- Ride off the beaten track taking smugglers' paths crossing the border between France and Spain
- Get the opportunity to approach herds of wild Pottock horses and discover the unique culture of the Basque Country.
- At the end of the ride the soft terrain offers the chance for fantastic long gallops
- Ride well-trained, quality horses that are well suited to riding in the region
Day 1 1 : EUROPE - BORDEAUX - ST ETIENNE DE BAIGORRYOn your arrival at Bordeaux (flights not included), you will be met by one of our partners and taken to St Etienne de Baïgorry (approx. 2 hrs 30 mins) where you will spend your first night. The transfer leaves from the airport at 14:00, it is therefore imperative that you arrive at the airport or train station before 13:00. Transfers are not included and payable locally - please see "dates and prices".
After leaving your baggage at the gite, you will have a chance to visit Saint-Jean-Pied de Port, a beautiful tourist town, where you will have dinner in a restaurant in the old district (dinner is not included and is payable locally).
The following itinerary may be done in a different order if weather conditions prove inclement.
Day 2 2 : ST ETIENNE DE BAIGORRI - ESPILA - 6 hours ridingYou first day's ride will allow you to get to know your horse and cement the relationship between you both. You will ride through the well-known town of St Etienne de Baïgorri to the Aldudes Valley where you will climb up to the peak of Oilarandoï passing at its foot its beautiful small stone chapel. After a picnic lunch had on the ridge of Col d’Adartza, offering fantastic views across the Iparla crests, you will continue your ride to reach Mohoa, at 1021m. Here, you will have a 360° panoramic view of St Jean de Port and out across the ocean.
By exhilarating gallops through the summer grazing pastures, past the occasional herd of Pottocks, local wild horses, you will make you way towards the summits of Banca and Espila.
You will have your evening meal and spend the night in a gite at Espila.
Day 3 3 : ESPILA - UREPEL - 6 hours ridingIn the morning, you will ride out to the Euntzarok pass between France and Spain and then up to the peak of Argaraï. The trail along these ridges, which offers up unforgettable countryside views, is in places incredibly narrow and you will be, at times, required to dismount and lead your horse by hand while you find your own path through. Your ride will continue towards Lindus peak and a beautiful view of Robcevaux crest. You will also pass the Gallo Romaine military redoubt, now a well-known bird-watching site. Here in the past, at this military fortification the likes of Wisigoths , Francs, Sarrasins, pilgrims to Saint-Jacques, the Napoleonic armies and lesser known smugglers have resisted, hidden or sought shelter.
After an alfresco picnic lunch, you will head down the Pays de Quint towards Spain where the houses are in the Haut-Navarrais style, white with characteristic angled stones. In the evening, you will arrive at Urepel and settle in to your hotel and have dinner.
Day 4 4 : UREPEL - HARGUIBEL - BANCA - 4 hours ridingAfter a hearty breakfast, you will ride out through the heart of a narrow valley which will allow you to get an insight into the agricultural and industrial traditions of the area and will give you an idea of how the people in this region live. After a brief stop for a tasting at a Basque sardine factory, you will continue your ride and reach the Eyharza ridge where you will stop for your picnic.
After lunch in a local restaurant where you can taste the local Basque specialities, you will climb back in the saddle and ride back up to high altitudes. Your trail will follow the mountain ridges straddling the border line - you will find yourself at times in France, and others in Spain! A highlight of the trip will be your ride through idyllic Spanish forest high in the mountains. Once you reach the pastures at Cayolard de Gaintza, you will leave the horses behind high up on the mountainside as you are driven down in a minibus to your hotel for the evening (15 mins).
Day 5 5 : BANCA SUMMIT - ERRATZU - MIMIZAN - 6 hours ridingRiding out from Cayolart for Elhorrieta, you will discover the Kromlechs, circles of large stones, veritable vestiges of the bronze age and always found facing towards the East. After rounding the ridge of Elorregikoo kaskoa, you will have your final 360° panoramic view over the stunning Basque countryside, and you will maybe catch a glimpse of the herds of wild Shetland ponies that roam the region. You will ride towards Ispégu peak where you will stop in a 'venta', a local restaurant serving traditional Spanish cuisine.
After lunch, you will ride down the mountainside towards Erratzu village, crossing the picturesque countryside and the nearest village on horseback. You and the horses are driven to Mimizan for the evening.
Day 6 6 : ATLANTIC COAST - LANDES - MIMIZAN - 5 hours ridingAn unforgettable day's ride will unfold as you find yourself right on the Atlantic coast riding along soft ground perfectly suited to long gallops. You will explore the Landes, along paths less-travelled, and discover wild and seemingly never-ending beaches. In the evening, you will return to your guesthouse and enjoy a dinner at the guesthouse.
Day 7 7 : MIMIZAN - ATLANTIC COAST - LANDES - 5 hours ridingAnother fantastic day's ride where you will have a chance to discover more of Landes' beauty by exploring the largest forest in Europe. Emerging from the dense canopy, you will ride through vast open spaces before finding yourself once more on the deserted beaches; you will finish your ride at around 19:30 - in time to watch the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean. Over these last 2 days, depending on the season, weather conditions and tides, you will have the chance to bathe, with the horses, in the lakes and ocean that you pass.
