Pays de Mirepoix Riders' Association, Association loi 1901

Events Calendar

We aim to offer a broad range of events from practical riding lessons to animal care, social meetings and group outings. The events calendar is constantly being updated as dates are finalised and events are added so check back frequently to see what's happening.

The table lists all the events for the year - those that will be happening during the coming month are highlighted in yellow.

Many events are also added at the last minute although we do always try to send these out by email as well - please make sure we have your correct contact email address.

Upcoming events:

Date Title Location Description
2015-09-TBASaddlery talkTBDA talk from a saddler on the working of all leather used in riding.
2015-10-TBAStud tripTBAA visit to a stud farm to see the activities and meet the horses.
2016-TBABeach rideTBDTaking our own horses down to the Mediterranean for a ride along the beach - Postponed to 2016 as we are unable to locate a cost-effective guide, if anyone knows a guide near a beach that allows riding / swimming with horses please let one of the committee know!

and recent events you may have missed:

Event Review
Friday 13th November 2015Carriage drivingPlateau de Sault (Freia's)Introduction to carriage driving - how to put on and use the harness on both a mule and a horse, then taking both out with the chance to have a 'feel' of driving. Bring and share lunch.
Wednesday 11th November 2015Toulouse racingToulouse hippodromeAn afternoon at the flat and jump racing in Toulouse with a meal in the restaurant overlooking the course.
Saturday 26th September 2015Mountain ridePlateau de SaultTaking the horses up into the Pyrenees for a two day ride at altitude and in spectacular scenery
Friday 4th September 2015BBQAigues Vives (Jacqueline's)Autumn welcome-back barbecue when the summer holiday madness is over!
Sunday 28th June 2015Fun dayAigues VivesThe annual PaMiRA fun day - see the photo gallery for what happens!
Thursday 11th June 2015First aid for horsesBalestié - Karen Pead'sInstruction on basic first aid for the horse including bandaging
Sunday 7th June 2015Toulouse RacingToulouse hippodromeAn afternoon at the flat and jump racing in Toulouse with a meal in the restaurant overlooking the course.
Friday 29th May 2015Group ride at CamonCamon and Voie vertCaroline and Robin hosted a group ride of 3 hours (17km) starting from their home village of Camon and taking in part of the recently renovated voie vert down to Chalabre.
Thursday 28th May 2015VoltigeSoularac EquestraIntroductory session on performing acrobatics with your horse. Yes, really...!
Friday 1st May 2015TRECBelveze Cross country courseEquestrian sport based on the TREC (Technique de Randonnee Equestre de Competition).

It will start in the morning with orienteering, somewhere around 12 kilometres. When all are safely back we will have a lunch break, you will need to fetch your own. In the afternoon, there will be a pace control section, where the object is to walk as fast as you can, and canter as slow as you can, without breaking pace. Then is the final part of the competition which will be a handy horse, type of course. There will be at least one small jump involved.

See for more details.
Friday 24th April 2015Group lake rideLac La PenneA 3hour ride covering 14km around the lake and countryside of Belgarde hosted by Kate.
Friday 17th April 2015Dressage dayBalestié - Karen Pead'sThis is the event which has been cancelled a few times now but hopefully will go ahead this time. The format has changed slightly and it will be a clinic day but the lessons will include riding a test with discussion and marking done by those attending, both riders and spectators. An interseting and informative day with bring and share lunch as usual. Please inform Annie if you wish to attend and in what capacity.
On Friday the 17th of April, uninvolved visitors dropping in at Karen’s yard in Balestie would have met with a strange sight. A group of ladies, nearly all clad in riding gear, looking in over the top of the indoor school’s door, some precariously balanced on a bench to get a better view, some muttering quietly and all scribbling furiously onto printed pieces of paper. A horse with a rider on top would sometimes come into view, moving around the arena in different paces.
Well, what was that all about? It was PaMiRA’s first “Dressage Day” – a regular Dressage Clinic with our “coach” Annie but extended by the addition of a dressage test ridden within each individual lesson. This was marked by Annie and the spectators, then followed up by a group talk and score comparison of every rider’s performance. The session ended with practice and improvement of certain elements of the test and a chance to ride the test or parts of it again.
Five hopeful pairs hade “entered” this format – Jacqueline and Cash and Sabine and Gracie were riding in the morning, Juliet and Orage, Joan and Zed and Kath and Safie after our lunch break. In terms of the dressage test to ride, riders had a choice between Prelim 18 and Prelim 10, both pretty straightforward tests but with their own little challenges, as everyone soon noticed! On top of that, of course nerves and performance “Angst” took their toll. Having said that, with their “cavaliers” doing their best, every horse put his best hoof forward and tried really hard.
Now how did we get on with the marking? We started off being quite lenient, maybe hoping for mercy once it was our turn to ride, and Annie was nearly always at least one score lower than we were. But we soon got the knack (or the sharp eye!) of spotting the mistakes and by the 3rd rider we were pretty much aligned with our trainer, who did also give marks for trying! I won’t go into the details of everybody’s test here, but just give a general run down of where the most problems occurred.
Straightness and accuracy coming down the centre line
Accurate transitions at the required markers
Correctness and accuracy of the required arena figures
Keeping a quiet and steady rhythm
Maintaining sufficient impulsion
Not rushing the test or over riding
Keeping the horse “dressage straight”
And last but not least, trusting the caller! Yes it does help (and don’t I know it too!)

