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Hi! We are Sarah, husband David and our dear friend Erica. We are very lucky to live on a beautiful farm in a picturesque part of south west Normandy, which we share with Cosmo the dog and a herd of twelve rare Rocky Mountain horses. The farm is less than one kilometre from the village of Ger, and comprises twelve hectares of undulating pasture and woodland and three large ponds - two with carp and one for swimming. We met in Devon, England, when Sarah and Erica’s children went to the same democratic school. Erica moved to France in 2017 with her ten horses, and now Sarah and David have joined her with their two, and co-own the farm. David is a healer and Erica a psychotherapist, and we all agree that La Volée, with its abundant natural life and peaceful hidden valley, has a special healing magic. David has led a residential retreat here and we hope to run more in the future. We have already hosted a number of helpers from around the world, which we have found enriching as well as helpful, and are looking forward to sharing our wonderful home with some workawayers!
Although we love working on the land and with the horses, it is too much for three people (young in spirit but not in body) to manage, especially in the winter when the horses need extra feeding and mucking out; so we are needing people who love horses to help us to care for our equine family. They are all individual characters and love to be with people. They are kept out at pasture in a natural herd, with access to shelter if they need it, and are ridden mainly western style, without shoes or bits, using Natural Horsemanship techniques.
We are all warm and friendly and love getting to know our guests and helping them to feel at home here. Erica is very passionate and knowledgeable about horses, and many other subjects too. Sarah loves conversations about different cultures and languages and is a qualified teacher of English as a foreign language. Both Erica and Sarah are happy to help guests (informally) with their English. David is a Craniosacral therapist and Reiki healer, and is always happy to give visitors a taste of his healing if desired. He also loves to share his bad jokes ;-(
There are many things to enjoy at La Volée, including spending time in the beautiful valley and woodland, swimming (in the summer, unless you are very brave!) feeding the carp, sharing conversation around a cosy woodburning stove on winter evenings - and, of course, getting to know the horses. We can take you for visits to nearby towns (mediaeval Domfront is worth visiting) and there is good walking and riding (for experienced riders) in the surrounding countryside.
We will spend time with you as you familiarise yourself with the horses, and although we are not qualified riding teachers, Erica and Sarah are generally willing to help with some beginner’s riding, or if you are experienced we may be able to take you on rides out (please note that for various reasons we can’t guarantee that it will always be possible to ride).
The main help we need in the winter is with the horses. They need feeding, mucking out, exercising and grooming. Previous experience with horses is definitely preferred, but not absolutely essential as we are happy to teach you how to interact safely with them. You will need to be calm and sensible, able to work outdoors even if it’s wet or cold (though most of the tasks can be done in covered areas), and willing to learn. If you are an experienced rider, exercising our riding horses is a possibility. We are also starting to train our five young horses, so help with that might be welcome if you have some experience. We use natural horsemanship methods and will show you what we do.
We also need help year round with land, building and garden maintenance. Anyone with building/maintenance skills is especially welcome!
In the winter helpers will probably stay in our large comfortable guest house, which has a good kitchen, large living room with wood fired heating, five bedrooms and bathroom. There’s often at least one other person sharing the house. If the farmhouse is fully occupied, you might stay in one of Erica’s guest bedrooms, sharing her kitchen. Sometimes in the summer accommodation is in a comfortable caravan with easy access to kitchen and bathroom. Please note, no smoking in the guest house or caravan please.
Regarding catering, we find it works best for us if helpers are fairly independent. We prefer you to prepare the majority of your own meals (we take you shopping and pay for your groceries), but we do enjoy sharing some meals together, and always pleased if you want to cook something for us! Although we eat (ethically sourced) meat ourselves, we are happy to host vegetarians and vegans.
We can collect helpers from the station in Flers (about half an hour away). There are regular trains from Paris, which is 2-3 hours away. There are also buses and trains to Flers from Caen ferry port.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week