Monthly Archives: January 2015

What’s in store for this year

We have started preparations for April 25 already and are looking forward to seeing you all this year.

New Rides – Tanya and I are out as much as possible exploring even more of the countryside around putting together some new rides and additions / variatons to existing ones.

I've been in this saddle for hours today!
I’ve been in this saddle for hours today!

The riding will be different this year as you will now be able to ride every day of the week if you want to. Of course, those of you who like a day off to take it easy can still do so whenever you please – don’t forget you are the important one here because it’s your holiday.

Other additions –
Tanya is spending quite a lot of time with the Exmoors and having drawn up a plan is now chasing Chris to build an agility course. We a very exited about this as there is quite a lot of local interest in it and if all goes according to plan we hope that some of you would maybe like to join in on the odd afternoon. The ponies appear to really enjoy it and are accepting the new challenges very well.

It's all such fun
It’s all such fun

Cross Country also in the pipeline are renovations to the cross country course which in favourable ground conditions will be available for an afternoon workshop.

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Dressage Tanya is starting to compete in dressage again attending the early competitions this year and taking two of her regular pupils with her as well. If any of you would like to take advantage of this renewed enthusiasm you can include some additional training help in your time here with us

 

Natural Horsemanship Just a reminder that Tanya has several years of training and experience in this. All of our youngstock are handled and started using natural horemanship technics.  To improve your bond with your horse while you are here Рwhy not try a join up

 

 

Changes to the weekly programme Рwhereas before other than breakfast Wednesday was a non riding, lunch or dinner day  Now  there will be a ride with lunch when you return as all other days. There will not, however, be dinner  But  for anyone not wanting to go out there will be a buffet supper available

 

Continuing popular events

Relaxing massage – as usual Nadia will arrive complete with table, music and oils on Tuesday afternoon to smooth away all your aches and pains. This is not compulsory but highly recommended by anyone who has had one previously! Naturally this is included in the price of your holiday

Lunch at Monique’s – Extremely popular and after a slightly shorter ride on Thursday you will return to the chateau for a quick change and off to the restaurant for a really good local meal which is also included in your holiday price:

Soup
Entree
Main Course
Dessert / Cheese
Wine and coffee

After this return to the chateau where everyone generally disappears for a siesta somewhere shady.

Evening apperos – In the evening we all meet in the salon for a glass of wine (or an alternative of your choice) and a variety of nibbles for a very relaxed time before dinner to chat over the day, talk about anything you may want to do and generally get to know everyone. Don’t forget that for a special occasion – Birthday or Wedding Anniversay – our champagne appero makes this an extra celebration

 

Outside activities – there are many other activities to do and places to visit in easy reach of us and if you want help with any of them or general advice / directions just ask:

Cycling - there is an excellent hire shop in Limogne and he will deliver and collect the bicycles.  Both road and off road

Tour de France here we come!
Tour de France here we come!

Canoeing - several rivers not too far away with companies supplying this. Full day, half day and shorter runs available

Fishing Рfor any  keen fishermen who would rather fish than ride there is some of the best and most varied fishing in France in this area both lake and river. Indeed, this area currently holds the record for the largest carp caught in Europe. Here are some of the fish caught here:

Black Bass, Pike, Roach, Carp, Pikeperch, Perch, Chub, Tench, Barbeau and Rainbow Trout

a temporary  fishing license is simple to arrange and very inexpensive

Sightseeing - there are numerous towns and villages of interest within about half an hour’s drive and driving is easy here because there is very little traffic compared to the UK

Cahors is the main town of the Lot region with many old buildings, interesting little side roads to wander down, pavement cafes to sit with a coffee and watch the world go by, a weekly market and lots of excellent restaurants.Cahors_pont_Valentre_vgen[1]

Villefranche de Rouergue is an excellent example of a 12th century Bastide and is the nearest town and again a very interesting couple of hours wandering round the buildings, shops and cafes.

