Tag Archives: Horse riding holidays in France

Visit prehistoric wonders during your horse riding holiday in France

CAVEPAINTINGHANDCDLA painting of an ancient hand in the caves at Pech Merle.

Have you ever wanted to walk in the footsteps of our prehistoric ancestors?

During your holiday in the Lot department, you can do just that – and you can see paintings they created between 16,000 and 25,000 BC.

Take a trip to one of the most awe-inspiring attractions near Château de Laumière, the Pech Merle caves.

The site is one of the few in France with prehistoric cave paintings which remain open to the public.

The cave system extends over 1.5km from the entrance, down into an area where a river once carved deep channels and where prehistoric people lived.

The cave entrance had been covered by a landslip until the 20th Century, giving the system an airtight seal.

Then, two teenage boys discovered the paintings in the deeper areas of the caves in 1922.

Henri and Andre David Dutetre had spent two years exploring the cave system, encouraged by local curate and amateur archaeologist Father Amédée Lemozi.

The caves opened to the public in 1926 and were classed as a historic monument in 1952.

In the seven chambers of the cave system, the walls show hundreds of breath-taking paintings of reindeer, woolly mammoths, bison, horses, and humans.

Some of the most touching images are those created when our prehistoric ancestors blew ‘paint’ over their hands using a delicate spitting technique, creating outlines on the wall which we see to this day.

Fossilised footprints of children, who once ran through the then clay floors, have been discovered more than a half a mile underground.

It’s believed the cave system was used for shelter during the Ice Age.

The area would have had a climate similar to that of the Arctic now, and its animal species were very different to those found in modern-day France.

The geology of the caves is also fascinating.

Visitors can see how they were formed and eroded by water over many thousands of years.

You’ll also marvel at the stalactites and calcite pearls in this amazing cave complex.

The number visiting the system is capped to ensure there is as little erosion as possible and that changes in gases underground caused by people breathing out carbon dioxide do not harm the beautiful cave paintings.

Visitors are advised to wear appropriate clothing and shoes for the conditions underground. The temperature is 12 degrees Celsius. There is also a discovery centre at the site. Find out more here.

 

Visit spectacular caves and drift along on an underground river

You’ll see more of France’s geological heritage at the Gouffre de Padirac, considered the most spectacular cave system in France.

There, a steep descent takes you 103m below ground to a boat trip on a turquoise underground river with spectacular views.

You’ll also discover a 60m high stalactite hanging ‘by a string’, and walk to find the most impressive cave ceiling in France in the Salle du Grand Dôme.

The awe-inspiring ceiling is 94m high.

Visitors are advised to book tickets in advance because it can become very busy and to be prepared for stairs and lifts. Discover more here.

 

Step into a lost world in an old mine

A former phosphorous mine is another underground wonder in Lot.

The Phosphatiere du Cloup d’Aural, Bach, has been colonised by some surprising vegetation since the miners left the site in the 19th Century.

There are giant ferns and up to 13 different orchid species. It feels like walking through lush jungle.

The site’s fossils have provided a rich insight into the area’s prehistoric past.

Researchers have found more than 500 animal fossils dating back up to 34 million years. Visitors will learn about the prehistoric mammal the caducothère, which resembled a rhinoceros.

Visitors are encouraged to take a 50-minute tour of the site.

Find out more here.

 

Is it time for your next riding holiday in the South of France? Contact us today about availability http://www.chateau-de-laumiere.com/enquire.php. There’s so much to see and do on your trip.

 

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.

25 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 – why not try a join up

 

 

Changes to the weekly programme – whereas 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 – for 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

Château de Laumière’s horse-riding holiday checklist

6(1)It’s important to know what you need to pack to get the most a horse-riding holiday at Château de Laumière – especially if you haven’t been riding for a while, or if you’re planning your first equestrian break.

Here’s our checklist of what you’ll need to pack to get the most out of a riding holiday here.

Clothing

Hat: A riding hat that conforms to current British Safety Standards is vital – that’s why we ask you to bring your own. We insist that hats are worn all the time you’re on a horse, so you need to be totally comfortable and safe with the one you’re wearing. It’s best to bring one you know fits properly.

Boots: You should bring your own pair of long or short riding boots. Many riders who come here on holiday wear them on the plane – which seems very sensible, and saves vital space (not to mention, weight) in their case.

Trainers are not allowed. They are flat-soled and can slip through the stirrups.

Trousers: There’s a reason jodhpurs are the most comfortable trousers to wear on horseback, but any trousers that you find comfortable to ride in are fine.

Some people like to ride in jeans, but those side seams can rub – and you’ll soon know about it after a morning’s hack.

Shorts are, unfortunately, unsuitable for riding.

Shirts: Sensible tops are a must. Summers can – and do – get hot in Lot, so a shirt that covers and protects your shoulders is a good idea – short-sleeved cotton tops or polo shirts are ideal. They also provide a little extra protection from any low-hanging branches on the trails.

Creams: Speaking of the sun, we also recommend you bring some high-protection sun cream – and some insect repellent, too.

In case it rains: You will need a shower-proof jacket. Even in southern France, it does sometimes rain. Sorry. There’s nothing we can do about it.

Gloves / body protectors: If you usually wear riding gloves and / or a body protector, please do bring them along.

Non-riding style: When you’re not riding, you’ll soon discover that our beautiful corner of France is a pretty relaxed place.

6We make no demands on what you wear at breakfast, lunch or dinner at the Château – and, unless you’re planning a particularly expensive night out, there’s no need to bring that fancy little black number. Jeans, casual trousers, T-shirts, comfortable summer dresses are welcome almost everywhere.

Do I need anything else?

You can pretty much leave the rest to us.

You’re guaranteed the warmest of welcomes and the finest food at the beautiful Château de Laumière. We supply English tack, and our horses are all well schooled and highly adaptable.

Meanwhile, we’ve left it to the Lot department to provide a gorgeous backdrop. We think it’s done a remarkable job.

banacThe charming, rolling surroundings are perfect for just about every level of rider to explore. The only thing we ask is that you’re confident on a horse at all three paces – walking, trotting and cantering.

Hackers’ delight

The Lot department is picture-book France.

Riders can enjoy unspoiled, wooded countryside that boasts an abundance of wildlife – such as deer, wild boar, red squirrels, hares, buzzards and kites – dotted with enchanting villages.

As you round a gentle bend on one of the tree-lined chemins rurales that criss-cross the area, you may discover a splendid château or grand manor house, a centuries-old Priory or picturesque farmland that just goes on and on until it meets the sky.

Beginners’ luck

What if you’re a horse-riding novice, or need to regain a little confidence after a year or 10 out of the saddle?

No problem. We keep afternoons free, and you can easily arrange a riding lesson or two. They will offer non-riders a hint of what all the fuss is about, and help old riders remember all those skills they thought they had forgotten.

Hat… boots… shirt… trousers… you

That’s just about everything you need to enjoy a perfect equestrian holiday at Château de Laumière.

We’ll send you a little reminder of what you need to bring with confirmation of your booking, but this will get you started.