Saturday, September 4, 2010

Riding the French Alps

Saturday September 4 2010

"Fancy a ride this morning?" Nicky asked.

Of course!

We loaded the trailer with 'Dougal' (nicknamed after a character in "The Magic Roundabout" British cartoon) and 'Shirley Bossy' (nicknamed after Shirley Bassey, Welsh singer - this mare is from Wales), and off we drove to the Alps - the Alpes Mancelles.

These 'alps' are in Normandy, in northwest France - part of the Armorican Massif, an ancient mountain range in western Europe. These mountains, however, unlike the 'real' French Alps in the southeast of France, are quite modest in altitude - the highest peak is about 200 meters. Right-of-way Bridleways run through the area, in the forest, along roads, through the villages, accessible to hikers, bikers and horse riders. We could have gone 50 miles on one of the trails - and not seen a single person, Nicky says.

Our highest climb was maybe a hundred meters, through the forest to a hidden spring, and up onto a ridge, down through the village of Leonards des Bois, across the river on a bridge, and up onto the other ridge overlooking the village. We finished up our loop crossing a gently flowing creek.

I'd have to say everything was just about perfect - the weather, the company, the location, the horse.

I may, in fact, ride Dougal in a French endurance ride next weekend! (Though, because of French rules, it can only be a 20 km ride...)


  1. Como te diviertes con estos paseos a caballo, por esos campos tan bonitos.
    Saludos de Gabriel.

  2. Oh, it does look wonderful. How great that you might be competing while you are there.

    Gorgeous countryside and super horses. Wow! This trip gets better and better.

  3. How absolutley lovely that looks. I'm terribly envious!

  4. Wow, what amazing fun - I'm terribly envious!

  5. Everything is so beautiful. What a wonderful trip you are having and how exciting to be able to compete there.

  6. What are the French Rules and why can you only ride 20km?

    Loved all the photos and beautiful scenery. Thanks for sharing your experiences. What a thrill of a lifetime!


  7. Thank you for sharing this amazing trip. How wonderful that so many things you love are all happening at once.

  8. One of these days, Nicky. When are you floating south, Merri? We aren't far.

  9. What a great way to take a tour through NW France. Infinitely better than a tourist tourbus.