Najac with it’s chateau on top of the hill is a wonderful place to visit and the view from the top is umnbelievable but definitely not a climb for the faint heartedtumblr_l4dfg5J69K1qb62c4o1_500[1]

Saint Cirque Lapopie is a beautiful 12th century village just about 20 minutes drive.  It really is like stepping back in time to wander through the tiny streets and to bring you back to present time there is a very good wine museum to take a look at.  After that at the top of the hill there is a pretty good place for an ice cream!

 

I could carry on but it would become just too much to take in so you really need to come to stay with us and take a look yourself

What a winter’s day looks like in the LOT

Winter doesn’t have quite the same sense of dread here as it did in England because it’s so different. ¬†Before we moved to this region someone said to me that here the sun shines every day and my response was ‘In your dreams!’ ¬†We all now know how unfair that comment was simply because what they said was true it really does. ¬†It’s sometimes not for very long but when it’s there it’s very bright and the sky is blue which makes everything feel better. At this time of year it gets very cold at night – at it’s most extreme it can go down to -15 deg.C at times during January & February – and the mornings are frosty and quite breathtakingly beautiful as it was this morning IMG_20150101_101613IMG_20150101_121930DSCF6227 but when it’s like this the sun appears mid morning and by lunchtime when you look out of the window it’s a totally different world. The frost has gone and the temperature can rise by between 20 – 25 deg.C which is a huge amount and at times like this you can almost forget it’s winter. The photos above were taken at 8.45am, the following at around noon and OK it’s not so pretty withouth the frost BUT just look at that blue sky!DSCF6247

 

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Blue sky – what blue sky??

On the other hand, some people are just too busy with lunch!

Catching Up Part 2 -small 4 legged team members progress

There has been a lot of growing on the part of the foals and bonding on the part of the Exmoors since our last post.

The foals have now been weaned for several months and are revelling in the freedom of being out from under the watchful eye of mum. They are also growing at an amazing rate.

This photo was taken back in November when newly free from respective mums and very muddy!DSCF6174

Although very independent they still enjoy a visit from Tanya – especially if there might be a treat in store

What's in that pocket?
What’s in that pocket?

The Exmoors are really becoming part of the family and from 4 very suspicious little individuals they have become very trusting and really quite affectionate. They still have a long way to go but their progress is very encouraging.

Galaxie – the youngest has taken to handling very quickly and become quite expert at long reining. Here she is showing Caroline and Lola how it’s done

It's easy, just follow me
It’s easy, just follow me

Eider is the most independent of the group and although very ¬†friendly, unless it’s something she wants to do and is really in the mood for, at present, has the attention span of a gnat but with lots of time and patience from Tanya is getting there and will make it although just now we haven’t found where we think her real strength will be.

Dove from the beginning has been a real sweetie – friendly and wanting to be close. Tanya loves all of her horses like children but she’s only human and occasionally one gets just a bit closer and Dove is one of these.

Willow is the biggest surprise of all. At 10 years she is the eldest (well being mum to them all she would be wouldn’t she) and when she arrived she was pretty much unhandled. To say she was wild makes her sound a bit daunting so we’ll just refer to her as ‘natural’. ¬† She managed to remove her headcollar very early on and at first without cornering her, which we were’t prepared to do, there was no way that she was going to have it back on again so all of the work Tanya did with her was free. She started by just standing in the paddock until curiosity got the better of Willow and she would come very near to look, then she started coming close enough to take a treat and soon stood still for a while to be stroked all over. She didn’t want to come near the stables at first but Tanya started to bring the others in for a very short time each day and eventually she followed to look through the entrance door but wouldn’t come in. Then seeing that the other three were getting a handful of pony nuts she started to follow along just long enough to eat a few from the floor just inside the door. This progressed to entering the stable and letting us close the door while she munched on some hay. She now accepts the headcollar and being led in hand quite happily. With this bond between them Tanya has started working with some agility obstacles. ¬†Here is her first encounter with a tarpaulin sheet – we just couldn’t believe how she handled it.

So this is scary??
So this is scary??

 

Huh!  I don't think so
Huh! I don’t think so

So it’s all sysems forward now and onto the next challenges