We addressed a lot of these issues in the 2nd half of our individual lessons (I can still hear Annie’s “and again” after another centre line had gone all wonky and wobbly!) and we all improved considerably when we rode parts or our whole test again. Practice and calmness makes perfect!
All in all, a great experience that we would all like to repeat in the autumn. But before that, we’ll be able to put our new learnings to the test in the dressage competion at the PaMiRA Fun Show!
Friday 13th March 2015Annie clinic (monthly)Balestié (Karen's)For those dressage aficionados who are interested it's an individual, personalized lesson based on your and your horse's ability. Costs 25,00 EUR. Cash, Karen's lovely and quiet "Schoolmistress" is also available to ride on that day (for a small fee of 5.00EUR). As usual, there will be lunch on a "bring and share" basis. Of course, spectators are also welcome.

Please contact Sabine asap, if you wish to book a lesson or if you would just like to come and watch and have lunch. If you are staying for lunch, please say what dish you are intending to bring.
Friday 20th February 2015Annual Race NightAigues Vives (Jacqueline's)Annual fund raiser fun night for the club, come along and for a small participation fee (5 euros) we run a DVD of about 5 horse races and bet 'monopoly money' on the results. Start 7:30pm. Drinks are included in the ticket price, but please bring along something suitable for the shared nibbles.
Please let Jacqueline know in advance if you will be attending.
Gone in a flash...

Not only did the horses fly by on Race Night, so did the evening in Aigues Vives.
PaMiRa’s annual Race Night kicked off with drinks and nibbles. The Haskell’s kitchen table was laden with delicious goodies to sample. The banter level was high indicating that everyone was getting ready for the evening’s entertainment kindly hosted by Oliver and Jacqueline.
In due course, we were requested to take a seat whilst Oliver patiently explained how the evening would unfold as not everyone had been before, or, could remember exactly what they were supposed to do !!
Once our “money” had been allocated we were invited to review the list of runners in the first race and then to place our bets. This year Oliver had created a computer programme to take the bets and calculate any winnings owed. Thus making life much easier for himself and Dave, his trusty side-kick!
Early on in the evening Francoise won an enormous amount of money and looked set to remain in the lead......
We continued through the various curiously named races and it has to be said that one corner of the room was particularly noisy. When will I learn that shouting does not make your horse go faster !!!!
Suddenly, it was time for the last race. Obviously, it was now all or nothing so all sorts of mad-cap bets were made and fingers firmly crossed. Was Francoise still to be in possession of tons of money.....??
I think it could be said that the final race was ridden by everyone in the room and we did have a winner who came from nowhere.... not Francoise but Alison Green who won by a mile !! Well done Alison who happily received a bottle of champagne.
All in all a great evening.
Thank you to the Haskell family for making us all so welcome !
Thursday 5th February 2015Lessons with CarolineSoularac (centre equestre)A session with Caroline Best to explore the possibilities for future training to complement the existing Annie clinics.
Friday 23rd January 2015Curry nightLeran (Sabine's)Bring and share curry night held in the midst of Winter when we'll all need to warm up a bit!
Take one chilly January evening, a warm and cosy house in Leran, a group of 18 like minded people, 8 delicious curries, a batch of warm naan breads and a tray full of samosas and you have – PaMiRA’s first ever Curry Night! And here’s how it went:
Guests started trickling in from 7pm and Rene and I (the hosts) were glad that they didn’t arrive in a big batch, given that everyone not only needed to be relieved of their coats but room had to be found for bags, hot plates, eating utensils and most importantly for the curries that everyone had kindly supplied.
And what curries! There was a choice of both Thai and Indian, in a variety of colours, spiciness, flavours and textures, that would have done a restaurant proud. Chaos reigned for a bit, while dishes were reheated on the hob and in the microwave and placed on hot plates, samosas popped into the oven, serving spoons sourced, rice served out and decisions made, where to sit. Turned out that the “jump seats” on the stairs were really popular!
Then everyone settled down to eat and eat they did – accompanied by rice as well as hot scrumptious samosas and warm, fluffy naan breads, I think nearly everybody sampled all the different curries on offer. Needless to say, they were all absolutely delicious and polished off in no time. But of course there was still room for desert, which was cooling vanilla ice cream with red berry sauce and mini coconut and sesame cakes.
Rene and I had a lovely evening and an easy time hosting. We were especially happy to welcome some members who have only recently joined (or joined on the day!) and seeing them having a good time and making new acquaintances. Biggest surprise of the night: Not a single household item was left behind, bar the Haskell’s mega rechaud “Hostess” (another kitchen gadget named by an all male group of marketing trainees...), which stayed chez nous on purpose.
So that leaves me to say Thanks Annie, for putting forward the idea for a curry night. I wouldn’t be surprised if it became another fixed item on PaMiRA’s social calendar!
Friday 9th January 2015Annual AGM 2pmBalestié (Karen's)This years AGM is going to be held at Balestie on Friday 9th January, and we are going to try having it in the afternoon to see if we can tempt a few more of you to come. Do pop along if you can, and let us have your views on what we have arranged in the past year, and what you would like us to plan for the coming year. You can also pay your your 2015 subs whilst here, as they are now due.

