As featured in Country
Life

Hunting

Our hunting holidays are centred in and around the spectacular countryside of the Dordogne in south-western France, near the town of Bergerac. We hunt deer with the Rallye Croquant and the Rallye Varéna in the Massif de la Double a wooded area North of Bergerac as well as in other parts of the Dordogne on the Saturday learning at first hand the art of French hunting, la Vènerie.

The hunting weekends are combined with riding out from the grounds of the Bourdil Blanc either staying for a full week or for two three or four days stays, where from the moment you leave the stables which are in the grounds you ride through thousands of hectares of the region's most beautiful private estates.

Following trails which take you through a countryside of thick forests, hidden valleys, vineyards and meadows, you will soon be convinced that you are the 'duc' or 'duchesse' of all you survey; and to prove it, you'll come across no other horses or riders, and hardly a gate to open all day long.

We have taken great care to plan the rides - different each day - to ensure that experienced riders have the opportunity to enjoy long energetic trots and exciting canters, as well as lazy relaxing walks, when you'll have time to share your experiences with your guide and companions. (Please note that we are trying to keep riding on tarmac to a minimum, although there is some on quiet country lanes.)

Each ride allows for approximately 3 hours riding in the morning and 2 1/2 hours in the afternoon, and as one would expect in France, one of the highlights of each day's ride is lunch!

Around 12.30 we stop for an hour or so, to rest the horses and enjoy a marvellous picnic lunch, which is served in the grounds of, or inside, the private chateau whose land we are riding through. Lunch will have been freshly prepared by our own chef, Bernadette, and will typically consist of various country salads, regional delicacies (including foie gras), locally baked bread, fresh fruit, and of course the best local Bergerac wines.

We encourage any non-riders in the party to join us for the lunchtime feast, so that they too can experience the chateau lifestyle and catch up with news of the morning's adventures!

After lunch and a well-earned rest, both horses and riders are relaxed and ready to continue on the day's ride.

(We obviously try to ensure that rides do not double back on themselves, however in some instances this is unavoidable.)

With between 4 and 6 hours spent in the saddle each day riding across varied terrain, riders need to be reasonably fit and competent, and confident at walk, trot and canter in open country. We try our best to match riders of similar ability, so please be honest in filling out the application form, as less experienced riders may hold others back and not get the most from their horse or the rides.

We regret that we normally impose a weight limit of around 96kg (210lbs or 15 stone) and we cannot accept children. This is because we are keen to make this the best riding holiday of their life for everyone who comes.



The Horses

We are convinced that if our horses could talk they would agree with us that they live a charmed life. Their home is a recently converted 18th century barn. There are 11 spacious loose -boxes, with deep straw beds and open bars in between so they can see and talk to each other. They also spend a great deal of time grazing in the paddocks behind the house and paddling in the lake.

Although they can't tell you, we can assure you all our horses are happy, fit, and strong. They are well motivated, well schooled and well behaved, and extremely well loved.

They are mainly a mixture of saddle horses and arabs, used to hunting as well as trail riding, with pretty calm temperaments, but very reliable and not easily spooked. We can assure you they are definitely not 'nose-to-tail' trekking types.

We select the horses from a wide range according to the experience and ability of the riders, which is why it is important to complete the booking questionnaire as fully and honestly as possible.

It is as important to us as it is to you that you and your horse are well suited and will get on well from the start. (On the first day we insist all riders must try out their horse in the paddock behind the house before setting off for the hunt)




The Guides

On each ride, including the hunt you will be accompanied by Antoine Delpit who is an experienced, accomplished rider, who has spent all his life with horses and knows the local countryside, regional culture and history well. He is your "moniteur" and he has total responsibility for your safety and enjoyment at all times.

The safety of our riders and horses is of paramount importance to everyone. It is essential therefore that you follow the instructions of the guide at all times.

Antoine can teach group and private lessons during your stay.




What to bring

For hunting, formal hunting wear is recommended,normally black to avoid upsetting French colours.

For the rest of the stay casual riding wear is recommended but as you could be riding for up to six hours a day it should be comfortable. We suggest you bring

* A hard hat or helmet that conforms to current BHS standards. We insist that riding hats are worn at all times.
* Light riding gloves
* A decent pair of boots (jodhpur or full length),
* Jodhpurs/trousers, all leather full length chaps or half chaps
- Waterproof jacket, fleece, warm jumper
- Swimmming costume
* Passport and tickets
* Driving license
* Insurance
* European medical assistance form
* Camera, spare film and batteries
* Personal medication, sun protection cream, insect repellant
* Alarm clock
* Hairdryer and adaptor
* Sunglasses for eye protection
* Bum bag
* Small water bottle

Click here for the detailed itinerary

We are delighted that you are interested in our hunting holidays, if you would like more information on the horses, the hunt, the rides, or anything else on our website, please click on the 'contact us ' button above, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can



We are an approved ABRS (Associated British Riding School) ABRS websiteriding centre.




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A hunter
The priest at St Hubert
The stairs at Garraube
Picnic lunch
A hunter
The dogs
Garraube
Garraube Gardens
The French horns
La Gaubertie
Lunch in the chateau kitchen
Preparing to start
The French horns
Wine tasting at Tiregand
The French horns
Preparing to start
In front of the Gaubertie
Getting ready to ride off
Paddling in the lake
A lovely track
In front of the chai
Antoine Delpit
The dogs
Starting off
Picnic spot by the river
Antoine Delpit
The dogs
en route
Antoine Delpit jumping
Antoine in competition
Over the bridge
Café at Issigeac
In the meadow
Antoine on Lupin