We are a bilingual French and English couple who came to live in France permanently after pursuing busy careers in the UK. We have always owned and competed with horses and in 2006 we bought our dream farm here in the south of the Vienne in the Poitou Charentes in order to pursue our passion of working with horses full time. We have run a small private Elevage breeding Lusitanien horses and run a small and and very friendly riding Club. Although we have reduced our Club activities and the number of horses we have over the past year we still offer lessons here on our horses and organise horse related activities for our members including training on their horses, randonnées, dressage, show jumping etc/ Yannick is a qualified BHS Intermediate Instructor and is also qualified in the French system. In the UK he undertook some of his training with the Bartles at The Yorkshire Riding Centre and in France worked as an Instructor training trainee riding instructors at the CPA Lathus. We have nearly 100 years experience between us working with horses in dressage, eventing, show jumping and carriage driving. We also really enjoy randonnées and Le Trec. The farm is 55 acres of grassed paddocks surrounded by hedges and oak-trees. We have a large barn for storage of hay which we grow ourselves and several boxes as well as a large (50x30m) fenced outdoor arena and a small X-country course. The countryside around here is very pretty with a network of chemins (tracks) which are suitable for riding, walking and biking. Our nearest towns are 15/20 minutes drive away and although not isolated it is a small rural community with few commercial facilities on the doorstep. Our nearest towns are L'Isle Jourdain and Confolens, both pretty and historic on the river Vienne.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Volunteers here can make great progress with their horse riding skills, whatever their level and whatever their discipline, and expert, professional tuition from Yannick, which is all free. You can also learn or improve skills of ground work with horses such as lungeing or long reining. There is also the chance to experience carriage driving or improve on existing carriage driving skills. Horse care and management are all part of the daily routine here and volunteers gain from the daily contact with a wide range of horses and ponies and widening their stable management experience. Yannick is also a qualified examiner for the FFE (Fédération Française d'Equitation) and so many of our Workawayers have taken the opportunity to train for and pass their French Galop exams (equivalent of BHS Stages), again all for free. Volunteers will benefit from the multi cultural environment here and certainly have the opportunity to improve their French or English, and we welcome volunteers from all around the world, so they are likely to make friends and gain new places to go visit as a result. Discussions around the dinner table tend to be fun, multilingual and we all learn so much from each other's backgrounds and cultures.
We get involved with all aspects of our local community and volunteers are always welcomed to join in activities in and around the village and with the wider community.
We welcome volunteers who would appreciate and join in with our busy horse centered lives and live as part of the family. We are happy to receive either volunteers who wish to help with us with the horses or someone who would be happy to help undertake general farm maintenance such as mending fences, gardening and feeding the poultry etc. In either case you should be flexible and adaptable and be prepared to help with all activities associated with the farm and Club. You need not have a great deal of experience of working with horses BUT you must have a genuine liking of animals and be prepared to learn. We have around fifteen horses and ponies including 4 Lusitaniens whom we bred and are now quite advanced in their schooling, and regularly competing. If you are an experienced rider there will be the opportunity to ride either the Club horses or possibly the Lusis but much of the volunteering will be gardening, general farm work, helping groom, turnout, muck out, lunge, prepare horses for lessons, keep the barn and tack room tidy, clean tack etc. We would ask you to help at least four hours with us, five days a week, but if you would like to do more riding or more activities with the horses it's generally always possible. We start earlier in the summer around 8:30, in the winter more like 9. Please be aware we don't consider the time you spend riding as help - you don't have to pay for the riding and tuition you get here but if you spend two or three hours riding we still expect you to do four hours volunteering help. But the most important to us is that you are cheerful and pleasant, happy to join in with whatever is going on and are reliable and conscientious with the tasks we ask you to help with and flexible when required.
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We can sometimes offer you your own bedroom in our - strictly no smoking - centrally heated comfortable farmhouse with shared bathroom facilities, but more often you will be expected to share a same gender bedroom with another Workawayer. Free wifi internet access. Meals would be shared with us, home cooked and varied, and if you wanted to cook a special dish for everyone during your stay from your own country /culture that would be great. And we especially love Workawayers who like to bake cakes ! We are not vegetarians and although we can accomodate someone who is this is simpler in the summer, although we would find it too difficult to accommodate a vegan. You would be expected to keep your room clean and tidy and help keep the communal areas of the house clean and tidy on a daily basis. We expect everyone to help with such activities as loading the dishwasher, washing up, sweeping the floors, laying the table and clearing up after meals just as part and parcel of normal communal living. You will be able to use the washing machine during your stay , generally organised on a weekly rota. We are definitely NON SMOKERS and we cannot accommodate anyone who is and we would not accept anyone who uses drugs.
Volunteers who enjoy horses and the countryside and outdoor life will love the environment and activities here. The small Club we run has around 30 members, some with their own horses . It is a very friendly place with the opportunity to meet people through the Club. For those who wish to improve their skills working with horses and riding there will be the opportunity to join in lessons and indeed take the Galop exams (FFE equivalent to BHS stages). The countryside is very rural, agricultural and very pretty. We are approximately one hour's drive from Limoges or Poitiers from where we can pick you up from the airport but if possible we would prefer to you to make your way to our local railway station at Bellac, 25 mins drive away, and we can collect and return you there. Be aware that there are no public transport facilities in the immediate vicinity and very limited and expensive taxi services. A lot of the activity here is physical and can be tiring so you should be fit, healthy and strong and enjoy working outdoors. MINIMUM ONE MONTH STAY PLEASE and we welcome those looking for longer term stays.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
4 hours per day 5 days per week. (max 25 hours per week)
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