Thereâ€™s something very special about the Lot Valley in June.
The fields are bursting with colour and life, and the temperature is balmy. So, here are three excellent reasons to book your riding holiday in France then:
Youâ€™ll spot beautiful orchids
Plant-lovers will be amazed at the range of wild flowers in bloom in Lot during June. The area is famed for its wild orchids including:
Military orchid â€“ a small, purple orchid which blooms on the roadside in the Lot Valley. Look out for this from mid-May onwards.
Greater butterfly orchid â€“ lovely white flowers which look like small butterflies, growing in a V formation. They love sunny woodlands.
Lesser butterfly orchid â€“ a beautiful white orchid found in wooded areas and blooming from May onwards. Can be distinguished from the greater version because the flowers are parallel.
Woodcock orchid â€“ grows on verges and roadsides and is often mistaken for the larger bee orchid.
Bee orchid â€“ a soft, pink flower which is seen in meadows and pastures in June.
Man orchid â€“ a rare bloom found in the High Causse and in flower in June.
Red helleborine â€“ grows on the edge of woods and flowers between April and June. Look for these flowers in the Foret de Braunhie.
Dark red helleborine â€“ a rare flower which comes into bloom in late June. Look for it in rocky limestone in the High Causse.
Chalk fragrant orchid â€“ a pink flower with a lovely scent, look for it in grasslands in June.
Common spotted orchid â€“ flowers well into June. This flower loves chalk grasslands so look for them in fields and meadows.
Frog orchid â€“ a rare bloom with a green-brown colour which makes it hard to spot. Look for it in open woodlands and fens throughout June and July.
Heath spotted orchid â€“ a flower found on acidic soils including peat bogs and marshy pastures which is seen in June.
Birdâ€™s nest orchid â€“ lives in leaf litter in beech woodland and comes into flower in May and June.
Youâ€™ll enjoy pleasant weather
It wonâ€™t be too hot during your visit in June. The average temperature high is 25C and a night-time low of 12C. So, riding will be warm and comfortable â€“ you wonâ€™t face searing temperatures. Plus, youâ€™ll also be able to sleep well at night.
There is also an average of eight hours of sunshine a day. The climate here in June is balmy.
Youâ€™ll see amazing butterflies and birds
The proliferation of wild flowers mean Lot has many butterfly and moth species which you could see in June. Look out for rare Swallowtails, Meadow Fritillaries, Glanville, the Adonis Blue, and the Provencal Short-tailed Blue in limestone country including the Causse. In forests, you may see the Camberwell Beauty, Lesser Purple Emperor, Cardinal, and Southern White Admiral.
The number of insect species also attracts a large number of birds â€“ perfect for any ornithologist. Look out for a hoopoe, short-toed eagle, marsh harriers, kites, buzzards, and black redstarts.
Are you ready to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of Lot in June? Click here to book your riding holiday in France.
If youâ€™re looking for a calm, willing horse which is also athletic and energetic, why not ride a Normandy Cob?
They are hardy French horses which resemble thoroughbreds with a more robust frame, and they are popular for driving and riding.
In fact, in 2011 more than 33% of the horses in the French driving championships were Normandy Cobs.
They are famed for the length of their striding trots, and their stud book records seal brown, chestnut, and bay colourings. Official records for the breed have been kept for almost 70 years – the first stud book was produced in 1950.
The breed was used by the French military to pull artillery and by the French postal service to deliver and pick up mail. The cob was also used widely in agriculture in Northern France.
It originated in Normandy as a cross between the small horses of the area, the bidets, and the Carrossier Normand, a now-extinct breed of carriage horse which was widely seen in the early 20th Century.
While other breeds were threatened by mechanisation in agriculture and other industries, Normandy Cob breeders crossed their horses with thoroughbreds and that contributed to the French national saddle horse breed, the Selle FranĂ§ais.
In the 1980s, breeders worked hard to stem the threat of inbreeding and genetic drift to ensure the Normandy Cob had a bright future. Now, they can be seen in different parts of France, especially in Calvados, Manche, and Orne.
Normandy Cobs are hugely popular for all sorts of equestrian pursuits because they are calm and have winning personalities.
What does a typical Normandy Cob look like?
These elegant horses generally stand between 15.25 hands and 16.35 hands high, and weigh between 550kg and 900kg.
There are large variations in weight and height throughout the breed, though, caused by the different uses for the horses.
Look for a square profile and a short back, a head with good proportions, a convex or straight facial profile, wide nostrils, and small ears.
