France, Aquitaine - Silver Coast Trail Ride
The Silver Coast Trail Ride begins with a long test ride to make sure you are confortable with your horse. There then follows a five-day trail ride of up to 45 km (25 miles) and 5-6 hours in the saddle each day, so it is important that you are in good shape. This is a fast-paced trail ride where the horses are left in pastures along the road overnight while you are driven "home" to the guest house each evening, except one night when you sleep in a manor house. The soft sandy roads in the woods invite you to gallop, but you will also face tougher and more challenging terrain, not to forget the wide flat beaches. The canters, gallops in the forest or on the beach are individually done by the riders, starting one by one, or two by two, and very rarely in group.The ride ends in the best possible way, with a half-day on the spectacular beach. Wow!
During 5 weeks in July and August, depending on climatic conditions, you spend 1 night in bivouac.
The bivouac is organised in very nice surroundings, beside a wonderful river with very clear water where it is possible to swim. It is a wild campsite in the middle of the nature with the horses staying at the opposite side of the river. You spend the evening around a campfire, eating barbecue accompanied with local made Sangria. The riding center provides tents with comfortable mattresses, sheets to cover mattresses and pillows. There is a shelter with tables and chairs for dinner and breakfast. If the weather is not good or if some riders prefer to stay at the Guest house, we may cancel the Campsite night and bring the riders back to the Equestrian Guest house.
We recommend our guests to bring their own sleeping bag for the bivouac. We provide sheets and blankets if some riders are missing them.
Day 1 Sunday: Pick up time at 16h00 at Bordeaux airport and 17h00 at Bordeaux railway station. Arrival to the accommodation, a charming gite/guest house at the equestrian center at around 19h00, for all riders coming with or without the transfer. Departure for the dinner at the restaurant at 20h30. Dinner at 21h00.
Day 2 Monday: Mimizan - Bias. 20 km / 3 hours on horse. Breakfast from 09:am to 10 o’clock. Then you are dropped to Mimizan Beach at 10h30, to visit and walk through the village and on the beach, to make shopping and take the Lunch in the restaurant of your choice (not included). Pick up time at 13h30 in front of the Tourism office and way back to the Guest House. Meeting at the stable at 14h00 for a briefing about the horses, the equipment and the itinerary. At 16h00 the ride starts in the arena during 30 minutes, enables the riders to get used to their horses and discover the French way to ride them. It also gives the opportunity to control the different levels and expectations of each rider, putting them on the horses that suit them best over the 6 following days. Then it’s time to discover carefully the different paces, walking and trotting, one by one with hacking out. We are not riding nose to tail during that week, giving the opportunity to each rider to keep control of his own horse at the different paces. 19h00 Transfer back to the Guest House and its swimming pool by minibus (8 minutes) for some relaxing time before departure for dinner at a restaurant.
Day 3 Tuesday - Bias - Contis - St Julien. 30 km / 5 hours on horse : Program of the day : 5 hours to discover original forest - littoral coast landscape with high sandy dune (up to 150 meters over the sea level) and first beach ride either in the morning or in the evening, according to the tide of the ocean. 19h00 Transfer back to the Guest House and its swimming pool by minibus (8 minutes) for some relaxing time before departure for dinner at a restaurant.
Day 4 Wednesday - St Julien - Mezos - Levignacq - Lesperon. 35 km / 5 hours on horse : Programme : the landscape and the nature are changing every day, offering all the various views of “The Landes”. Wild nature and wonderful ground for galloping. During the 2 next days, we'll spend as much time with walking than with trotting, cantering or galloping. Visit of the most beautiful village of Landes “ Lévignacq “. Afternoon adventure trip in the wild along a clear and fresh river. Arrival at “Moulin de Caremonge”, wonderful and unexpected place, where we’ll leave the horses in their field beside a lake for the night. Relaxing evening time in the garden or beside the swimming pool, dinner and night at Manor House.
Day 5 Thursday - Lesperon - Uza - Bias. 30 km / 4,5 hours on horse: Programme: wild nature and wonderful ground for galloping. Bird reserve crossing and Uza village belonging to mister le Comte de Lur Saluces, owner of the famous Château Ychem Sauternes Vignard . Lunch time at Uza Lake in a typical restaurant and Landes speciality. Various landscapes and ride along river in the original forest during the afternoon. 19h00 Transfer back by minibus (10 minutes) to the Equestrian Guest House and its swimming pool. Then departure for dinner at restaurant.
Day 6. Friday - Bias - Lespecier - ocean. 19 km / half day ride (4 hours on a horse). Programme : half day rest and half day ride in the morning or in the evening depending on the low tide. National littoral Forest crossing and access to the beach – 2 hours on the beach. This half-day trail gives riders the opportunity to enjoy the Atlantic Ocean and have some more exciting gallops along the beach. The other half-day gives riders time to relax beside the swimming pool at the Guest House. If the weather is fine, from June to the end of September, our riders have the opportunity to play and swim in the ocean with or without their horses.
Day 7. Saturday - Mimizan Village - Aureilhan Lake - Mimizan Beach 30 km / 5 hours on a horse. Programme: Full day ride - Ride in the forest and along Aureilhan lake (protected area) – Ride along the river to Mimizan Beach. Forest and beach ride with the sunset.
According to the tide schedules, this program can be reversed.
Day 8. Sunday. Breakfast and departure.
Note. During rides, it is not always possible to gallop on the beach because of the high tide. While it's fine to gallop on the hard sand, it is not possible to gallop in the seawater when the wet sand may get in the girth straps and hurt the horses. Therefore, the intention is, on the half-day ride on Day 6, to offer riders the perfect beach riding opportunity, at the right time, to ensure that no one misses out on the wonderful beach experience. The beach is 200 meters (220 yds) wide and fairly empty, so riders can gallop in seawater without restrictions. During the hot summer months, there is sometimes the opportunity to swim in the ocean with the horses, as well.