Horseback riding in Montcodiol887a6511
©Horseback riding in Montcodiol|David Frobert

itinerant hiking on horseback

Riding: full freedom

There are words that carry with them a whole universe of magical evocations. Chevaucher is undeniably one of them. The word conjures up images of rolling hills, awe-inspiring landscapes, a small group of riders or, on the contrary, a lonesome cowboy riding at full gallop, free as a bird. It’s a real sense of freedom that allows you to go farther and everywhere. In the Auvergne, horse – or pony – riding goes well with roaming and bivouacking. It’s an adventure!

Horseback riding: an ancestral mode of locomotion ... so contemporary

In the Livradois-Forez Regional Nature Park, you’ll find the Dore loop, specifically designed for horseback riding. But all the many perfectly signposted hiking trails are accessible to horseback riders. Taking them on horseback or pony is an extraordinary experience: because they allow you to get away from it all, to reach territories that are harder to access on foot, and to feel a little adventurous.

While the mode of transport is ancestral, it’s also as contemporary as it gets, and totally non-emitting of greenhouse gases! It’s a return to a very trendy practice, that of slowness. When you’re riding a horse, you may gallop to feel fully alive under the effect of adrenalin, but that’s only for a while. Afterwards, you’ll take the time to walk peacefully, letting your eyes wander and your mind wander.

Never monotonous, the hiking trails of Livradois-Forez are astonishing in their variety of natural environments. Between alluvial and mountainforests, volcanic buttes, the glacial valley of Le Fossat, peat bogs and the high moorlands of the Hautes-Chaumes du Forez, you’re bound to be amazed.

The Billom plain, otherwise known as “the Tuscany of Auvergne“, is also a particularly good spot for horseback riding.

On the Livradois-Forez Rando app, you can download the trail and also find – step by step – all the points of interest.

Dressing for riding 

To get the most out of your horse-riding experience in the Livradois-Forez region, it’s essential to choose the right clothing that offers comfort, safety and mobility. Here are a few tips on how to dress for horseback riding:

1

Suitable pants :

  • Choose comfortable, hard-wearing pants, preferably fitted and without bulging seams, to avoid chafing and irritation when climbing. Riding pants or leggings are often a good choice, as they offer optimum freedom of movement.
2

Suitable footwear:

  • Wear boots or shoes with a small heel to prevent the foot from slipping too far into the stirrup and to ensure a better grip in the stirrup. Make sure your shoes are closed and offer good ankle support to reduce the risk of injury.
3

Comfortable top :

  • Choose a breathable, snug-fitting top that allows you to move freely while remaining comfortable in the saddle. Shirts or polo shirts made from technical materials are often recommended, as they absorb moisture and dry quickly.
4

Protective equipment :

  • To ensure your safety, we recommend that you wear an approved riding helmet that offers protection against impact in the event of a fall. Depending on weather and ground conditions, you may also consider wearing gloves to protect your hands and sunglasses to protect your eyes.
5

Extras according to conditions :

  • Depending on weather conditions, don't forget to bring extra clothing, such as a waterproof jacket or windbreaker in case of rain or wind, and a cap or hat to protect you from the sun.

Find your mount 

Horseback riding is one of the many activities available to families. It’s an alternative to hiking that’s sure to have a different appeal for children: a whole new experience!

The horse is a powerful symbol. Because of its majestic nature and free spirit, the horse is often associated with freedom and independence. It embodies the desire to escape the constraints of everyday life and venture towards new horizons. It is also a symbol of strength and physical power, associated with vital energy and animal instinct. Riding is based on a relationship of partnership and trust between man and horse. As such, the horse also symbolizes collaboration, loyalty and the deep connection between man and nature. Finally, in many cultures, the horse has spiritual and mythological significance. It is often associated with deities or mythical figures, such as Pegasus in Greek mythology or the sacred white horse in many religious traditions.

Riders always talk about their relationship with their mount: docile or nervous, reactive or peaceful? The relationship that develops during the ride is one of trust and respect. It also clearly determines the quality of the experience.

Day trip Are you?

Growing up with the joys of pony trekking

Although horseback riding is accessible from the age of 3, the small size of the pony is better suited to learning. Livradois-Forez equestrian centers offer introductory and advanced riding courses. Just for kids! The equestrian facilities and their professionals welcome beginners and experienced riders alike for a gentle learning experience. It’s a safe way for children to discover the equestrian world and gain self-confidence, from the riding arena to nature rides.

More than just a leisure activity or sport, the discovery of horse riding is also a great school for life! In contact with animals, children form bonds, gain self-confidence and take responsibility for themselves by taking care of their mounts, as well as participating in the collective life of the riding center… All in all, a great life experience.

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