Moving to Limousin France - anyone else there? Enjoy Competing?

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Hi

I am moving out to the Limousin in Sept 2015 and taking my 2 horses, one of which I have competed at affiliated eventing and dressage.

My mare has no papers so can only compete at club level, but I wondered if there was anyone near me that also enjoys riding and possibly the odd competition. I will be based 35k east of Limoges near St Leonard De Noblat. I am slightly more mature at 57!

It would be lovely to meet someone as I am quite nervous of starting again with my equine network, we have our own land and stables, but would love information about riding clubs, competition centres, hay etc, and generally making new friends both French and British.

If anyone has survival tips that would be fab! I have done quite lot of research and found a farrier, feed supplies etc.,but recommendations are always great.

Thanks in ancticipation!
 

onlytheponely

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Best of luck with your move and I hope it all goes smoothly.

Without passing the Galop exams over here you will not be able to compete at the same sort of level as you are in the UK. If you become a member of a local equestrian centre you will be able to compete at their in-house competitions without doing the exams, at least you can up here in Brittany.

You will also have to go through the reams of paperwork and testing to transfer a UK trailer or horsebox if you're bringing one over. If you have an Ifor Williams it's not as difficult but you'll need to do this as soon as you've transferred your towing vehicle onto French plates, 6 months is the amount of time allowed. All independently braked trailers have to have their own number plates over here.

I know this all sounds a bit negative but I wish I'd known all of this before we moved, it would have saved huge amounts of stress!
 

Shady

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can't help you with competing stuff but i spoke to a lady lately who has just moved to the Dordogne and she has found some lovely horsey friends near her by doing something on facebook. you will find each other anyway, trust me. The local mayor can sometimes help.
stock up on worm stuff , flea stuff and anything else you use a lot of, anything horsey is expensive like rugs, tack , clothes etc, don't stress about the language, get yourself and the neds settled and chill for a bit, hay is a bit hit and miss depending on weather and laziness, can be great or dry as a bone but you will learn!!( always check it) good for relationships with your neighbours if you buy locally , this year i am only paying 10-15 euro's for a 250kilo round, straw probably 10-12 euro's.
i wish you the best of luck, i am very happy here and have made some great friends.
 

Pebble101

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My brother lives near Azerables - his children went to a local riding school when they were younger. He loves it over there and has built up a really good business mainly doing building works for expats. I know he found a useful forum which was invaluable when he first moved. If you are interested I could ask him about that as he is over here in 2 weeks time, just let me know.

Edited because I thought he was East of Limoges but my husband tells me he is north of Limoges so probably not much help on the horse front.
 
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Tapir

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We have a holiday home about an hour south of Limoges. It's a beautiful area and I love it there. I don't ride whilst we're there so I can't help with that. But you must visit Pompadour, there are all sorts of competitions there and the annual horse week in September is especially worth visiting.
 

TTK

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Lucky you, we aim to follow you in about 3 years. In the meantime, have you seen this website http://www.chevalannonce.com/ it looks quite useful and if your French is a little shaky, use Google translate (the results are funny but you will get the drift). I have the same fears as you but let's follow Shady's example and make a success of the big move to France. I might see you there. Bonne Chance!
 
Joined
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We have a holiday home about an hour south of Limoges. It's a beautiful area and I love it there. I don't ride whilst we're there so I can't help with that. But you must visit Pompadour, there are all sorts of competitions there and the annual horse week in September is especially worth visiting.
Thank you so much, we have had a brief visit there and it looks amazing.
 
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Thank you so much for your reply. Yes, my husband is a geek and has all the info regarding our new IFor Williams, but to add we have to have a plate fitted on the tow arm showing the weight, even though we have the certificate of conformity. I didn't know about the number plates though, so thank you for the information, will chase up hubby!

I had thought about doing my Galop exams, I believe that BE can send a letter that should get me up to L6 with my eventing record, but I only anticipate doing club level at this stage as you suggest.

Thanks again, I am very excited!!
 
