Well the answer to that is simple – because we can offer you the very best of all worlds in a riding holiday:
1. Amazing horses for all abilities and every one of them just waiting to form a partnership with you to explore the fantastic country side around here on a different route each morning.Â Tanya and Chris have travelled all over France to find just the right characters to add to our herd in addition to our own homebred youngsters who have been slowly brought on until ready to join the teamÂ They are all well schooled, alert and loving life as much loved members of our family.Â This year we hope to have two of our home bred youngsters joining the team –Â Echo and Dream – in addition to out thoroughbred mare City and an additional Merens called Valkyrie aka Vallou.
2. Rides each morning are for around 3 hours in a world almost forgotten by time.Â You will ride along our many miles of chemin rurale without touching a main road through some stunning countryside offering a wealth of nature at different times of the year – fields overflowing with wild orchids, narcissi and a myriad of other wild flowers.Â Along shady woodland tracks, through open countryside and meander through tiny hamlets where you may see the odd tractor driven by a local farmer who will always offer a friendly greeting.
3. Beautiful and comfortable accommodation in a 16th century chÃ¢teau situated in around 150 acres of land used solely for grazing our horses and making fantastic hay.Â We have 2 double rooms, one twin and one which can be either double or twin with a super kingsize bed which splits into two when required.Â All rooms are en suite and have a view over either the paddocks around the house or directly onto the garden.Â There are several shady places to relax in the garden as well as the pool (with pool towels provided) which is in a very secluded area and open from May to September.Â Next to the pool is a stone bread oven which houses a supply of cold drinks to keep you refreshed whilst relaxing.Â TheÂ vaulted dining room on the ground floor has an original stone fireplace and metre thick walls which make it a cool refreshing room at all times.Â On the first floor is an extremely comfortable salon with another original stone fireplaceÂ where everyone meets for a glass of wine and to chat over their day before dinner.Â You are of course welcome to useÂ this room at any time throughout your stay.
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5. If you are not a rider, and quite a number of our guests aren’t, our area has many interesting villages/natural attractions within around half an hour’s drive that it would be easy to fill your time visiting.Â Walking, fishing and cycling are also popular pastimes.Â Alternatively,why not just switch off and relax by the pool or in a shady part of the gardenÂ and unwind with a book or not, the choice is entirely yours,in our incredibly peacefulÂ setting .
6. Lastly, as if the above reasons are not enough, with all of the ups and downs in the markets at present which may be causing concern over exchange rates, if you are coming from a sterling area you can pay us directly in GBP and once here, unless you decide to travel around the area, you will not need another penny.Â Â How does that sound?Â We look forward to hearing from you/ seeing youÂ soon.
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 ChÃ¢teau de LaumiÃ¨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!
France is famed for its delicious dishes and succulent ingredients â€“ and the huge diversity of its regional cuisine.
Visitors to the ChÃ¢teau de LaumiÃ¨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.
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 â€˜paintâ€™ 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.
Itâ€™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.
Youâ€™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
Youâ€™ll see more of Franceâ€™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.
Youâ€™ll also discover a 60m high stalactite hanging â€˜by a stringâ€™, and walk to find the most impressive cave ceiling in France in the Salle du Grand DÃ´me.
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 dâ€™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 siteâ€™s fossils have provided a rich insight into the areaâ€™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 caducothÃ¨re, which resembled a rhinoceros.
Visitors are encouraged to take a 50-minute tour of the site.
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.
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.
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.
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.Â 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 Â NowÂ there will be a ride with lunch when you return as all other days. There will not, however, be dinner Â ButÂ 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:
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. Â Both road and off road
Canoeing - several rivers not too far away with companies supplying this. Full day, half day and shorter runs available
Fishing – for any Â keen fishermen who would ratherÂ 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
aÂ temporary Â 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.
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 hearted
Saint Cirque Lapopie is a beautiful 12th century village just about 20 minutes drive. Â 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. Â 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
Itâ€™s important to know what you need to pack to get the most a horse-riding holiday at ChÃ¢teau de LaumiÃ¨re – especially if you havenâ€™t been riding for a while, or if youâ€™re planning your first equestrian break.
Hereâ€™s our checklist of what youâ€™ll need to pack to get the most out of a riding holiday here.
Hat: A riding hat that conforms to current British Safety Standards is vital – thatâ€™s why we ask you to bring your own. We insist that hats are worn all the time youâ€™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: Thereâ€™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 youâ€™ll soon know about it after a morningâ€™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 youâ€™re not riding, youâ€™ll soon discover that our beautiful corner of France is a pretty relaxed place.
We make no demands on what you wear at breakfast, lunch or dinner at the ChÃ¢teau – and, unless youâ€™re planning a particularly expensive night out, thereâ€™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.
Youâ€™re guaranteed the warmest of welcomes and the finest food at the beautiful ChÃ¢teau de LaumiÃ¨re. We supply English tack, and our horses are all well schooled and highly adaptable.
Meanwhile, weâ€™ve left it to the Lot department to provide a gorgeous backdrop. We think it’s done a remarkable job.
The charming, rolling surroundings are perfect for just about every level of rider to explore. The only thing we ask is that youâ€™re confident on a horse at all three paces – walking, trotting and cantering.
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 chÃ¢teau or grand manor house, a centuries-old Priory or picturesque farmland that just goes on and on until it meets the sky.
What if youâ€™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… trousersâ€¦ you
Thatâ€™s just about everything you need to enjoy a perfect equestrian holiday at ChÃ¢teau de LaumiÃ¨re.
Weâ€™ll send you a little reminder of what you need to bring with confirmation of your booking, but this will get you started.