We are vegetarians living on a small farm in the beautiful Charente countryside, running a charity and caring for our mostly rescued horses, dogs, cats and wildlife. Our property is within walking distance of the village of Pressignac, and within cycling distance of a large leisure lake with sandy beaches, swimming, boat hire, riding stables and bars/restaurants.
Our charity provides information and support for anyone dealing with a horse with laminitis, EMS or PPID. We are particularly interested in hosting vets, vet students and anyone with an interest in laminitis, horse health and horse foot care. Several student vets have stayed with us (we can host vet students looking for non-clinical EMS with horses) and enjoyed being involved with active laminitis cases and rehabilitations.
Andrea (51) runs the charity, and looks after our horses and other animals. Martin (60) took early retirement from lecturing in artificial intelligence at Bournemouth University, where he was a PhD supervisor and external examiner. He continues to keep up to date with AI, but also grows organic fruit and veg, brews his own beer and bakes excellent bread.
Our property is an old farmhouse, with a gite at one end, a large garden for the dogs, a large barn for the horses, outbuildings and around 3 hectares used for grazing and hay making. We currently have 2 horses, 1 pony, 1 dog, 2 cats, and wildlife that includes nesting barn owls and many hedgehogs.
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
Visitors will be able to get involved with the work of the laminitis charity, to learn about laminitis, EMS and PPID, hoofcare/trimming and nutrition based on the latest published research, and possibly to take part in laminitis rehabilitations, and to learn about general horse care and work with horses and other animals. They will also have the opportunity to discuss artificial intelligence and computing with a university lecturer/PhD supervisor. They will experience life in an unspoilt, rural area of France with an abundance of wildlife, and have the opportunity to practise their English with us (we speak English and basic French), and French locally.
We are looking for around 4 hours help per day – this is flexible - and might include helping with the horses (mucking out, grooming, changing rugs, feeding, helping to exercise, cleaning tack), dog and hedgehogs, gardening, housework and help with cooking/washing up, helping with gite change overs, helping with the running of the laminitis charity – basically helping us with whatever we have to do. Work with the animals tends to be in the morning and evening, particularly in hot weather. Helpers must love animals and nature and be happy around dogs (we have a very friendly young Gordon Setter). We are looking for helpers to stay 1 – 3 weeks.
Rescued pony Dolly is currently with us for rehabilitation, and helpers with experience with horses who might enjoy getting involved with a laminitis rehabilitation case would be particularly welcome. Helpers may get the chance to go on visits to local rehabilitation cases too.
We are trying to improve our French, so French speakers would be welcome.
We sometimes have a need for specialist skills, such as tree surgery, roofing, plastering or tiling, or need some "muscle", e.g. to help put in fence posts, hang gates or dig out ditches, so please let us know if you can offer particular skills or experience that might be useful on a small farm with a gite.
English. Some French.
Helper accommodation might be in the gite or in the main house, depending on gite bookings (when the gite is let out helpers have the downstairs bedroom with a double and single bed and en-suite shower room, and share kitchen, dining room and lounge with us). All bedrooms are en-suite with English satellite TV and WiFi broadband. All meals are provided, often using our home grown organic fruit and veg – note we are mostly vegetarian but will eat fish – and cooking facilities are available.
We live in a beautiful rural area of France, surrounded by fields grazed by Limousin beef cattle and chestnut and oak woodland. There are many waymarked walks and cycle paths (helpers have the use of bikes). Within walking/cycling distance there are several bars, cafes and restaurants, a riding school, fishing lake and 2 sandy beaches with swimming in the lake and a nautical centre with boat hire during the summer. We try to take helpers to some local sights during their stay - helpers have visited the war memorial of Oradour-sur-Glane, the ruined castle overlooking the Vienne at St Germain de Confolens, Confolens Dance Festival, Rochechouart chateau, art gallery and night market, the bustling weekly market at Piegut, the newly restored abbey at St Junien, and local fetes and firework evenings.
We can collect helpers from the train station in Chabanais, and possibly from Limoges airport (we may ask for a contribution towards fuel costs).
We are happy to welcome one or two non-smoking helpers (aged 18+) at a time, but no children.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week