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Yes, my French is shaky, but slowly improving....too slow really! Thank you for the website, I am very excited and hopefully I can share information with you in 3 years. We live in the same county at the moment, Shropshire.
 
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Thanks so much for your reply, I will start internet shopping for all the things you suggest!

Really helpful info about the price of straw/hay prices so thanks again. Are you anywhere near Limoges?
 

onlytheponely

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Just a bit more info for your trailer. Once you're over here (and settled!) you'll need to take it to the nearest DREAL vehicle testing centre so they can check everything is legal, they will then give you the relevant paperwork that you need to get the plates made up and be able to insure it.

Regarding the letter from BE, yes you can try that but don't rely on it. I have a few friends over here that compete regularly. They sent off the paperwork only to have it rejected and they've had to go through the Galops anyway. Another had the paperwork accepted but it only allowed her to skip Galops 1-4 and she had to take Galop 5 before she could go any further.

You will also need to re-register your horses with the relevant society. Most people that want to compete go through the Haras Nationaux. It's very frustrating as it can take ages but you will have to have a vet out to check the microchips and re-do the ID silhouette (they normally insist on this) and sign off on the paperwork. The HN fee is around 120 euros per horse/pony to be registered on their database. Mine are registered with their breed society and then secondarily through the society with the HN and it costs 250euros per pony!

My only word of caution would be if any of your horses are on a non-specific passport like a Horse Passport Agency one, you may have real problems getting it transferred, maybe impossible. I have one that came over on one due to the breeder not registering him in time and he has never been accepted by the HN despite me providing a letter from the breeder. For me it's not a problem and the vets know the situation and happily treat him and just stamp his illegal passport!

A general piece of advice is to photocopy every single piece of paperwork that you have to send off as things seem to go missing regularly. Also avoid sending off original important documents at all costs, it is better to go along to the local office that deal with the request and get them to copy things in your presence and then you can come away with your documents. My original birth certificate disappeared for 6 months and when it finally came back it had coffee mug rings all over it! If either you or your husband are adopted please PM me, this has caused me some serious problems and they are still refusing to give me health care even though I have to pay for it, it really is a nightmare.

Don't worry too much about your French being shaky, once you're here you'll be fine. We love it here, been here nearly 7 years. Just remember to take off the rose tinted glasses occasionally to deal with the complicated necessities ;-)

You are much more prepared than most, certainly more prepared than I was!
 
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Hi onlythepony

Thank you so much for such a detailed reply. My mare and aged gelding have no recognized breeding so I know I cannot compete with her (I BE evented), but I didn't realise the other possible difficulties as they both have non specific passports!

I can't see me doing my Galops to be honest, so it may just be the odd club competition. I would also love to continue my dressage and jumping lessons, so I guess this could be organised at Club level too.

I am sorry about your health care, it must be a huge worry for you. We have to pay for healthcare as we are below retirement age, but my husband is starting a business which will allow us to be taken under the healthcare system, and then do a top up. At least that is the plan, but I am ready for it to be blown out of the water!!!

Are you near to Limoges, if so it would be lovely to keep in touch.

Regards...Carol
 

onlytheponely

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Hi Carol,

sadly I'm in Brittany, a long way away! I do have a good friend in Limoges though, an International breed judge. I'm not sure how close she is to you though, I'll find out, Limoges is a very big area.

I will have a chat to my vet about your passport situation. I'm afraid I don't know any more about what to do as I never followed it up, the one pony that I have on a plain passport was a mercy purchase and is a companion only. There are certainly plenty of French horses and ponies competing under 'Origine Inconnue' but it can be very complicated to re-register UK horses here without full papers. It's hard enough for a human without full papers!!!

Also remember that it is a legal requirement here for you to be insured as a rider if you ride on any public roads and paths. This is easily done when you register with the Centre Equestre of your choice, alternatively you can do it it through the FFE.

