* Transhumance = seasonal migration -moving a herd of horses to or from the higher pastures
L’ecrin des Cimes offers a truly unique and timeless experience, which will combine your inaccessible dream of a ranch trip and your desire to discover the Merens horses and the mountains differently: The Transhumance*
This exceptional adventure (for riders who have mastered the three gaits) is proposed just twice a year, at the beginning of June and the end of September.
You will experience the great trip of our herd of horses as they travel to or from the valley to the higher pastures for the summer. You will be as one with one of our Merens horses, which will be your partner for this beautiful quest of freedom (ridden, of course without bit!).
Prices, as well as practical information and documents can be telecharged here
Our journey takes place in the mountains and the scenery truly takes your breath away; rivers, peaks, rocks and grassy slopes roll under the hooves of our horses.
Experienced and at ease with this terrain (this is where they passed their first months of life), our Merens are our eyes and our feet in this sometimes difficult landscape, which they glide over with ease.
The jingle of bells follows us, pushes us, carries us, and we feel incredibly small, sometimes overtaken by the energy of the herd.
Everyone plays a role, does a job with the aid of their horse, which knows, anticipates, and understands. You have to let go, accept to be taken and blow hot and cold to try and channel the tide of black manes.
Between moments of contemplative silence and adrenalin highs, the riders experience an extraordinary adventure, which we know is never the same because it is driven by the energy of freedom.
We are welcomed for two nights at ‘l’auberge du Nabre’
Jackie and her husband, who is a sheep farmer, always reserve us a comfortable place in one of their two warm dormitories. They provide excellent traditional meals based on local produce (please remember to inform us of any food allergies, which will be taken into account).
The atmosphere is friendly. If it’s cool outside we are cocooned by good smells, wood and stone, and if the evenings are warm there is a terrace full of flowers where we can watch the night fall.
You just need to remember a sleeping bag, as well as some comfortable clothes and shoes in order to enjoy your nights at the auberge.
Our horses pass the night either beneath our windows or a little lower down in the village.
It is possible for your family to join us for meals, or even overnight.
Lunch on the second day is eaten at the foot of the higher pastures ‘pont de pierres’ (bridge of stones). After an ascent through the woods, the landscape suddenly opens up before us. Here is the ‘Mourgouihou’, a small stream, a tributary of the Ariège, which snakes around us ready to welcome horses and riders for a moment of refreshment after the hard work of the morning.
During our ascent, our caterers will have lit the fire and put the beers to cool … Upon our arrival the meat will be on the barbecue, potatoes in the embers and the camembert melted to perfection. Mouths will be watering, particularly those of our pedestrian helpers, who come to help with the herd and share these special moments with us.
In the spring, as we eat our meal, we see the herd slowly disappearing into the distance. In the autumn, we watch out for silhouettes descending down the mountain, galvanized into action by those who came to move them down earlier that morning.
Our horses wait under the pine trees, peaceful in the midst of the hustle and bustle. They know that this is the mid-point of the journey and that in a few hours they will have to head back towards the village.
Three days to understand the herd better – their codes and the language of horses.
Three days to touch, observe and (of course) ride our small black horses.
An out of this world experience, at the speed of the horses, a break from our society where everything happens so quickly. Let yourself be transported by the rhythm of the mountain horses, and be guided through this journey, which will perhaps take you further than you ever imagined.