Page 0024

France is a great place to live if you have horses,

but where to go and how to do it?

Liz Rowlinson reports.

F

rance is one of the

world's greatest

equestrian nations

with a long racing

tradition, a renowned

breeding sector, and 2

million French horse loving people

ride regularly.

It is the top exporter of horses

to other parts of the world, and

Haras Le Pin National Stud in

Normandy is the major centre for

rearing French racehorses. With

8,600 clubs and 5,000 horse

riding centres, and 400 equestrian

tourism centres it offers all sorts of

income generation potential and is

heaven for horse loving expats.

It is a popular place for

Britons and Belgians to move over

horses because the price of land

is relatively affordable - you can

get an equestrian property from

around €150,00 in Normandy, the

most important equestrian area.

"Horses are everywhere - from the

happy hacker with just one horse

in the field to the highest levels of

24 LEGGETTFRANCE.COM

professional, Olympic riders and

world-renowned studs," says Lesley

Okey, Leggett's agent in Basse

Normandy, which includes parts of

the Orne and Calvados.

The high level of supporting

infrastructure means that specialist

equine veterinary clinics and

farriers are easy to find; there

are clubs and riding centres

everywhere, and the beautiful and

accessible chemins (paths) in the

region offer miles and miles of offroad

riding opportunities.

"Regarding properties, there

is something for all budgets - at

a fraction of the cost of those in

the U.K., where land prices are

prohibitive," she says, having

chosen Normandy for importing her

horses.

Affordability is more attractive

in the Pays d'Auge. Still, prices

soar around the chic Deauville,

where the wealthiest owners and

breeders from around the world

visit to enjoy the racing and sales

every August. Other key events in

the busiest equestrian calendar in

Europe include the Longines F.E.I.

Jumping Nations Cup at Brittany's

La Baule in May, Le Grand Complet

at Haras Le Pin and the Normandy

Horse Show at Saint-Lo (in August),

and the Paris Horse Show in

November.

Claire Murphy, another

Leggett agent, also brought over

horses to Normandy but to the

Sud-Manche facing Jersey and

Guernsey. "I worked in horsebox

sales in Avranches and Galop Baie,

a purpose-built training centre for

racehorses overlooking Mont StMichel," she says. "The temperate

climate is perfect for horses rather

than the intense heat of the south.

The combination of the warmth,

short winters, and high rainfall

make the pasture here rich and

dense."

Other areas to consider are the

Loire and south of Paris, also good

Horseplay...

the French way

PHOTOS: SHUTTERSTOCK

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