Ferme de FonLuc – Les Eyzies, France First week of April, 2018

The town of Les Eyzies, France in the background.
The town of Les Eyzies, France in the background.

Time to say Au revoir (good-bye) and Merci beaucoup (thank you very much)but first let me tell you…

What I liked about Southern France.

the equestrian trails

the food and tiny cups of strong coffee

afternoon rest/closure

the cheek kisses

the small farms with beautiful brown cattle resting on green grass

the slower pace

it’s ancient history

the architecture

the trains

no trash on the roads or streets

the gentle rolling green landscape

all the castles

church bells 3 times a day

farmer’s markets all year!

I had originally planned on staying a few more weeks in France but plans changed. Jeannie Grace is taking care of my horses in Nebraska, she FB a couple of days ago…”Your horses miss you.” that was enough. Two months was a bit ambitious. Five weeks, Perfect.


Lynx and I rode very well together. I knew we would. As I told her she may not be the most experienced horsewoman I have ever met but she knew what she was doing and took safety seriously. Her tall spotted horse Karma also did very well. I don’t remember ever having laughed as much as I did with Lynx on our ride.

Return? I very much hope so. (I must also learn more French) How much easier a return trip will be. I have learned a great deal about traveling in France . Herbert Backhaus is German and has peeked my interest in learning more about my German ancestry which came from Hanover, Germany. That would be a must when I return next year. Another ride through France? I do hope so.

he 1000 year old church just down the street from Herberts and Isabelle's farm.
The 1000 year old church just down the street from Herbert’s and Isabelle’s farm.


First let me thank Lynx Vilden for instigating this journey. For reaching out, snapping a lead rope onto my halter and leading me across the ocean. She is a brave one that one is. We have known each other for nearly 25 years and have enormous respect for each others life work and passions. You can follow her as the navigates the world teaching her Living Wild Workshops at www.lynxvilden.com

Secondly I must, from the bottom of my heart thank Herbert Backhaus and his lovely wife Isabelle at Ferme de Fonluc fonluc.com/contact for their generous slice of hospitality. Herbert does not normally lease horses but with my connection with Lynx and my reputation as a long rider he trusted me and allowed me to take one of his finest horses on a ride. I can’t imagine having taken a better steadfast horse. Ferme de Fonluc also provided me with accommodations in a small “Thoreau cabin” deep in the woods, which quickly felt like home. From my cabin veranda I could see prehistoric rock cliffs and caves across the Les Eyzies river. Rock cliffs and caves where once, 30,000 years ago, people lived and thrived. Herbert and Isabelle also have a lovely guest cottage they rent here at Ferme de Fonluc.

My tiny " Thraou cabin" in the woods.
My tiny ” Thoreau cabin” in the woods.
Thank you Flora you were magnificant

I must also thank Tuckers Saddle Company and Outfitters Supply for getting me and my gear over to France.

My gratitude goes out to the private assistance that came from Burton Robson, “Ann,onymous” and Melisia Deaver Riverea. Thank you Jimmy Prior owner of Sunbody Hat who kindly sent Herbert a hat. To Cashel Company for the fly-protection which we so badly needed. And to Source Micro- nutrients, for added nutrition on this trip, I never ride without it.

Les Eyzies, France

With the invention of graphic communication came for the first time for a message to be transmitted and preserved beyond a single moment in place and time, “Walla” as the French say. Over 350 ice age rock art sites have been found across the European continent. I just happen to land in one the most productive and celebrated areas.

france femme
france fremme 3

It will take months digesting and sifting through my thoughts after making this trip to Southern France. From Lynx’s stone age workshops to Ferme de Fonluc’s spotted chevals to the et la Grotto prehistoric and la Femme figures, my heart has journeyed places it could never have imagined before.

The timelessness of this area transcends countries, politics, borders and culture. One is left with one thought.. that life is immense, simply immense.


