Into the wild...
The Alpes-Maritimes – a region where Alpine mountains plunge down to the Mediterranean. On the lower reaches, the valleys remain covered by ancient terraces, with vine and olive plantations, which give way to pine tree forests on higher slopes. Peaks rise majestically up to more than 3000m – even just an hour away from the French Riviera.…the Alpes-Maritimes offers splendid diversity, and the promise of Nature at its very best.
From the Mercantour National Park to the Riviera, the landscapes are breath taking. This is not Provence with its rolling lavender fields – prepare to be amazed!!! The Horse & Ventures team is part of the rhythm of traditional rural life – livestock are moved in the bi-annual transhumance. During the autumn, winter and spring, the horses graze in the arrière pays around the hanging village of Sainte-Agnès. The village is an unspoilt gem, with splendid views over the town of Menton.
Winter riding is enjoyed in these rolling hills, and on balcony rides with views down to the coast and even to Monaco.
In the summer, the horses revel in the lush green grass of Alpine pastures, in Le Boréon, not far from the quaint village of Saint Martin Vésubie. The riding is rugged, in Alpine terrain, between 1500 and 2800m altitude.
Horses & Ventures’ ethos, since the very beginning, has been to allow the horses to live the most natural life possible. The horses are raised in open pasture, and mature in the wild with their compatriots. They are not stabled, nor fenced into small paddocks, but instead, graze and wander free, at one with Nature. The equines are a mix of races, temperaments and ages, including - Merens, Spanish, Portuguese, Arab and Pottoks …….. there are natural leaders among the group of course, and the young learn from the behaviour of their elders. You can count on these steeds to enable you to enjoy your time on horseback in the Alpes-Maritimes.
Denis, local legend!, left the California coast for the mountains of the Nice hinterland, some thirty years ago. Entranced by his new home, he has been the key to a new type of horse riding, based on a unique experience of adventure, nature and authenticity.
A worthy successor to his father, Scott now takes the reins to lead adventures in the mountains and valleys of the Franco-Italian frontier. Always choosing the most beautiful options, he is able to share the gems of this wild and unknown region, thanks to his sure-footed horses which can take you to areas you could not explore on foot.
Paco is the right-hand man of the team, turning his hand to horse care and maintenance throughout the year. He is friendly and willing and offers great support in both Sainte-Agnès and in Le Boréon.
Amandine gathers the team in the summer. From October to June, she manages the « Haras des Croyeux » at La bollène-Vésubie where prepare her riders for competitions, and raises her horses and ponies.
Not forgetting our canine friends, Jacqueline is an effective “horse dog”, making sure that the horses are kept in check and that all runs smoothly.
Everyone’s favourite, Uxelle is now enjoying a well-deserved retirement. She has been a faithful friend to many riders, and passed her knowledge on to her junior, Jacqueline.