Horseriding

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Paradise on horseback!
A unique experience, for all riders, from beginners to experienced. Two hours of horseriding amongst furry and feathered beasts. Total immersion in the natural world in the middle of a forest with a wide variety of tree species.

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Paradise on horseback!

An unforgettable ride! Imagine a 10km band of lush greenery dotted with woodland and lakes, and full of stag, roe deer, pheasants and a variety of birds great and small. It’s simple enough: just mount a horse and follow Nicolas, our qualified instructor.

Bruno Cheuvreux takes us on a sneak preview of ’the estate owner’s trail’.

It all begins on a little woodland path lined with oaks, some of which stand in the water. A couple of ducks waddle around in an atmosphere reminiscent of a Japanese garden. Further on, amid interlaced oaks and pines, we enter deep into stag territory. On our arrival in the enclosure, the deer flee while the male stands stock still for a moment or two before also disappearing, as if in a dream. Our horses – the main witnesses of the scene – do not even flinch, perhaps out of animal solidarity maybe?
Ten metres above our heads, a black kite with a triangular tail hovers over the trees, then swoops down to seize its tiny prey. A few harsh little cries ensue, then silence… This is nature at work!

In the woods there are a hundred or so enclosures with crossroads dotted around the 1,200 hectares of the property. Each of them has a name, by turns historic, funny or even lewd. The ’Caresses’ enclosure, for example, is right next to the ’Dames’ (‘ladies’) enclosure, while further on is the ’Préliminaires’ (‘foreplay’) enclosure. It’s all very promising! No surprise, therefore, that at summer’s end, the stag bells in the enclosure is called the ‘Champ d’Amour’ (‘field of love’)! And let’s not forget the one called ’105 animals’. Bruno and his friends counted them all. But we’ll say no more! It’s your job to discover the others, and it’s much easier to approach them on horseback.

The estate owner loves to mix up the colours in the forest. He has planted the fruit trees among the oaks, and birches in front of pines. And this free-spirited and mischievous forester certainly knows how to put together a team: René Courrau manages the forest, while Didier Misler is the landscape gardener. Charly and Dominique create appealing, winding path through the estate. The two accomplices know every last animal, fish, tree and flower in the forest. If during your ride you see them planting the white clover the stags love so much, talk to them. Perhaps they’ll share a few of their secrets with you. You’ll soon see how this team pulls out all the stops to improve the organic diversity of the place and has great fun in the process.

Forêt du Domaine

And now the horses pause for a moment to greet the oak of ‘King François I’. The 500-year old giant looks down on the stripling ‘Pope François’, just a few metres away from its ancestor. Their location is a nod to Bruno, expert in bringing together the temporal and the spiritual. We then cross the double park of the arboretum, the only sanctuary of its kind in the world with over 300 different young oaks drawn from the 460 species in existence. Here, the team is laying the foundations of the future while building on the beautiful or tragic stories of the past. For example, in the early 1960s, a part of the forest burned. The chestnut tree with its scorched trunk and green leaves was the only survivor. Since then, the forest has been fully equipped with fire hydrants.

Another curiosity: on the 200 hectares of the ‘La Motte’ wood, where corn has made way for reforestation, 50 hectares have also been given over to solar panels that generate 20 megawatts of power– enough for a town of 30,000 inhabitants. So as you can see, there’s far more to this forest of sustainable development than meets the eye. You can visit it, you can explore it, but its mystery remains forever intact. And the mystery continues with its 60 hectares of lakes: the Trois frères’, the ‘Patouille’, and the ‘Sainte Christine’. Just imagine, just a gallop away, it was here, in front of the chapel of Sainte Christine, that Charles IX the mad king, son of Catherine de Médicis, switched his pack of hounds on hunting days.

Whether on horseback like us, on foot or by bike, you too will fall in love with this place. This ‘landscape of love’ even affects our horses, who neigh and snort, as if to greet the fish peeking out of the water. Let’s return to Le Cottage, whose grounds, created in 1858, was designed in the English style. The infinite perspectives are a feast for the eyes. The ride ends in a rainbow of scents and colours. Bruno Cheuvreux and his team have replanted 450 trees. Here a grove in bloom graced with giant chestnut trees… …there a bed of bright daffodils, illuminating the shade cast by the oaks.

Our horses’ nostrils are titillated by the scent of the 500 transplanted rose bushes. Near the little chapel, two great oaks have grown together, as if intertwined. It’s a beautiful story: over 150 years ago, on their wedding day, a happy couple planted two acorns, which have since grown into two giants with green leaves. This vast sentinels, reaching almost to the sky, accompany us on our journey to the stables. The joys of horseriding, as a couple or with the family. Depending on your level of expertise, Nicolas will allocate you a suitable mount. Your horse is the key to the two hours of enjoyment ahead, the key to a paradise you’ll keep with you forever.

Practical Info

With a state-qualified instructor to guide you, the Ecuries d’Ambillou will lead you on a journey of discovery through the Domaine de la Trigalière on a horse or a pony.

Discounted prices for groups of over 4 people.