There will be some lovely books on sale, mostly horse related and a lot of them about natural horsemanship, along with a few other horsey bits and pieces. these are all things Kate Vetch left with me when she returned to the UK. The books will all be priced at 1 euro, and all proceeds will go to 'Dog Rescue Carcassonne', to be spent on the dogs at the SPA at Carcassonne. I will also be selling tea, coffee and cakes to raise funds for DRC.

Thursday 1st January 2015Subs now dueAny committee memberSubscriptions for 2015
Saturday 20th December 2014Christmas PartyRieucros (Milena's)End of year Christmas social evening - everybody brings something to eat, and PaMiRA buys the drinks and sets up the party games!
Thursday 6th November 2014Group rideLac Lapenne (Escuillens)All meet at Lac Lapenne for 2 hour ride then picnic lunch at the lake.
Thursday 30th October 20142 day mountain rideLa Mouline, NiauxAway into the Pyrenees for a 2 day ride with overnight stay. 30th / 31st October. Contact Jacqueline for more details.
Friday 10th October 2014Dressage testsRieucros (Milena's)Small dressage competition, British dressage preliminary 10 (1994) followed by British dressage preliminary 18 (1994). The cost will be 2 euros per session, Annie will be judging. If you can please come and take part, it's a great way to further educate the horses / ponies.
Monday 6th October 2014Carriage drivingPlateau de Sault (Freia's)Introduction to carriage driving - how to put on and use the harness on both a mule and a horse, then taking both out with the chance to have a 'feel' of drving. Bring and share lunch. 20 euros for the day. Contact Karen.
Sunday 14th September 2014Rando RazesLac LapenneAn organised weekend of walking, cycling and riding based at the Lac Lapenne between Mirepoix and Limoux. See for details
Thursday 8th May 2014TRECBelestié (Karens)*** NOTE this is a Bank-holiday ***
Equestrian sport based on the TREC (Technique de Randonnee Equestre de Competition).

It will start in the morning with orienteering, somewhere around 12 kilometres. When all are safely back we will have a lunch break, you will need to fetch your own. In the afternoon, there will be a pace control section, where the object is to walk as fast as you can, and canter as slow as you can, without breaking pace. Then is the final part of the competition which will be a handy horse, type of course. There will be at least one small jump involved.
- The whole day will cost 5 euros per person.
- Let Karen know if you'll be taking part.

