Riders on a trail ride in the Loire Valley, France

Pays de la Loire - Cadre Noir of Saumur

Enjoy an exceptional and unique horse riding holiday in Saumur as you are welcomed into life behind the scenes of the famous Cadre Noir riding school. The Cadre Noir de Saumur is world renowned for its incredibly complex horsemanship. Meet the expert ecuyer, attend private clinics and have a chance to ride the schools' international eventing courses. Experience a trail ride through western France's stunning countryside, follow the river Loire and take in the sights that unfold along the way.
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Trail Riding
6 days/ 4 days riding -
From £0
  • Riding in the world renowned Cadre Noir, France
    The incredible horses and horsemen of the Cadre Noir
  • France on horseback, in Pays de la Loire
    Horseriding holiday in France
  • Saumur, Pays de la Loire, France
    The beautiful city of Saumur in France
  • Cadre Noir, equestrian event in Saumur
    Equestrian event at the Cadre Noir
  • Jump training in horse school France
    Jumping training at the Cadre Noir
  • Cadre Noir, World renowned horse school in France
    Ecuyer's hat from the world-renowned school of Saumur
  • Cadre Noir riding school in France
    Ecuyers rehearsing for an equestrian event
  • Horseriding holiday in west France
    Sunset on the river in Saumur
  • Riding with the prestigious Cadre Noir in Saumur
    Rehearsal for the ecuyers in Saumur
  • Riding holiday at Saumur, France
    An ecuyer and his horse in Saumur



- Gain an inside look into the famous French riding school - Le Cadre Noir de Saumur
- Attend private clinics and guided rides around the famous eventing course
- Trail riding following the river Loire and see the sights that unfold along the way
- See the beautiful Notre-Dame de Cunault, a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture
- Stay in luxurious accommodation with fine dining
- Enjoy a spectacular ride with an experienced and knowledgeable guide
- See the Chateau de Saumur, built at the confluence of the Loire and the Thouet
  • Day 1 1: London - Saumur

    Travelling from London St Pancras you will arrive at Saumur train station in the afternoon and be driven to the hotel - alternatively, you can make your own way by car.

    For your first night, you will stay in Hotel Anne d'Anjou, a private 18th century mansion found in the very heart of historic Saumur at the foot of the chateau on the banks of the Loire.

    A visit to the Chateau of Saumur will be possible (included).
    Over dinner you will meet your guide and discuss the plan for the week ahead.
  • Day 2 2: Chateau de Saumur - Cadre Noir Saint Hilaire st Florent - 4 hours riding

    Your ride will start in front of the magnificent Château de Saumur and take you to the heights of Saint Hilaire Saint Florent where the prestigious Cadre Noir and the Ecole Nationale d'Equitation (French National Riding School) are located. You will have lunch at the Ecole Nationale d'Equitation before enjoying a private ride inside.

    You will ride around the eventing course in the Hippodrome de Verrie and have the chance to see, from horseback, the jumps used in the International 3 days events that take place there.

    You will then have a private guided visit of the Cadre Noir and Ecole Nationale d'Equitation stables.
    In the evening, you will have an apéritif in Bar le Canter, frequented by riders and champions.

    After a full day, you will return to the Hotel Anne d'Anjou.
  • Day 3 3: Cadre Noir - Chenehutte - Trèves - 3-4 hours riding

    In the morning, you will attend a private clinic with an ecuyer at the Cadre Noir de Saumur. You will be given an insight into French riding traditions and their uses in the education of dressage horses. Lunch will be at the Ecole Nationale d'Equitation.

    You will ride through the countryside and enjoy spectacular views across the Loire as well as visiting the Romanesque churches of Chenehutte and Trèves.
  • Day 4 4: Chenehutte - Cunault - Gennes - Saumur - 4,5 hours riding

    After breakfast, you will head out to visit a masterpiece of Romanesque art, Prieuriale of Notre Dame de Cunault. You will stop for lunch at the l'Aubergade restaurant in Gennes. The afternoon will be spent riding through the Loire countryside, passing remnants of Neolithic architecture.