They are seriously obsessed with paperwork over here, it's impossible to describe their obsession in writing until you've experienced it personally, they're mad! When I went to the bank to open my own bank account, for MY business that is registered in my name, they couldn't understand or accept why I didn't want a joint account with my OH!! It's incredibly old fashioned in some rural areas over here, hilarious once you get everything sorted but whilst you're in the midst of the 'craziness' it's just frustrating. It took three separate interviews with the female bank manager before I was 'allowed' to open an account in just my name!!

I'll get some links together for you regarding the better feed companies over here and their stockists near you. Much of the feed here is very heavily molassed so you do have to be careful. It was very difficult for me to source food to start with that was actually reasonably safe to give my New Forest ponies.

Happy to stay in touch though and help with anything I can.

Nikki
 

Wishful

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Can't help on the horsey front but my parents moved to the northern edge of the Limousin region a few years ago.

It gets hot in summer and cold in winter, particularly in the hills. Grass may not grow well in summer so you might need to feed hay as well.

French administration is "entertaining". There's a very old joke about difference between the French state and washing powder being that washing powder has active agents! Distressingly true.

To compete in anything (not necessarily riding) you will need a Dr's certificate!

There are some expats around but not masses - flights were good for a while but now pretty rubbish. Some English is spoken but nowhere near as much as in the more touristy areas. My parents communicate effectively in bad French!
 

Rollin

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I am a bit far away so won't be a neighbour.

With a Club licence you can also jump Preparatoire, 95cm/1.05/1.10cm. (not sure if you can do this with a non-papered horse. Horse needs to be registered too as Cheval de Sport). We competed our young stallion in endurance in 2014 and he is now jumping. A whole lot of new rules to learn.

Once you have your club licence you can book competitions yourself on FFE website. If you enjoy hacking out, then endurance in France is great fun.

JC White on this forum has had great success jumping in France at club level - why not send her a PM?

Ditto comments about your trailer. Bring any vehicle into France from the UK and you have to have a certificate of compliance. Wish the UK would do the same for French imports!!! It can take months.

French friends share the joke when I explain, I cannot understand why they sent their Royal Family to the Guillotine and still put up with their Civil Servants!!
 
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Thanks Nikki, what a shame you are so far away.

The information about insurance is new for me, so that will be high on the list. I have found a few equestrian centres locally to me, so hopefully they will be able to help too.

Thank you again for all your advise, it is much appreciated.

Carol
 
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Hi Wishful and thank you....I hope I can pass a DR's Cert!!

I have found a site for haylage/bedding delivered by the pallet, so may try that initially as my horses are on haylage at the moment.
 
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Thanks Rollin, it is nice to know that I can compete, if I can't use my mare I may consider buying another horse in France, as I enjoy competitions just to keep me on my toes, to be honest 1.05/1.10 is plenty nowadays for me!!

I have had a look at the FFE site, so I presume when I have registered with a club I can then use it????
 

Shady

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sadly i am not near you but in the Midi Pyrenees, if you are in need of a good english accountant that works in France please pm me, it's really , really important to get anything to do with a business spot on from the start, the financial consequences are dire if you make a mistake! also Zoo Plus is brilliant for dog/cat supplies, i use the uk one as i need special food but always shop around, watch the exchange rates!!( rubbish at the moment for uk buying but great for pounds exchanged to euro's)
 

PollyP99

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From experience I noted that people really underestimated just how cold and snowy the limousine can be, we were an hour north of Limoges and the difference in weather was huge, days of -16 were not uncommon for our friends in limousine in the depths of winter. I'm told it's the reason it is not very popular with the french.

We ended up heading further south to Bordeaux area, there the problems were not much grass in summer and terrible flies, we ended up riding at 6am in the summer just to keep out of the way of the swarms of horseflies. Avoiding the hunters was also a reason to ride early.

All that said I enjoyed my time there although there was very little in the way of competitions around at that time.
 

