local foods to indulge. You may want to sneak in a cheeky glass of wine or two too.

3. Pace of Life

For a truly relaxing time, it is hard to beat Southern France. Whether you are strolling through the farmers’ market, watching the locals play a game of boules or sipping coffee outside the local café, time just seems to stretch on forever. You gradually feel your shoulders relax and all that stress from home melts away in the warmth of the sun.

4. Climate

Of course, it is much easier to enjoy a slower pace and to fully relax when the climate is just so much more conducive to a great quality of life. With the gorgeous Mediterranean sun making an appearance for, on average, over 320 days a year, you are almost guaranteed good weather.

5. Activities

There are a wealth of activities to keep you entertained while you are on holiday in Southern France, ranging from the more genteel walking and sightseeing through to cycling, climbing and sailing.
Alternatively, you could view some of the stunning sceneries from a different vantage point as you go horse riding through the countryside. Excellent weather, total relaxation and beautiful views all wrapped up in one fantastic holiday.

Nearly Convinced?

Visiting southern France will be the start of a love affair and one which you’ll wish to continue throughout the years. With such a short hop across the Channel, it’s one which you can regularly revisit.

And with that weather year round, southern France has something to offer throughout the seasons so regardless of what time of the year you’re reading this article, why not check out our holiday prices to see the next available option for taking a riding holiday here at Château de Laumière?

We think there is no better way to enjoy the delights of Southern France than on horseback; and hundreds of our delighted guests would agree with you – see what they have to say by reading our holiday reviews.

Our Top 5 Tips For Making The Most of Your Riding Holiday

A riding holiday can offer a wealth of benefits. There is the element of being outdoors, the physical exercise, the beautiful scenery, the connection with your horse and of course the enjoyment of being with other riders on a great vacation.

There are ways however, of making your adventure the very best that it can be. Below we explore five tips for making the most of your riding holiday.

1. Decide On The Type Of Holiday

Riding holidays come in all shapes and sizes, from genteel trekking through beautiful countryside to riding on the beach and then on to more athletic equestrian pursuits. It is important therefore to decide on the type of holiday you want before you even start looking.

You also need to take into consideration the location of the holiday. Do you want to go somewhere short haul like Southern France or would you prefer a holiday further afield?

2. Be Honest About Your Riding Ability

To fully enjoy your riding holiday, it is best to be totally honest about your horse riding ability. If you are a novice and need to gain confidence, then make sure that the holiday organisers cater for new riders and can offer horses that will be suitable. If you are a completely inexperienced rider, then you are also going to need some training when you arrive.

Alternatively if you are a very experienced rider you may want an experience that is going to challenge you a little more. Honesty is the best policy to ensure you get the most out of the holiday.

And of course, any additional riding you can fit in before your holiday to sharpen your fitness and technique certainly won’t do any harm.

3. Make Sure You Are Protected

Wherever you are traveling make sure that the riding holiday organisers hold the correct insurances and adhere to health and safety best practice. Any sport, horse riding being no exception, has its risks, and it is better to be safe than sorry. This is another good reason why you also need to check that your holiday company offers professional instruction from qualified Instructors.

In addition, when you take out your travel insurance, make sure that you declare you are going on a riding holiday so that you have the necessary protection.

4. Dress Correctly

Before you leave for your holiday check with the organisers what clothing and footwear you will need. Also find out whether they provide a hard hat or whether you need to take one of your own. Better to be prepared than to find yourself in a location where it is difficult to purchase the necessary equipment.

5. Enjoy yourself

Above all, the best way to make the most of your riding holiday is to have fun. A vacation is meant to be full of relaxation and enjoyable company so that you return home rested and rejuvenated. A riding holiday is no exception to this, but it also offers the bonus of letting you spend time in the saddle.

Ready to Ride?

If our top-tips have whetted your appetite to take a riding holiday then the first step is to check out our riding holidays here in the South of France. Head to our home page and browse through the information pages or if you’d like to get in touch, you can do so via our contact page.