Monday, January 25, 2010

Horseriding in the ocean waves

There are plenty of places to go horseriding nearby and I've been wanting for ages to go riding by the ocean... but most places only accept experienced riders for those outings.

Our guide Philippe at Atlantic Equitation
Our guide Philippe
But in September 2009 I managed do make my dream come pretty much true... with Nadine, a friend, and Philippe, the owner of Atlantic Equitation in Contis, situated about two kilometers from the sea. Just by looking at my photo I think you understand that Philippe is a superguide, passionate about his horses and about this region.

Riding in the Contis forest

On one of those beautiful days he took us through a haven of pine trees with heather and ferns. The calm of the forest, the smell of the pine trees. Heaven.

Approaching the sea

Then we arrived at the Contis stream, a stream that gathers several small water streams and lead up to the ocean. We took the horses through the water in the stream, with water upp to our thighs, all the way up to the dunes and the ocean... glittering in the sun. Suddenly the salty smell of the ocean, the wind in our hair. The horses walked out in the waves of the ocean and we just.... sat there in AWE, holding on to a very precious moment. There is no picture from that moment, because Philippe didn't want us, beginners, to go galopping on the beach and that was exactly what the horses wanted to do, so I held on firmly to my reins! But for me, this moment will stay in my head for a long, long time...

The Contis stream that leads to the sea
Here I have my back to the ocean and look at the Contis stream. The water is low so the boats are a bit tipped

We galopped several times on the way back home, but shorter distances in the forest, which honestly probably was enough of an adrenaline kick for me anyway... but I still dream of galopping away on the beach one day!

The next day, another magical sunny day, I returned with the children.

A blockhaus, a reminder of the Second World War
Clara on top of a blockhaus, left by the Germans since they tried to protect the shore during the second world war.

Fishing from the shore
Somebody out fishing

Details of the stones that border the Contis stream
Details of the stone wall that keeps the Contis stream in place. All the streams leading out to the ocean, except one, Courant d'Huchet, are kept in place like this, because otherwise they move south every year because of the Golf stream current.

The Contis light house
The Contis lighthouse. The only lighthouse along the Landes coast. During summertime it is open for visitors and if you walk up the 196 steps you have a mighty view as a reward!

Contis is a small sea resort. Perect if you are in for a quiet family vacation, swimming in the ocean, riding on your bike. 


  1. Quand je viens on refait la ballade ensemble. J'ai assez peur des chevaux mais rien que le paysage donne envie de découvrir Contis.

  2. I have a lot of respect for big horses... but this time I truly enjoyed myself... this place is so beautiful!

  3. Awesome.
    This area (well, actually the 10 kms south of Contis, starting with the stream) is in my top five of my favorite places on Earth.
    I've known the place since I was 5 and I've spend time there more or less regularly ever since.
    This place is so filled with memories (and "future ones").

  4. David, I totally agree with you! If you have any secret spots or else to reveal... don't hesitate! I don't really know Contis that well, but we go there from time to time - next post I will talk about the concerts in Contis and also about the beach vegetation...


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