Day 8 8 : LES LANDES - BORDEAUX - EUROPEAfter breakfast and a farewell to your guide, you will be taken by shuttle to Bordeaux, for flights after 13:00.
Dates & prices
- Flights to your destination (international/domestic) are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates.
- Rates are per person, based on a combination of triple bedrooms and double twin bedrooms and possibly a shared bedroom for 3-5 beds. If you are travelling with a riding partner, we can guarantee a double or twin bedroom and no dormitory accommodation with a supplement.
> There is no single supplement for solo riders willing to share. To guarantee a single room, the supplement is:
€170/£150 April, May, June and September, October or €210/£185 in July.
> To guarantee a double room, the supplement is:
€70/£60 April, May, June and September, October or €105/£90 in July.
> Single, Double and Twin bedrooms are available everywhere excluding the Mountain Guest House if the group is bigger than 8 riders (second night)
- Groups are made up of 4-8 (max.) international riders plus guides.
- Please note: the ride will also confirm for 3 riders on payment of a supplement of c. €200/£175 per person. Once the group has reached 4 people, we will remove this supplement from your invoice and refund you if you have already paid it.
- Airport transfers are not included and are €90/£80 return. Transfers are scheduled at specific times, please make sure to check the itinerary before booking your flights. Payable locally.
- There is a maximum rider weight of 95kg/ 14st 13lbs/ 209 lbs
- In the case of extreme weather, the rides itinerary may be done in reverse.
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.
1 English speaking tour leader
1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider
In the restaurants, two glasses of wine or two sodas, tea or coffee. Wine and soda drinks are included in all picnic lunches.
Price doesn't include
Small group supplementary charge for groups 3 riders (see price details)
Additional nights - see Price Details for more information
Minimum riding ability
Minimum riding ability
There is a maximum rider weight of 95kg/ 14st 13lbs/ 209 lbs
Tacking ability and participation
Trip conditions and Requested experience
Previous experience of trekking over several days is strongly requested.
It is recommended that for riders who are not riding regularly, to get back in the saddle and get riding fit before the trip.
Helmets are MANDATORY.
We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.
Dinner is organised by the stables. Please note the first dinner at a local restaurant is not included and you will be able to select from a "a la carte" menu.
Guide and local team
- A riding helmet is compulsory and we recommend that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. Helmet makers (GPA, HKM, LAS Helmets, Lamicell, Troxel, Equithème) now offer horse-riding helmets that are ventilated, strong, light and comfortable.
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana for protecting your neck and face from the sun, wind or rain
- Warm hat for cold evenings/days
- Thermals in case of cold weather
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun or extra warmth
- Down jacket or gilet for cold evenings
- Swimsuit - for swimming/bathing
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm polar fleece or equivalent (plus a spare in case one gets wet)
- Waterproof jacket - rain can be difficult to predict and it's better to be prepared. In the mountains the weather can change quickly
- 2 pairs of lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Waterproof over trousers
- Casual clothes for the evenings (jeans or walking trousers)
- Thermal trousers for cold days or for sleeping in
- A swimming costume may be useful for impromptu dips in the lake and washing in the river
- Non-irritant cotton or synthetic underwear
Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- Lightweight shoes or trainers for the evenings
- Several pairs of warm socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind or rain whilst riding
- Pyjamas or tracksuits for sleeping in
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lip balm etc)
- A soothing cream may be useful to treat areas irritated by long hours in the saddle
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
Other useful items
- Water bottle (1.5 litres or 2 equivalent)
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Protein or cereal bars for the longer stretches of riding
- Toilet paper and a lighter to burn it after use
- Swiss army knife or equivalent (in checking-in luggage!!)
- Small plastic bags for you rubbish
- Ear plugs (may be useful)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- A pair of binoculars
- Medical kit
- 1 pair of medium saddlebags
- Hard hat
Make sure any allergies (to medication or otherwise) and clearly stated in your medical kit
- Any medication you regularly take
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhea medication
- Vitamin C tablets
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Eye drops
- Hydrating/ soothing cream
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc..
- 10cm wide bandage
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel
- The airline allows only one bag to be checked-in per passenger. Make sure it weighs no more than 20kg; if it exceeds this weight, you will have to pay excess luggage fees at check-in
- Hand luggage is limited to 7kg (measuring 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm), it mustn't contain any sharp objects (knives, scissors, nail file or nail scissors, etc.) and the quantity of liquid allowed per passenger is limited to 100ml per container.
In your hold luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant over 100 ml and all bottles can be decanted into small, clear, plastic Ziplock bags. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- In your hand luggage carry any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes is highly recommended - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
Visa & Health
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.
The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don’t need a visa to enter France.
The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
For up-to-date information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france/entry-requirements
Did you know?
Did you know?
The Pottok pony is native from the Basque country, where you will ride for a couple of days during this trail riding holiday in France. It survived several glaciations in the Pyrenees and has remained small and sturdy – in fact; it bears a huge resemblance with the prehistoric horses that are painted on the walls of the local caves. Over the centuries, the Basque people learned to tame the Pottok pony for farming purposes. “Pottok” means “little horse” in the Basque language, and the breed features prominently in the local stories and legends.
The National Pottok society was born in the 1970 and ensures that this fabulous little horse lives through the ages – on this trail ride in the Pyrenees, you may be lucky enough to spot semi-feral herds living freely in the mountains.