Normandy Cobs have a deep chest, broad, angled shoulders, muscular, short legs, and powerful hindquarters. They have round, strong feet and shed their shaggy winter coats in Spring.
The most popular Normandy Cob colourings include bays with white markings, chestnut, and seal brown.
Meet our Normandy Cobsâ€¦
Dunka â€“ Standing at 16.3 hands high, Dunka will be five this year. She is gentle, friendly, and loves to have fun. Our visitors adore her!
Bamboo â€“ He will be four this year, and is a typical example of the calm, friendly Normandy Cob. Bamboo stands at 17 hands high, so is a large example of the breed. He is very popular with our riders.
Would you like to meet our Normandy Cobs in person? Theyâ€™re ideal horses to develop your riding skills because theyâ€™re calm and friendly. Book your French riding holiday today. You can contact us here.
Have you hankered after a week-long experience which would allow you to spend as much time as possible with horses?
If so, our intensive training week would be an ideal experience for you. Itâ€™s back by popular demand in 2018 after two courses in May and September 2017 and will help you learn about horse care, bonding with your horse, and riding skills.
For the week starting May 5, 2018, weâ€™re offering you our all-inclusive, bespoke intensive riding workshop holiday.
Alongside the long, leisurely rides for which ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re is famed, youâ€™ll receive a one-to-one training programme which we tailor specially to your individual needs.
Youâ€™ll be able to spend the entire day handling and working with horses.
This is ideal for riders who want to learn more or those who want to improve their confidence.
For some riders, a fall or a scare can knock that confidence in the saddle.
Our highly-qualified riding instructor Tanya will help you overcome your fears. She is calm, sympathetic, and has years of experience.
The intensive course will give you valuable skills including:
Groundwork â€“ the basis of riding and handling skills, with lunging, join-up, long-lining, and work on the ground.
Dressage â€“ our manege is the perfect place to learn and hone dressage skills, especially if youâ€™re interested in competitions.
Jumping â€“ always wanted to jump but have never learned how? Perhaps you need a refresher after a break of several years. Come to our intensive course where our experienced instructor will show you what you need to know.
Whatever you need, weâ€™ll tailor our course to help you. Itâ€™s all about helping you to enjoy horses and riding.
Our course is for all levels of rider, not just those who are very experienced, and you can attend whether you own your own horse or not.
Itâ€™s about developing your skills the way you want to take them. Whatever you want to do more of, weâ€™ll help you achieve that.
Weâ€™ll be offering the usual morning ride, with intensive sessions in the afternoons.
Our intensive training week always starts with Tanya discussing the groupâ€™s needs, them formulating the training.
Youâ€™ll enjoy the beautiful countryside, riding trails free of traffic, authentic local cuisine, and relaxing atmosphere, too!
Youâ€™ll meet our foals! If your loved one loves horses, theyâ€™ll love meeting and interacting with our foals.
Your horse-lover will be delighted with a special trip to such a scenic part of France. Lot has many tranquil riding routes in beautiful countryside, and you wonâ€™t have to worry about traffic in the way you do in some parts of the UK.
There is plenty to see on our doorstep â€“ from stunning walks along the river to visits to the prettiest villages in France. See our blog on some of the most beautiful villages in France here.
Youâ€™ll find some of the best cuisine in France. From mouth-watering local melons to tasty local recipes, our chĂ˘teau gives you a true taste of authentic Lot. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy it â€“ we cook and prepare all your meals. Find out more about the cuisine here.
Weâ€™re English-speaking owners who are fluent in French. Weâ€™re here to help you have the smoothest trip possible and our language skills could prove useful.
You can book your surprise present online â€“ thereâ€™s no need to fight through the crowds to look for something special. Thatâ€™s a huge bonus when weâ€™re all so busy.
Enjoy relaxation and a little luxury
Visiting our chĂ˘teau is like stepping back in time.
It has the original central stone staircase and several wonderful examples of 16th Century fireplaces.
Set within a hundred acres of land, the chĂ˘teau has breath-taking views, a swimming pool, a manege, and a cross-country course.
The stable block is also conveniently close to the house.
A riding holiday in ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re gives you relaxation, good food, and luxurious accommodation.
Ready to book your 2018 break? If you book before the end of December, weâ€™ll fix it at this yearâ€™s price. You can check out our prices here.
France is famed for its delicious dishes and succulent ingredients â€“ and the huge diversity of its regional cuisine.
Visitors to the ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re will be able to sample the authentic taste of the Lot during their stay. Here are a few of the dishes and ingredients which will tempt your taste buds:
This is a dish typical of the Occitane region, which originated as food for pilgrims making their way to Santiago de Compostella in Galicia.
