The historic town of Saumur is located between the Loire and Thouet rivers. This stunning landscape is surrounded by the vineyards of Saumur itself, Chinon, Bourgueil, Coteaux du Layon are to name just a few which produce some of France's finest wines. Such was the success of this wine production and appreciation over the decades, that wealth poured from all over France and the elegant Chateau de Saumur changed hands between kings on many occasions.
But not least of Saumur’s appeal is the long established and world renowned National School of Equitation which is prided for the quality and high standards of the horses. This prestigious academy has been passing on knowledge through its elite masters of riding for centuries, and it is this that you will be able to experience first hand. The Cadre Noir, currently numbering around forty three expert men and women, are the tutors who have dedicated their careers to horses, and mastering the art of riding, and their skill is world renowned.
Arrive into your prefered regional airport, Nantes or Poitiers both within an hour and a half drive of Saumur. You can also fly with Ryan Air into Tours which is only a 45 minute transfer to Saumur. Alternatively you can fly into Paris and travel an hour by train on the TGV to Angers, then its just one easy change for Saumur. Once you arrive settle into your chosen accommodation. You can choose between a beautiful 4 bedroom bed and breakfast hotel, an ideal option for couples and singles alike. Alternatively we have a larger hotel with a pool, great for families. There is also Chateau accommodation for those special occasions or a choice of traditional self catering Gites for longer stays.
The Loire Valley is the newest destination for Equestrian Escapes and one of the most stunning. Amongst the most important monuments of Saumur are the great Château de Saumur itself which stands high above the town, and the nearby Château de Beaulieu which stands just 200 metres from the south bank of the Loire river and which was designed by the architect Jean Drapeau.
After a good breakfast, begin your day with a trip to the National Riding School. The Cadre Noir is open all year round to the public and here you will witness the trainers riding and working with these marvellous horses. Their vast knowledge and carefully refined skills are world class. Afterwards you will have a guided tour of the excellent facilities which have long provided an integral base to these equestrian connoisseurs. This tour will also delve into the rich history belonging to both the Cadre Noir and their headquarters. The Cadre Noir also perform a spectacular show several times a month; these demonstrations include the famous aerial jumps, piaffe, passage and pirouettes. If you are lucky enough to be staying over this period then we can arrange for you to see this performance.
This afternoon enjoy the stunning local scenery from where other than on horseback! You will be taken on a two hour ride (or longer if you choose) with a knowledgeable guide and rider who will take you along the forest tracks and paths that introduce you to this region. For less experienced riders you can choose to have a lesson first then a one hour hack along the same route or for riders wanting to hone their dressage skills higher level classes are offered.
After breakfast this morning you will have the chance to enjoy more riding through the Loire Valley where the castle stands proud with the beautiful scenic backdrop of the Loire river. You will be taken on a three hour ride today, a picnic can be included which will be served in a shady spot to enable both horse and rider to enjoy a short rest! Today you will also be visiting the Castle in Saumur which commands stunning views from its hill top perch.
For non riders Saumur offers a host of alternative activities; a boat ride along the river Loire, cycling, visiting wineries for tastings, a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride, hot air balloon rides, golfing or you can tour the other exquisite castles of the area. The choice is totally yours!
Today is your final day in the Loire Valley and you will be experiencing a three hour hack which will take you into the heart of this magnificent countryside. You will ride through the forests and vineyards capturing the very essence that has made this region so popular with visitors. The stables have a great variety of horses suitable for all ages, experiences and size, including Selle Francais, irish cob type ponies and ocassionally Thoroughbreds. Why not eat out in town tonight and enjoy fine wine of the local area as your holiday closes slowly to an end, but not to worry, there is always next year.....
After a wonderful trip, you will no doubt be ready to head home, but the memories of Saumur will stay with you forever. Bon voyage!
On this horse riding holiday you will be enjoying great riding through the forest paths and vineyards of the surrounding area amongst numerous species of wildlife. This riding holiday is suitable for beginners to intermediate/experienced riders who want to enjoy a cultural and unique horse riding experience.
The instructor that we use is trained by the Cadre Noir of Saumur and is a qualified teacher. All lessons given at the riding school will be tailor made to suit the experience of the individual. Whatever level of skills you are you will benefit from the wide knowledge on offer. Whether its to improve your basic work method to school your horse, or to learn high school movements - your lessons will be tailored to your specific requirements. Transfers from the accommodation can be arranged these are paid for locally and are approx £15 return.
We use several different types of horse at our stables suitable for all ages, experiences and size. These include including Selle Francais, irish cob type ponies and ocassionally Thoroughbreds.