This Tuesday morning of January 6, 2014, I go to Saint-rémy, on the outskirts of Niort and on the edge of the Marais Poitevin, following an invitation from Laurence Robert, who holds the reins of Equinoxe Equestrian Relay. Laurence offered to help me discover the joys of horseback riding. Great, I'm never ride a horse !

01. Prepare the horse

Before leaving, you must prepare the horses. A rider shows me how to groom a cheval. 3 brushes will be used to clean the coat and give it a beautiful appearance: a curry comb (in order to remove dead hair from the horse), a stiff brush (in order to remove dirt and hair that the curry comb may have deposited) and a soft brush (to remove dust and hairs on the surface). The hooves are then cleaned with a hoof pick to remove stones, dust or any other foreign body. We then install the saddle and bridles. THE cheval is ready !

Julien Giraud
Julien Giraud

Laurence then introduces me to Mare on which I am going to do the balade : Licorice. Licorice is a “local product”, resulting from a crossing of a Poitou mule mare and New-Fast pony. Licorice is a Mare 7 year old who was born in Vienne (Arquentan breeding). His origins give him a solid stature, combined with the more “sporty” characteristics of his father. This Mare with a docile temperament is therefore very versatile.

02. Ride the horse

The presentations made, it is time for me to climb on my mount. In the arena, Laurence explains the technique to me. We go up on the left side of the cheval, left foot in the stirrup, left hand at the bottom of the mane, then you push on your right leg by pivoting to make it pass to the right side of the cheval. I get there from 1er suddenly, too easy! Laurence then checks if the stirrups are correctly positioned, explains to me how to hold the reins and how lead my horse. Direct the right rein to the right to turn right, and direct the left rein to the left to turn left. OK, it seems simple... I can now apply these tips in the ride before the start of the race. promenade. A few kicks of the heels on Réglisse's sides should make her move forward. Normally...Licorice seems to be testing me. She takes a few steps then stops. She doesn't seem too decided. We finally gather with the other riders for the start. There will be 6 of us in total leaving in hiking in the surrounding countryside.

Julien Giraud

03. Let's go for the ride!

Julien Giraud

Laurence leads the group, walking. We are 2 by 2, side by side. I am next to Axel who tells me the postures to hold on his cheval. Seeing that things were going well, Laurence suggested I try trotting. THE horses then take a slightly faster pace. It shakes! I am then taught to follow the horse's movement and to do “stand-sit-stand-sit” by pushing in the stirrups to get off the saddle.

Right away, it shakes less! OUR balade continues alternating walking pace and trotting pace. We walk the surrounding paths, passing a few walkers with their dogs, following the recent plantations of truffle oaks or crossing the groves of varied species along pretty sunken paths. After about 1 hour of balade (it goes by quickly), we return to Equinoxe Equestrian Relay where we come across a group of disabled people who are leaving team with ponies.

Julien Giraud

Back in the arena, we tie up Réglisse in order to remove the saddle and groom her again. This time, I'm doing it alone like a grown-up. I then leave my outing partners, after a final pat and a few caresses on Licorice in the form of thanks.

The Relais Equestre Equinoxe is open all year round. It is oriented around learning to the horse riding, at any age, for leisure or sport. Relais Equinoxe also welcomes disabled people, as well as various leisure centers. During public holidays or vacations, the cavalry d'Equinoxe takes the bushy paths and leaves for an hour, a day or a week to discover the environments and territories of the great outdoors (Poitevin marshes, seaside, etc.). Laurence and her team of young riders will know how to pass on to you their passion for these equines, all very endearing. Let yourself be tempted, you won't regret it!

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