Itâ€™s a fondue-like combination of mashed potatoes and cheese made with butter, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, and cream. It has a smooth and elastic texture.
It is often made with Tomme de Laguiole or Tomme dâ€™Auvergne cheese, though mozzarella and cantal can be substituted for them, and it is a dish beloved of local people in the area. Often, it is served with roast pork or Toulouse sausages and Auvergne red wine, and is a favourite at village celebrations and in street markets.
The dish originally included bread instead of potatoes, before the vegetable was introduced into France.
Most French regions have their own speciality summer salad â€“ such as salad Nicoise on the Riviera.
The Quercy is the ancient province which combines the Lot, part of the Tarn, and part of the Garonne.
In the Lot area, you will find the delicious speciality salad is Quercynoise, with locally-grown walnuts as the essential element of this dish.
It is often served as an hors dâ€™oeuvre with winter meals as well as a light lunch or side salad in summer.
Our version of the salad consists of lettuce with a vinaigrette dressing, jambon du pays (traditionally-cured ham), sliced smoked magret de canard (duck breast), lardons, gesiers (gizzards), walnuts, hard-boiled egg, and tomatoes.Â With the addition of a slice of foie gras on toast, it becomes a Gourmand Quercynoise.
Quercyâ€™s clay and limestone soil and warm climate is perfect for growing mouth-watering melons.
The clay helps the melons retain water and feeds them vital nutrients. They are often grown by small, family farms and they are a key part of the local economy.
They have banded together to form the Interprofessional Syndicate of Melon du Quercy, allowing the area to gain official recognition for the quality of its melonsas a Protected Geographical Indication.
Every fruit is identified by the Melon du Quercy sticker, and its orange-coloured flesh shows it is high in vitamin A. It is also a good source of vitamins B and C.
France is famed for its duck dishes. They include magret de canard (or duck breast) and cuisse de canard or confit de canard (a duck leg cooked slowly and preserved in duck fat).
Foie gras is also a sought-after addition to several French dishes.
Often, duck gizzards cooked in duck fat (a confit) are added to salads.
During the summer, highly-prized white truffles are sold in the markets of the Lot region. They are often served grated in omelettes or with foie gras.
Time to plan your next riding holiday in France?
Take a look at our prices and our availability here.
Whether youâ€™re walking or on horseback, Lot is a wonderful place to see wildlife during your French riding holiday.
You could see all sorts of animals – from mammals and birds to insects and lizards.
The area has excellent natural habitats including woodlands, grasslands, and small areas along the River Lot where people once washed their clothes. They have now become mini wildlife sanctuaries, attracting all sorts of animals.
Here is some of the wonderful wildlife you could see during your stay:
Roe deer, known as Chevreuil in France, are a wonderful sight for our visitors. At certain times of the year, you will see them grazing in the fields.
You may be fortunate enough to spot a loirs, a large dormouse also known as the glis glis. Although their population is spread across rural France, they are not common.
The rare putois, a polecat, lives off frogs and small mammals and has been found across France. You may be lucky enough to come across this nocturnal relative of the ferret and otter.
Wild boar have been spotted across France. It is estimated there are two million of them in the country, and they tend to congregate in areas where agricultural land meets woodland.
Pine martens, known as martres in French, live in woodland across the French countryside, and you may well see red squirrels – now a rare sight in most of the UK.
There is a wealth of insect life including the praying mantis, green scarab beetles, Be crickets or cri-cri in French, grasshoppers, bees, wasps, and moths and butterflies such as swallowtails and hawk moths – especially the humming bird hawk moth.
You may well see some lizards. Small brown lizards are relatively common, skittering around in the undergrowth. Although salamanders are rare, you may spot them. Treat them with respect â€“ they are a protected species.
The bird life of Lot is rich. Youâ€™ll probably hear owls, including the Scops owl, cuckoos, and nightingales during your stay. You may spot marsh harriers, black redstarts, buzzards, or kites, and some visitors have reported seeing short-toed eagles flying above the limestone cliffs near Rocamadour. Many are keen to see a hoopoe, a small bird with an exotic look which is the size of a mistle thrush. Itâ€™s distinctive pink-brown body and crest, black and white wings, and black, downcurved bill make it simple to spot. These are rarely seen outside the very south of the UK, but are far more common in France.
Is it time to book your next riding holiday in France?
If you book next yearâ€™s stay before the end of December, we will fix it at this yearâ€™s price.
