Horseriding holidays in France
Horseriding may seem like just another means of transport to the uninitiated (and a slow one, compared to other modern modes) but it’s far more than that. At its best, it’s a partnership between rider and horse that’s difficult to put into words. There can be few ways of travelling that put you so in touch with both nature and hundreds of years of culture and tradition.
It’s a superb form of exercise for both body and mind – and a wonderful way to relieve stress. It taxes both your balance and coordination, and sitting in the saddle all day will really work those abdominals!
Equestrian culture in France
France has a long and proud horseriding tradition (just think of all the equestrian terms you may know and the chances are they’re French – ‘dressage’ for example). The 17th and 18th centuries in France are known as the Golden Age of Equitation, with horseriding developing as part of aristocratic culture.
France still bears the legacy of this, with a multitude of trail rides and bridleways (known as randonnées) criss-crossing the country. The trails in France tend not to be on modern roads and take you from cobbled village to mighty châteaux, via beautiful, unspoilt countryside. You’ll feel like a knight of old!
Siblu have three main horseriding campsites in France: La Pignade, Les Charmettes and Domaine de Dugny.
Horseriding in the Marennes Estuary
Le Pignade is situated in Charente-Maritime, within a pine forest beside the beautiful Marennes Estuary. It has its own on-site horseriding centre, l’Etrier Ronçois (Le Palomino), where you can ride both horses and ponies. The forests don’t just offer wonderful horseriding routes – the ponies at La Pignade live in an area set aside for the park. Visitors can explore the forest on foot and say hello!
The centre offers lessons for beginners and advanced riders, and for very young children there are pony walks. Our half-day or full-day training courses that teach both riding and horse care give a good introduction to looking after horses and are a great experience for a family holiday in France.
Horseriding in Charente Maritime
Les Charmettes can also be found in the Charente-Maritime region. It is one of Siblu’s largest holiday parks, with an enormous pool complex. Unlike La Pignade, it doesn’t have an on-site centre but has a partnership with a local horseriding school just a short stroll from the holiday village.
Finally, there is Domaine de Dugny, our holiday village in the heart of the Loire Valley World Heritage site. The River Loire snakes its way through the valley, its banks dotted with magnificent châteaux such as Chambord, Chaumont-sur-Loire and Chenonceau. What could be better than slowly riding along with this kind of scenery on offer?
Les Ecuries Florent Viet is a renowned local equestrian centre and a partner of Siblu. Set just beside the ancient town of Blois, the centre hires horses and offers lessons for riders of all abilities, from absolute beginners through to budding showjumpers. And for the smallest riders Domaine de Dugny operates pony rides every Monday.