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Association "Les Vieux Randonneurs"

You already know that at Laboa, we support ethical, fair trade and solidarity. Then, when the association "Les Vieux Randonneurs" contacted us, we didn't hesitate to support such a beautiful commitment: to offer a nice retirement to the horses that made young and old dream!

Indeed, "Les Vieux Randonneurs" is an association which takes care of the retirement of horses and ponies of the Equestrian Farm Les Korrigans, located in Brittany. How does it work? By financing the expenses related to their maintenance (food, lodging, care...) in order to offer them a beautiful end of life.

This club is mainly involved in outdoor riding (hike, trekking...) and is also committed to the preservation of the environment. The association is the initiative of Marianne David, owner of the Equestrian Farm. It is a desire on the part of Marianne and her riders to offer a beautiful retirement to the horses and ponies that have worked in their club. A philosophy transmitted to each of the riders that the center gathers to ensure the end of life of the equines that have taught them so much.

We had the chance to talk with Sabrina Leroux, member of the association, who told us a little more about the organization and the functioning of the "Vieux Randonneurs":

- Do the horses that you take care of through your association stay in retirement at the club or are they sent to another place?

"The association has different "hosting modes" for its retired horses: it happens that some horses remain living at the equestrian center, like Vanille, the oldest horse and mascot, who walks (almost) freely in the club. We also have a field near the club, made available by private individuals, in which we put some of our horses. They are visited daily by volunteers and young people in civic service.

We try to favor, as much as possible, the placement in foster homes. These are people who are often looking for a horse to keep them company and want to do a good deed. Currently, we have 8 horses in 6 families."

- Do you only take older horses or also horses that are in early retirement due to lameness for example or other?

"We have not defined an age for retirement, we adapt to the horse and its needs. Some will retire because they have a health problem that is incompatible with working in an equestrian center (Biscuit, for example, who has emphysema), others will be retired because they no longer want to work. The decision to retire a horse is made by Marianne and her team. They are the ones who know the horses best since they work with them on a daily basis.

The retirement will be done very gradually, if it is possible, the activity of the horse will be reduced little by little, he will do less sessions and less physical sessions, until he stops working completely. If his condition allows it, he will even be able to go for a few quiet walks with his foster family.

Sometimes a horse has to be retired because it is injured or sick. We had the case with Jurassic, who broke its hip in a meadow accident when it was still in great shape. After we made sure its condition was not causing it pain on a daily basis, he was retired."

- How does the association operate throughout the year? By donations? Or are there other events you have set up? Is there an online kitty?

The membership of the club's riders to the association Les Vieux Randonneurs is systematic and included in the club membership. This allows them to pay for the insurance, the maintenance of the truck used to transport the retired riders, the gasoline, the boarding of the ponies left at the farm or the food.

The club's annual party, entirely for the benefit of the association, is their biggest source of income. The event gathers all the riders of the riding center, their families but also the former riders of the club who come for the "good cause". And at least one other event is organized during the year: a meal, a ride or another thematic animation.

The association also collects spontaneous donations. Exchanges" are also offered: visitors can pick up nuts at the club or take second-hand riding clothes in exchange for a donation of their choice.

The association does not have a sponsorship system, but there is an online kitty: HERE for people who would like to help Les Vieux Randonneurs without being able to do so directly.

- Do individuals entrust you with their old horses?

The principle of the association is to ensure a happy future for the retired horses of the Equestrian Farm. Unfortunately, for the sustainability of their action, they must limit themselves to their horses.

"We have taken on a few old "outside" horses in very exceptional situations. For example, the club bought Yoda and took in his meadow friend who was already old, so that he would not be left alone. The latter then came under the guardianship of the association. But for the sustainability of our action, we must limit ourselves to the Korrigans' horses."

- Do you have a limited number of residents to care for?

"Les Vieux Randonneurs" now has 16 horses currently retired with an average age of 26 years. With their dean being 35, they also have two other 30-year-olds.

"We've gone as high as 20 retirees at a time. It's difficult to set a limit, since we can't predict how long our horses will live and when a horse has to be retired, we can't decently refuse to take care of it," precise Sabrina.

- What does the association take in charge for these old horses, all or part of the expenses? (Veterinary expenses, maintenance, care, dentist, osteopath, ...)

The association takes care of all the expenses related to the horses under its guardianship: food, care, medication, equipment, end of life... They benefit from the same care and attention as any other horse of the club. The care is adapted to their age and their state of health, it also pays attention to their comfort.

"When the horse is taken in by a family, we ask them to provide at least "room and board", that is to say what is related to the accommodation of the horse and its basic food, and we pay for all other expenses. Sometimes, families take care of routine care (such as trimming, deworming, vaccination) on their own initiative and will ask the association for support for more exceptional expenses," Sabrina informs us.

- Does the association have only volunteers? Who are the people who make it live?

The association relies on volunteers and young people in civic service who are made available by the Association Sportive des Korrigans.

Some volunteers have permanent roles, like the members of the office. Others will intervene more punctually on an event or for a particular action (the festival of the club, a day of clearing, the visit of the farrier...). Among our volunteers, we count riders or former riders of the club, parents of riders or people who are simply sensitive to our approach. We also have the support of the team of the Equestrian Farm Les Korrigans, which is very involved in the association and the daily management of the retired horses. The association works because the club invests a lot.

- Can we buy one of your old horses if someone falls under its charm?

"No, we do not sell our retired horses, it is our assurance that they will have the end of life they deserve. We place our horses in foster homes under an open-ended contract, the Ferme Equestre Les Korrigans remains the owner of the horses. We do not ask for any adoption fees from the families who take them in. The majority of families keep the horse placed with them until its death. It becomes a full member of the family and they are very attached to it. But we know that life is not a long quiet river and by remaining the owner of the horse, we are sure to be able to be always present for him, whether it is to bring a help during veterinary expenses or to take back the horse if the family is obliged to separate from him.

Pour contacter l’association ou le centre équestre les Korrigans :

Facebook : @fermeequestre.leskorrigans or @vieuxrandonneurs56

Instagram : @korrigans56

Website of the club and the association : or

And if you wish to make a donation to the association, it's HERE 😉

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