    An aperitif and dinner will be had on a traditional river boat cruising from Chenehutte to Saumur. You will spend the night in a 15th century stately home, Hotel Saint Pierre in Saumur.
  • Day 5 5: Saumur - Marson - Parc miniature Pierre et Lumière - Cadre Noir - 4 hours riding

    Your ride, starting from the Ecole Nationale d'Equitation, will follow wonderful sandy trails through the village of Marson (inhabited BC). There you will have the opportunity to visit troglodyte habitations, the Romanesque chapel and have a look at the private chateau.

    Following lunch in a troglodyte restaurant, your ride will continue to the underground sculptures of Pierre et Lumière; here statues have been carved into the limestone of a labyrinth of caves and you will find the home of the museum of mushrooms.

    In the evening, you will attend a gala at the famous Cadre Noir de Saumur and a gourmet diner in Saumur.
  • Day 6 6: Saumur - London

    After breakfast, you will leave for Saumur station and take the train back to London St Pancras or alternatively you can make your own way to the Saumur station by car.

Dates & prices

Price details

No departure for this destination. Please contact our travel advisers for more information.
- Flights or transportation 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 two riders sharing a twin or double room during the ride. 

- Groups are composed of a minimum of 5 riders and a maximum of 10 international riders, plus guides. Please note: the ride will also confirm for fewer riders on payment of a supplement. Once the group has reached 5 people, we will remove this supplement from your invoice and refund you if you have already paid it.
If 4 people in the group: approx. €150/£135 per person
If 3 people in the group: approx. €300/£275 per person
If 2 people in the group: approx. €700/£640 per person

- Transfer from/to Saumur train station is not included (around €20 by car each way)

- If you sign up to the ride as a solo rider and there are no other riders likely to share your room, you will be charged a single room supplement of approx. €550/£495. You will then be reimbursed if a sharer is found for you at a later date. 

- Rider weight limit: 95 kg / 210 lbs / 14.9 st.
Please Note
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.

Price includes

Support Team

1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider


All nights in a double room at a luxury B&B in a château


Full board from the first dinner to the last breakfast. All dinners are gourmet and accompanied by 2 glasses of wine

Price doesn't include


Beverages and personal extras


International flights
Train station transfers


Cancellation and travel insurances are not included. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend to take out an insurance policy as soon as your travel is booked in case of cancellation.



Single room supplement
We are currently updating our dates and prices they will be online soon. If you want details of this holiday, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Equestrian info


Ride forward-going, well-mannered and reliable horses that are unfazed by traffic. The herd is made up of various breeds but many are Selle Francais crosses - docile, sure footed and used to the terrain.

There is a rider weight limit 100kg/ 15 stones 9lbs.

They are ridden in English tack and all have saddlebags to keep your sun tan cream, glasses etc.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You should be a confident rider, in control of a horse at walk, trot and canter in the open.

Rider weight limit: 95 kg / 210 lbs / 14.9 st.


This is a rather fast-paced ride. There will be trotting and cantering along the way whenever the terrain allows.

Tacking ability and participation

You will be responsible for tacking and untacking your horse as well as feeding and watering them.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

A previous riding holiday over several days is a plus, but not a requirement. Riders who do not ride regularly must ensure they are riding fit before the start of the holiday as there are some long hours in the saddle.

Equestrian equipment

Comfortable English tack
Some saddlebags.

We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit

Travel info


You will spend the night in either a wonderful chateau, a grand manor house or a coastal hotel. All have a combination of great charm and comfort. Enjoy gourmet picnics of local delicacies and fine dining each evening.


Breakfast will be had in the hotels/ chateau.
Lunch will be had either in restaurants in the villages you're riding through or at the Equestrian school. For your evening meals and aperitifs, you will experience gourmet meals in your hotels' restaurants, onboard a river boat and at the Cadre Noir.