See for more details.
Tuesday 29th April 2014Stud visit - Pura Raza EspañolaCosta Brava nr RosesWe have the opportunity to visit a PRE (Pura Raza Española) stud in Spain on the Costa Brava, near Roses, where we can look at the horses (and hopefully foals) as well as watch demonstrations of Spanish riding styles. We are proposing the following dates: 28th April, 29th April or 2nd May.
Please contact Sabine asap if you are interested.
Tuesday 29th of April saw the mini bus once again out in action. It was a rather dreary morning as we set off from Le Balistie to the Spanish stud farm in Rosas on the Costa Brava. But this did not dampen our spirits.
We had a brief stop at Triathlon in Carcassonne to collect Heidi. A little bizarre as she seemed to be surrounded by some rather unusual animals grazing near the car park. The clown and caged lions (poor things) confirmed that the circus was in town.
We arrived in Rosas with the sun shining and without much navigational mishap. The rendez-vous at the stud farm was for 1.30 p.m so we knew we had time for lunch. After a bit of indecision ( well , we were a group of nine women ) we chose a restaurant on the seafront, what a gorgeous setting. Despite some peoples valiant efforts at speaking Spanish we still ended up with one extra “ pollo “ and one extra “ calamares “. Fortunately this didn't seem to bother hour waitress at all.
Finding the stud farm did prove challenging but finally we arrived thanks to mobile phones. We were immediately welcomed by Suzanne also from Germany and soon after introduced to Francisco Escobar the owner. Suzanne, who spoke excellent English and Spanish, explained that Francisco had been working with horses all his life. He was mounted when we arrived, working an experienced horse. The saddle he was seating on looked so deep and comfortable (padded by sheepskin). He explained in Spanish that it was rather awkward to dismount elegantly. Following introductions all around we then went to meet the stallions.
I should explain that only stallions and foals were kept on site. All the mares were elsewhere on Francisco extensive land. So testosterone levels were well under control.
The stables and yard were immaculate and there was an air of tranquility. Not perhaps what we were expecting. There were about twelve stallions all stabled and we were given the background to each one. Three were owned by a singer called Jean Benson-ring any bells? The price per stallion ranged from approximately 2500 Euros to 12000 Euros. A dun being the most expensive due to its coat colour.
Francisco chose to give a demonstration with long reins on the rather handsome dun. Spanish horses do have a beautiful head carriage- so proud looking.
Suzanne then worked with a young grey “en liberté” he was incredibly responsive to her commands which were given with coiled rope held in each hand.
Next it was the foals who had recently been separated from their mothers. Obviously they were rather cute. After some initial hesitation they were keen to receive our attention albeit throw a metal barricade. Jacqueline managed a kiss and I'm sure Annie was eyeing up something for the future.
Finally two more horses were brought into the large outdoor school. We concentrated mainly on the stallions ridden by Suzanne. She was such a sensitive and calm rider. Asking for movements in a quiet unhurried manner. For me it was interesting to observe her seat.
The day was full of piaf, passage, counter canters, flying changes, you name it the stallion did it.
One could only admire the results of hours and hours of patient work that Francisco and Suzanne had dedicated to these handsome creatures.
We finished the afternoon with a drink, a snack and a quick group photo. Our hosts could not have been more welcoming. A fabulous day out made possible by Sabine's excellent research and a convenient connection with a fellow German.
Thursday 17th April 2014Group rideLac Lapenne (Escuillens)We plan to have a group ride (weather permitting) from the Lac Lapenne, Thursday 17th April. We would like to be mounted ready to ride for 10:00, and plan to ride for approx 2 hours. After the ride we will be having a picnic lunch, please bring your own, plus chairs etc. Can you let Karen know if you will be joining us.
Earlier in the week the forecast for Thursday was showing as rain, oh no I thought we’re going to have to cancel the ride once again, but as the week progressed the forecast got better and better. Thursday as it turned out was a perfect day for riding, a bright sunny day, but not too hot. In fact for me the ride was pretty much perfect in all ways, fabulous scenery, some lovely long inclines to canter up and good company. One of the highlights of the ride was watching Winna, Kates’ horse, pawing the ground and splashing herself and Kate in the river, she just loves it. After about two hours we returned to the lake, and once the horses were settled we sat and had our picnic. Winna joined us at the picnic table as when tied to my trailer she frightened my poor innocent boy, with her wanton behaviour!! I’d like to say a big thank-you to Kate for choosing such a lovely route.
Thursday 10th April 2014Cross CountryBellegard du RazesCross country training on a specialist course between Bellegarde du Razes and Belveze du Razes between Mirepoix and Limoux. Starts 10am, cost 10 euros for the use of the course plus a possible additional charge for instruction.
Please let Kath know if you plan to attend.
Thursday 27th March 2014Jumping lessonSoularac EquestraJumping lesson to be instructed by Heidi at Soularac. This replaces the cross country lesson postponed after rain affected the terrain.
Morning only. Contact Kath for details
Once again, I took Nehmie along, and once again, I enjoyed riding this little horse with such a big dose of character! As ever, Heidi brings out the best in us with her unstressed and light-hearted approach to these lessons! We’re not striving for perfection but for improvement, and we literally come on in leaps and bounds! I’d not jumped with Nehmie for at least six months, and she’d done very very little since October, but she showed willing and able, though occasionally a touch opinionated about which direction we should go! A definite case was made for giving her a relaxed rein and letting her get on with it, and it was fun popping over our little jumps without the background concern of how a young horse would/might react (as I’d previously done Heidi lessons with Vimto and Voodoo!).
A quick “oh heck, is that the time” resulted in me dashing off to scrub up and getting serving school lunches, so again missed seeing the second group!
Roll on next Heidi lesson – we love them!
Thursday 6th March 2014Equine conformationBalestié (Karen's)A conformation and movement session looking at the conformation of various types of horses and ponies showing how their conformation affects balance, movement and soundness. Fee 5 euros for each person attending.
Please let Annie or Karen know if you intend to attend.