For those who simply like to ride for pleasure, you can hire a horse from one of our local riding centres – there are over 300 riding centres in Normandy to choose from!
Book an hour’s instruction or a half day’s trekking and set off on a guided balade équestre to amble along bridleways, river valleys and quiet lanes and trot through forest tracks or canter along the beaches. All levels of ability are catered for at most of the riding centres in the region.
Some of our local centres, all within a half hour drive, are: La Ferme de Mesnil at La Pommeraye 14690, La Rotourelle at Ste Croix sur Orne 61210, Les Ecuries de la Cour du Bois at Vrigny, 61570 and the Haras de Sainte Eugenie at Aubry en Exmes, 61160.
For western riding enthusiasts– lessons and trekking- there is Reinhill Ranch at La Heroudière (36km, 38mins).
And for those who fancy Percherons – the iconic Norman breed of heavy horses –it’s fun to head off down to the Perche Region near Bellême (93km, 57 miles 1hr 20)and ride one of these magnificent creatures around the 15th century manors, mills and rustic villages that make up the percheronne countryside. Or you might choose to be driven in a carriage by one or two of them, who despite their size can get up to a spanking pace!
Two more ideas for horse lovers are visits to both the Haras d’Ecajeul and the Haras du Pin.
The owners of the Haras d’Ecajeul (43km, 41 minutes) are the only thoroughbred trainers in the Calvados to open their yard to the public and give guided tours, finishing with home-made cake and tea. They also run guided tours of the race course and sales arenas at Deauville and offer hacks through the Calvados countryside.
The Haras du Pin (30kms, 34minutes) is an impressive chateau and stable complex built on the orders of Louis XIV in 1715 and described as the ‘Versailles for Horses’. It is the top national Stud in France and the best time to visit is on Tuesday or Thursday afternoons in the summer when there is a parade to music of their pampered stallions, carriage driving and demonstrations of equestrian disciplines.