The Pays-de-la-Loire region enjoys a mild climate. Having a maritime climate means that winters can be cold, drizzly and stormy, however it rarely rains all day. Summer extends from early April to late September/early October with temperatures regularly recorded at 26 to 28°C throughout July and August.

Guide and local team

The ride is coached by fully qualified state certificated staff.


In France it is customary to tip - usually this is by rounding up the price when you are satisfied with the service in a restaurant. You may wish to leave a tip with the guide who can split it amongst all members of the team.

Packing list

- You are required to wear a riding helmet and we recommend that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. There are many lightweight options available nowadays
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana

Upper body
- Thermals (long or short sleeved)
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and are an extra layer
- T-shirts
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm fleece or jumper (and a spare in case one gets wet)
- Warm and waterproof jacket - it can rain at any time of year and the evenings can be particularly cold

- 2 Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Thermals
- Casual trousers for the evenings, such as jeans or tracksuit bottoms
- Waterproof over trousers

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps as an extra layer against inclement weather. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- Waterproof shoes/boots can be useful for abundant dew in the mornings or when it rains
- Trainers or equivalent light shoes for moving around the camp in the evenings
- Several pairs of warm, thick socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, cold or rain whilst riding. Waterproof gloves can be particularly useful

Our Recommendations
- Please don't take a hard sided suitcase. Your luggage should be soft sided with a capacity of 60-80 litres. We recommend taking a backpack or similar.
- 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 (passport, camera, sunscreen, lipbalm etc)
- 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!
- Dinners will be had at gourmet restaurants and you should dress accordingly.

Other useful items
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around camp at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Water bottle (2 litres or 2 x 1 litre)
- Swiss army knife (or equivalent)
- Small plastic bags for rubbish
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)

In your hold luggage
- take any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.

In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.

Medical kit
- Any medication you regularly take
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent, preferably containing deet
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals

Visa & Health


UK citizens - other nationalities please contact us:

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.

Visas from 1 January 2021
The rules for travelling or working in Europe will change from 1 January 2021:
- you will be able to travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training
- if you are travelling to France and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel would count towards the 90-day limit
- the 90-day limit for visa-free travel will begin on 1 January 2021. Any days you stay in France or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 will not count towards the 90-day limit.

At border control for France, you may need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay, and
- use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing
- Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit.

Passport validity
The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
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.

Passport validity from 1 January 2021
From 1 January 2021, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

For up-to-date information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france/entry-requirements


It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.

Did you know?

Did you know?

Origins of the School

At the end of the 16th century, Duplessis Mornay founded a protestant university in Saumur, and a horsemanship academy was managed here by Monsieur de Saint-Vual. In 1763, King Louis XV entrusted the Duke of Choiseul with the reorganization of the French cavalry. "The finest school in the world" thus came into being on the Place du Chardonnet to welcome officers and non-commissioned officers in charge of instruction in the cavalry regiments. It remained in operation until 1788.

School of Saumur

The School of Saumur was first opened in 1814. It consisted of a military school and a second school where the principles of military horsemanship were taught. "Airs relevés,' a 'high-step" style, was officially practiced here.

In 1828, at the first carrousel, the elite performed jumper and instructor lessons. On this occasion they wore a hat specific to the school called the 'lampion' or 'bicorne' (two-horned, due to its shape). However, riders were not yet in black dress. It was first introduced in the reign of Louis-Philippe.

And that was how the Cadre Noir was born. It trained the elite of the riding instructors for the Cavalry School.

In 1972, the French National Horse-Riding School was set up around the Cadre Noir, a training body for horses and riders that focussed on studying and teaching. They were also in charge of maintaining horsemanship in the pure French tradition.

The Ecuyers (riding instructors) belong to the Cadre Noir of Saumur and are the actual teaching staff at the French National Horse-Riding School who are responsible for training and perfecting the horse-riding elite.It has been a part of the Institut Français du Cheval et de l'Équitation since 2010.