Palindrome

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Regarding the letter from BE, yes you can try that but don't rely on it. I have a few friends over here that compete regularly. They sent off the paperwork only to have it rejected and they've had to go through the Galops anyway. Another had the paperwork accepted but it only allowed her to skip Galops 1-4 and she had to take Galop 5 before she could go any further.
You don't have to take the galops in order and can skip as many as you want (although people will tell you otherwise it is written in the rule book). Say you wanted to take galop 7 and you don't have any other galop, you absolutely can. You can also only take the dressage (probably not relevant to OP as an eventer) in which case you take the theory test and dressage test and they validate a "galop X dressage" instead of the full exam.

The license you buy every year from the FFE provides you with a rider insurance. Although not mandatory it will be needed if you take lessons in a club, compete or want to take the galop exams. I am told there is a small supplementary insurance on top for horse's 3rd party that covers any accident that could happen when you are not riding the horse.

PS: Galops won't really translate into competition record, they are like BHS exams.
 
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onlytheponely

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That's really interesting Palindrome as that is simply not what I, and many others, have found over here. I was told, by the FFE, that I had to start at Galop 1 and work my way through the Galops to my desired level. I was told this 3 times over the phone and I have it in a letter.
 

Casey76

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As an adult you can start at which ever Galop level you want, then continue sequentially. So if you go straight in at 5, you then need to do 6 and 7, not go straight to 7. Under 18s need to start at 1 and do them sequentially.

A group of adults at my yard did their Galop 4 last year, as their first exam, and no one has had any issues with the FFE or with any of the venues they have subsequently competed at.
 

Palindrome

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Here you go p7 of the rulebook (can be downloaded here: http://www.ffe.com/enseignant/Documents/Galops/Reglement-officiel-des-Galops-1-a-7-de-Cavalier):
"Pour un cavalier licencié de plus de 18 ans, l’enseignant a la possibilité de valider directement un Galop® sans validation du ou des niveaux précédents."
"For a licensed rider over 18, the riding instructor can validate directly the Galop without validating the preceding level(s)"

I had done my Galops 1 to 4 as a child and did directly Galop 6 last winter. Had to print off the rulebook and point it out to the riding instructor as she didn't believe me. I believe you still need to learn the theory of the previous Galops though as you can be asked any bit of theory up to the Galop you are taking.

There is a new part called "Galops de Competitions" that I didn't know about, which indeed translate competitions results + theory into Galops.
 
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You don't have to take the galops in order and can skip as many as you want (although people will tell you otherwise it is written in the rule book). Say you wanted to take galop 7 and you don't have any other galop, you absolutely can. You can also only take the dressage (probably not relevant to OP as an eventer) in which case you take the theory test and dressage test and they validate a "galop X dressage" instead of the full exam.

The license you buy every year from the FFE provides you with a rider insurance. Although not mandatory it will be needed if you take lessons in a club, compete or want to take the galop exams. I am told there is a small supplementary insurance on top for horse's 3rd party that covers any accident that could happen when you are not riding the horse.

PS: Galops won't really translate into competition record, they are like BHS exams.

thanks for this info, it is really useful!

Thank you for everyone's input, I feel that the more knowledge I have the better prepared I will be!!
 

Woody Le Bois

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Hi there,
I have moved very recently to France with my horse. Just wanted to confirm that you can skip the Galops, I am preparing for my Galop 7 right now :)

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Just to add, we are both very happy in France but the competing and licence system can be a nightmare at the beginning. I got a lot of help from my instructor, so try and find someone who has the neccessary experiance to show you the ropes so to speak.

Enjoy France!!
 
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Hi there,
I have moved very recently to France with my horse. Just wanted to confirm that you can skip the Galops, I am preparing for my Galop 7 right now :)

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Just to add, we are both very happy in France but the competing and licence system can be a nightmare at the beginning. I got a lot of help from my instructor, so try and find someone who has the neccessary experiance to show you the ropes so to speak.

Enjoy France!!
Thanks so much Woody. How are you finding the level 7 to learn? Are you in/near Limousin?
 
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