France may seem an un­likely place to learn cow­boy skills, but that is ex­actly what you can do at a ranch set up by an An­glo-Mex­i­can cou­ple, as dis­cov­ers

Gil­lian Har­vey

Living France - - Lifestyle -

In the very heart of the vine­yards in south­ern France, a large sandy rodeo arena shim­mers in the early af­ter­noon light. A cow­boy, lasso in hand, steps for­ward – rope swing­ing – and care­fully ap­proaches the bull. With a swift flick of his arm, he sends the rope-loop fly­ing around the an­i­mal’s neck and deftly pulls it into place. It’s a scene rem­i­nis­cent of the Wild West, where cow­boys have com­peted for cen­turies at dis­ci­plines like bull rid­ing and cow rop­ing, and you could be for­given for think­ing you have gone back in time.

Wel­come to All Around Cow­boys, the ranch home of El Charro, an au­then­tic Mex­i­can cow­boy, who of­fers a range of unique ex­pe­ri­ences for learn­ers and vis­i­tors alike. Here, you can be taught to ride a horse Western style, rope a cow or set off for treks across the French coun­try­side, what­ever your age or rid­ing abil­ity.

Brought up from an early age in the Mex­i­can charro (cow­boy) tra­di­tion, El Charro – known as Car­los to his friends – grew up in Mex­ico City, where he trained his first horse at the age of 15. He has com­peted in over 50 rodeos, and his fam­ily are still well-known com­peti­tors back in his home coun­try. It was the op­por­tu­nity to work in Dis­ney­land

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