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Horses & riding

Heritage of heavy horses
Recreational horse riding

Traditional 'Boulonnais' breed of heavy horses
1. Pure-bred horses are reared on the chalk hills near Boulogne
2. Thousands of heavy horses used to be needed for farm work
3. Horses parade at harvest festival - the 'Karyole feast' - in Hondschoote
A century ago, thousands of heavy horses worked in north France - on the farms and in transport . Today, the cart-horse and horse-drawn plough have been replaced by tractors and lorries. But the heavy horses that once pulled loads of several tons are still remembered, especially the pure-breds like the white Boulonnais horses - descended from Arab steeds brought to the region by Caesar's Roman cavalry.

Amongst the events where enthusiasts display these magnificent animals is the Wissant to Paris Fish Race, in which teams of horse-drawn carts recreate the old rush to transport fresh herrings from the coast to the markets of the capital. back to top

4. Horses used to pull fishing boats up the beach on the flat sandy shores where there were few natural harbours; now tractors do the heavy work
5. Harvesting by horse-power...6. The Great Fish Race - heavy horses rush fresh fish to Paris!

Facilities for horse riders
6. Riding country trails and lanes in the hills around Boulogne (Boulonnais Nature Park)
7. Cooling off in the waves after a ride along miles of flat sandy beach (Boulonnais Nature Park)
8. Showjumping is internationally popular
The region's nature parks offer good environments for horse-riding in attractive scenery away from traffic. back to top

Hardelot's “Poney Club”

"Kent and Nord/Pas de Calais on Horseback"
published (2002) by the British Horse Society (BHS) describing 15 routes for horse-riders in Kent and 21 in Nord-Pas de Calais.

The rides are from 6 to 100 miles long, and the book includes maps, route descriptions, lists of accommodation, food outlets and stabling.

Avaialble price 5.95 GB Pounds from the BHS committee in Kent (01622-710582) or the BHS bookshop (08701-201918).

Places to visit:
The region's four nature parks offer excellent and varied environments for horse-riding, with marked trails and information about hire:
Adomarois - near Saint-Omer
Boulonnais - near Boulogne & 'Entre Deux Caps' area
St Amand Nature Park
Parc Val Joly - Avenois Nature Park, near Avesnes
Other stables/ horse-riding centres:
Contact nearest
Tourist Office for list in the area you want to visit - or see new book above.

Related background information
Sports & outdoor leisure




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