Moving to France

Mari

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27 October 2008
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My OH is determined to retire us to France, he speaks excellent french but I'm still at the translating / franglais stage. Horse & pony will come too & they will continue to live with us. Although we have a number of french friends in various regions in France we don't know anyone with, or interested in horses, so can anyone point me in the direction of a horse orientated area?
 

Maddie2412

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25 July 2009
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YES! I went there and did work exp with a guy in Bordeaux/Coutras the whole family are lovely lovely people and genuinly the best instructors ive ever had)Johnny and Jackie are so welcoming... he was/is an international showjumper look them up Harris horses they moved over from England with all their horses too!
 

Quartz

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England
I am in the Vendee, there seem to be lots of people with horses around here. Also land is reasonably priced here, well where I am anyway!!!! I am near the Mervent forest which has lots of great horse tracks, also lots of beaches to ride on (not that I have done this yet)!! You can also find livery at a reasonable price, mine is on full livery during the winter for 200 euros a month.

We are also not far from the famous Cadre Noir in Saumur!!
 

ISHmad

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This is something we have spoken about several times but worry about the work situation out there. Other than that sounds blissful, especially where you are Quartz.
 

Booboos

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5 January 2008
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South of France
It depends on what you want to do with your horses. The north is very horsey and you can find pretty much everything you would get in the UK, e.g. trainers, clinics, competitions (with the exception of showing which is very limited in France), good vets, etc. Hacking is in general better here than the UK but it depends on exactly where you live. There are the equivalent of the OS maps that show you bridleways. The south is horsey, not as much as the north but it's OK. For example, between April and September there are about 2 dressage comps a month within an hour's drive of my place. The middle (e.g. Limousine) is a big, fenced, cattle area so not that good for horses. There is a lack of horse vets, hacking, etc.

Have a look at the equestrian section of the Total France forum. There is a really good sticky with useful websites with links to hacking, comps, vets, farriers, supplies, etc.
 

Wundahorse

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11 July 2011
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Maidstone,Kent
It is a lovely place to live,however,don't expect to be able to get what you are used to in the UK.particularly the further south you live.There are plenty of horsy people around but not sure they are into exactly the same equine disciplines as in the UK.However,the show jumpers and eventer's are excellent,and they breed some brilliant horses.There is not the range of products you will be familiar with,and equine vets not quite the same in very rural areas.The relative cost's of property is much lower than the UK,and land a plenty.The quality of life is great and i love the French attitude to life,it is simply to be enjoyed.If i spoke French i would be very tempted to move.
 

lazybee

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8 February 2011
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ici
It depends on what you want to do with your horses. The north is very horsey and you can find pretty much everything you would get in the UK, e.g. trainers, clinics, competitions (with the exception of showing which is very limited in France), good vets, etc. Hacking is in general better here than the UK but it depends on exactly where you live. There are the equivalent of the OS maps that show you bridleways. The south is horsey, not as much as the north but it's OK. For example, between April and September there are about 2 dressage comps a month within an hour's drive of my place. The middle (e.g. Limousine) is a big, fenced, cattle area so not that good for horses. There is a lack of horse vets, hacking, etc.

Have a look at the equestrian section of the Total France forum. There is a really good sticky with useful websites with links to hacking, comps, vets, farriers, supplies, etc.
I don't know where you are in France, but I think you are making a lot of generalisations. For example the Haras national de Pompadour is in Limousin. My region, I'm in Poitou; we have plenty going on. There's even shows and competitions run by English with proper English judges. The offroad riding is second to none. You can go out for hours without seeing a car. The chemins are well maintained and marked. Our vet is a Baudet de Poitou breeder and also has horses. Not too much different from the UK for example Newmarket for specialists. If you want a center of excellence here you go to Saumur, Saintes etc There seem to be no shortage in our region with equine vets.


The best thing to do prior to moving is to do plenty of homework. Then narrow your search down to a couple of villages or towns. Once you find somewhere you like, go and stay there out of season; so you see it warts and all in the colder months. You can pick up very cheap out of season gites or rentals etc. Please put your rose tinted specs firmly in their case. In rural areas the job prospects are virtually nil, high unemployment. Vocational training is a must if you even want an interview. I'm lucky I work outside France.
There's lots of property for sale, lots of English running back to the UK they've found their pensions aren't worth what they thought or their business failed . Also think practically, things like where's the nearest hospital, supermarket etc. Remember France has the same population as the UK but is much bigger; therefore you will have to travel further to find things. One fatal mistake I see all the time is English small businesses starting up and trying to make a living from purely English clients. I've not seen one survive yet.
 
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this organises most of the competitions in most disciplines
http://www.ffe.com/

Note that for official competition in France (at any level) the horse or pony must have breed/origin papers. In addition the riders have to pass certain practical and theoretical tests (galops) depending on the level of competition you want to enter.

My parents live in Charente Maritime and while it used to be mostly agricultural there are now loads of horses esp towards the coast. Nice summers altho it can be cold/windy a couple of months in the winter.
 

Booboos

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South of France
I don't know where you are in France, but I think you are making a lot of generalisations.
Well yes, but I never said I would give the OP a village by village account of what it's like to live in the whole of France! Of course by spliting the country into north, middle and south I am making huge generalisations...as are you when you make claims about rural areas and unemployment. Generalisations are unavoidable when someone asks such a general question.
 

JCWHITE

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12 July 2007
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I was going to say, SW France, but even thats a huge area.
Horse competition wise, it pays to be flexible, as to what takes place in your chosen area.
For me, an introduction to things like Endurance, Trec and Western feature, and its possible to jump too.
Not too much dressage near me unless you can travel.
I would advise bringing a papered horse, if you want to compete affiliated, but thats another ball game completely!
Lazybee has said it as it is really ,
all the best.
 

Mari

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27 October 2008
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North West
Thank you one and all. Very helpful. I didn't realise horses had to be 'papered' to compete! (Big gulp) I bred mine so of course know his breeding but as I wouldn't ever sell him I just got the cheapest passport available so there are no breeding details on it. We only do riding club level - is there an equivalent in France? We don't want to run a business but do want to keep horse at home with us, like here. We also have a small pony but no rider.
 

JCWHITE

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12 July 2007
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Hi, then you could do Club level, thats like unaffiliated, once he had a SIRE number and was on the right List.There are enough of us around to help you with papers etc, would advise you take a look at Total France for more horsey help, or French Horse and Country.
 
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