Do you ride regularly but not actually own your own horse? Â Is it your dream or are you just curious as to what’s involved? Â Well for week commencing Saturday 27 May you can make that dream come true for a week. Â Take this opportunity to experience horse ownership in the most ideal surroundings with the reassurance that there is a knowledgeable team on hand to help if needed. Own a horse week enables you to to be as hands on with your four legged friend as you wish to find out what it’s really like to have a horse of your own. Â
Training Week – 16 September
Last year’s training week was a real success and we were asked to think about another one this year. Â Well we did and scheduled it in for the beginning of May – it was full almost as soon as we advertised it and there has been interest shown in another one being added. Â We have looked at the diary and can now say that we will offer this for week beginning Saturday 16 September. Â If you’re interested do get in touch asap.
Some people mentioned that they were a little worried by the phrase ‘Intensive Training’ as they thought it meant it was only for very experienced riders so let me put your mind at rest over this because that really isn’t the case at all. Â It’s more of a usual week with the opportunity to do extra training – riding, horse care, bonding with your horse or whatever you have problems with or want to do more of. Â It’s for riders of all levels – horse owners or not – and as with all of our rides it’s tailored to you. Â There is the usual morning ride then as an addition in the afternoons Tanya can help you to work on any issues that you would like help with. Â She will talk everything over with the whole group at the beginning of the week and work out a program that fits and can be worked on through the week. Â
Just to bring you up to date, we’ve been busy around the country adding new members to the team for this year. Â Here goes –
Some of you will already have met our first arrival who came in September last yearÂ but for those of you who came earlier in the year meet Atila taking his first look around at his new home as he came out of the box
He travelled well and was very calm after his journey of around three hours. Â Off to his paddock for a rest and then hopefully ready for a light workout in the school tomorrow.
He took it all in his stride and he and Tanya got on very well together
What a star and Tanya’s face says ‘I just love this guy!’
He’s gone on from here and they have competed very successfully in several dressage competitions through the winter season. Â He’s up and going and ready to accompany rides this summer.
Our second new arrival came just before Christmas. Â Tanya and Chris set off at 5.00am with the trailer for what ended up as a 15hr trip to see a very big boy to join the team, namely a Normandy Cob. Â During this epic journey they passed through the volcanic mountains of the Massif Central and here is one of the shots that Tanya took from the motorway
When they finally got home it was too dark for photos so here he is saying good morning to Atila over the fence this morning – Tonnerre.
It’s quite amazing what a big horse can do – here’s Chris mounted for the first time in ages and out enjoying time with Tonnerre after only a few days of getting to know him. Â He’s settled in really well and is now waiting to meet you all soon.
For number three we all set off for the day on a trip to look at several horses that we had seen. Â Sun was shining and a lovely lunch followed by finally seeing a really beautiful girl. Â Having ridden her and talkedÂ over Tanya and Chris set off next day yet again with trailer and when they got back Ursala had arrived.
Out of the trailer and looking around
Starting to fit in with the team working with Chloe
These new guys are now getting along very well with the existing team and as usual everyone is looking forward to seeing you all very soon
If you have read this blog before, you will know that there’s no place quite like our little corner of southwest France for a riding holiday. We have everything here. The glorious weather. The stunning scenery. The mile-after-mile of traffic-free trails. And, of course, the wonderful surroundings of ChĂ˘teau de LaumiĂ¨re.
But maybe you are looking for a more intensive riding experience. Not just a morning’s ride followed by a relaxing afternoon by the pool, but the chance to spend the entire day working with and handling the horses.
For one week at the end of May we’re offering an all-inclusive intensive riding workshop holiday. Here, as well as taking part in those long and leisurely daily hacks about which we have waxed lyrical before, you can enjoy a one-on-one training programme that is specially tailored to your needs.
Maybe you have had a fall, or a scare, that has hit your confidence in the saddle. No problem – you’re not alone. Tanya, who also plans all our hacks, is a highly qualified riding instructor with many years’ experience. She knows how to deal with matters such as this and can work through any confidence issues you may have calmly and sympathetically.
Alternatively, you may feel that you lack experience handling horses. Groundwork is a fundamental skill â€“ join-up, lunging, long-lining and work on the ground can bring enormous benefits to your confidence and riding. Our immersion course can help.
Or perhaps you want to work on your dressage or jumping skills. Whatever area you feel you need a little help or refresher with, we can help. That’s what our intensive all-inclusive Workshop Week, which runs from Saturday May 28 to Saturday June 4 is all about. Helping you improve your skills and confidence so that you can enjoy your riding even more.