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Harris Horses
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Reviewed September 21, 2009

I highly recommend Harris Horses. I spent a fabulous five days with Johny and Jackie and wished I had stayed longer. Coming from New York, I was looking for the charm and quaintness of Bordeaux and to be able to ride in the beautiful countryside, and I received all that and more. Both Johny and Jackie are extremely friendly and I felt at home right away. Johnie picked me up at the airport at noon, and I was on a horse by four. I first rode Wizard and then the more challenging horse, Yobo. All the horses are extremely calm and competent as they are ex-competition horses, thus you have the added advantage of being on experienced school masters. Jackie had me jumping 3 feet and doing flying changes quite easily by the time I left. I was also able to do some fabulous trail riding.
The accomodations were also quite lovely. The Harris live in a beautiful two hundred year old house where you dine with the family and other guests and drink the local wines of the region. I stayed in the gite that was complete with kitchen, bedroom, washer dryer, as well as a television. A pool behind the Harris house was also quite enjoyable. The town of Coutras is a quaint village only 4 kilometers away that boasts a market, banks, cafes, and a gothic church. Within half an hour you can be in the city of Bordeaux, known as the Paris of the south, or the ancient town of St. Emilion, famous for its wines. Johnny and Jackie were willing to drop me off there at any time of the day. Thanks Johny and Jackie!

Yolande Makowska/New York

Stayed: September 2009, traveled solo
Thank babciaNewYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2009

If I’m honest, I was half tempted not to write a review of Harris Horses. Not because I couldn’t be bothered, or that I’d had a mediocre time during my six days in Bordeaux….but purely that I wanted to keep this slice of French horsey paradise a secret. On reflection though, I realised I had to put my own selfishness aside to help the Harris family spread the word.

Pulling into the driveway at Cure Bourse (after a pretty easy, short drive from Bordeaux airport), you can feel the stresses and strains of City living diminish as you first clock eyes on the friendly horses that great you on arrival, alongside the imposing French farmhouse. Not to mention the chilled glass of vin blanc offered from Jackie within minutes! I soon settled into my sunny double room and made myself feel at home.

Even though I was a lone traveller, I was made to feel a part of the family from the off. Evenings were spent out on the tranquil terrace with the family, eating a sumptuous feast rustled up by Jackie or Becky, drinking some fine wines from the local area and engaging in some great conversation. Trust me, if you love your food and drink, you won’t be disappointed here. The main meals which were all varied and top notch every night, were always followed by an assortment of cheeses and dessert. Thank goodness I was riding every morning, to help justify the huge intake of food!

So onto the riding, which is unquestionably the biggest draw for people visiting. Johnny and Jackie have over 20 horses here and I’m sure, a horse to suit every kind of rider – although it would be fair to say most are at the top end of the scale with competition and ex-competition horses all ready and waiting to help improve your skills.

I’d had horses as a teenager but gave it up when I left for University. Aside from the odd Western style riding holidays, I hadn’t been back in the British saddle for years until recently. I’d started having lessons again in London (I won’t name and shame the stables) but was feeling frustrated by my progress and also with the less than conscientious instructors, when I read about Jackie and Johnny and knew that if anyone could put me back onto the right track (no pun intended!) then it would be this super experienced duo.

Jackie was my instructor for the course of my six days and the difference in attentiveness and skill from her UK based counterparts was incomparable. I’m sure it helped having incredible horses to ride (I fell head over heels in love with both Ludo and Yobo) but I honestly felt as though I learnt more from Jackie in those few days than I have done in years. I was perfecting flying changes, yielding, walk to canter and even a course of pretty high jumps by the end of my stay. I never once doubted the horse beneath me and knew that these honest gentle giants (Yobo stands at 16.3hh!) would carry me safely over any fence put in their path. I have come away more relaxed and confident in my own riding abilities than ever before.
The advice I received from Jackie, Johnny and Becky (a trainee instructor) was invaluable and I hope to build on it now back in the UK. It was also a real joy to see Johnny at work – training young horses and experienced riders alike.
The Harris horses are so well loved and looked after, and without question are the most responsive, talented and calm animals you could wish to ride. I know I’ve been spoilt but I’m going to find it very difficult re-visiting my stables in London – a bit like going from a Ferrari to a skoda if I’m honest….

The memories of quality morning lessons and afternoon hacks through spectacular countryside will stay with me forever. There’s a reason why many guests are repeat visitors here (either staying in the gorgeous gite or within the main house itself) and without doubt the whole experience the Harris’s offer is too good to only sample once.

Aside from riding, afternoons were spent lazing around the inviting swimming pool or exploring local vineyards and towns. You can literally do as little or as much as you want to do in this beautiful region.

I honestly can’t recommend this highly enough – the horses, hospitality, setting and plenty of sunshine guarantees any horse lover the holiday of a lifetime.

Bon Voyage!

Joanna Spriggs
London

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled solo
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Thank JSpriggs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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