France’s love of horses knows no bounds

The stocky Camargue white horses bred among the salt flats are hardy, patient and sure-footed enough even for a rank beginner

From the Camargue to Chantilly, a guided tour of the country with lovers of all things equestrian in mind

Scratch the surface of French life and you will find a horse. From therapy to theatre, the French love equines – and what better way to explore France than tracking them down?

The Haras National de Pompadour, in Corrèze, is one of the prestigious breeding centres set up during the reign of Louis XIV to keep the army supplied with horses.

By 1761 it had acquired royal status thanks to the influence of Madame de Pompadour on Louis XV.

Thoroughbred racehorses at the Haras National de Pompadour.

Nationwide, these breeding centres were abandoned during the Revolution 1790 but reinstated by Napoléon in 1806.Today there are around 20 Haras Nationaux in France.

Dressage at the Chateau

You can visit the Haras National de Pompadour from April to October, when there is a full programme of sporting events and equine cabaret, races and training courses.

The chateau, the stables, the indoor ring, and the stud farm ‘Le Domaine de Chignac’ are all open.

Rides in horse and carriage are also on offer.

Visits are guided, so it is best to check the website in advance and arrive on time.

At the end of September, at the Grande Semaine de Pompadour, the elite of the horse world take part in dressage, jumping and cross-country competitions, as well as the National Anglo-Arab Finals.

If you would sooner have your hands smelling of horse than admire the crème-de-la-crème from a distance, however, try riding in the Camargue.

The stocky white horses bred among the salt flats are ...

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