Lynx Vilden’s Living Wild Workshop (one week) isnow underway. I attended the evening circle last night and the night before. How quickly they have bonded into a small tribe. I had wanted of course to take more photos but it all seemed to private to invasive to be there with a camera snapping photos. Lynx’s entirely in skins, bone knife, bone belt buckle leading the class in spoon and bowl making. Using stone age methods with out carving a single thing but by using fire, charcoal and flint. They will learn among other things to gather wild foods, make fire with flint, skin and use hide of sheep and of course share with the use of a talking stick, their stories. They sleep in caves, eat and prepare simple meals together and already in the 3 days they have been here I feel the circle closed to outsiders. Lynx told me this would happen. I won’t attend any more circles but will see them on their last day here at Ferme de Fon Luc. Those attending are from France, Belgium, America, Germany, Holland and South Africa. Ages vary from a 11 to perhaps a 50 year old. I was by far the oldest in the circle last night. I have thought about them out there living so raw and wild and perhaps that is it. The time travel thing again. The world they have stepped into is so ancient, so quiet, so close in relation to one another. There are no distractions only what is right smack in front of them, the sound, smell and touch. I know why they are there, I know why this life of immediacy so attracts them for I am also attracted to it. I have for years submerge myself in it as they are now. I find the enthusiasm these young people exhibit encouraging. They too look for a simpler life creating a world that uses less rather than more and more.

Les Eyzies, France March 29th, 2018

DSC03298 DSC03300

Yesterday Herbert Backhaus, his brother Raymond and his niece Anna and I traveled to Lascaux, France to visit the most celebrated cave in the world. To have left without seeing this amazing display of 30,000 year old artistic accomplishment would be like going to Rome and not visiting the Sistine Chapel. One is left breathless, I have no words to describe the display. On the way home Herbert took us also to see the Prezwalski horses near by at a park that features the ancient breeds drawn on the caves. LOOK at my girls Essie Pearl and Spirit they are the closest living breed to the Prezwalski horse. I AM TIME TRAVELING.

Photos, 1 and 2 …paintings from the caves, #3 The Preswalski horse, #4 my girls and #5 is the horse we saw yesterday.

the Przewalski horse.
the Przewalski horse.
Horse we saw near Lascaux.
Horse we saw near Lascaux.
AND LOOK my girls Essie Pearl and Montana Spirit.
AND LOOK my girls Essie Pearl and Montana Spirit.

Lynx and I rode past Josephine Baker’s Chateau.

I have known about this woman for years, having studied about her in dance history. But to have come across this, I could hardly believe my eyes.



Who Was Josephine Baker?

Josephine Baker was a dancer and singer who became wildly popular in France during the 1920s. She also devoted much of her life to fighting racism.



Born Freda Josephine McDonald on June 3, 1906, in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine Baker spent her youth in poverty before learning to dance and finding success on Broadway. In the 1920s she moved to France and soon became one of Europe’s most popular and highest-paid performers. She worked for the French Resistance during World War II, and during the 1950s and ’60s devoted herself to fighting segregation and racism in the United States.

Josephine Baker did more than just shake a tail feather, she also fought for racial equality by demanding that her contract contain a nondiscrimination clause and that her audiences become integrated.

In 1925 at the peak of France’s obsession with American jazz and all things exotic, Baker traveled to Paris to perform in La Revue Nègre at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. She made an immediate impression on French audiences when, with dance partner Joe Alex, she performed the Danse Sauvage, in which she wore only a feather skirt.

The money she earned from her performances soon allowed her to purchase an estate in Castellated-Fayrac, in the southwest of France. She named the estate Les Milandes, and soon paid to move her family there from St. Louis.

During World War II Baker worked for the Red Cross during the occupation of France. As a member of the Free French forces she also entertained troops in both Africa and the Middle East. Perhaps most importantly, however, Baker did work for the French Resistance, at times smuggling messages hidden in her sheet music and even in her underwear. For these efforts, at the war’s end, Baker was awarded both the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honour with the rosette of the Resistance, two of France’s highest military honors.

Josephine Baker’s Children

Following the war, Baker spent most of her time at Les Milandes with her family. In 1947, she married French orchestra leader Jo Bouillon, and beginning in 1950 began to adopt babies from around the world. She adopted 12 children in all, creating what she referred to as her “rainbow tribe” and her “experiment in brotherhood.” She often invited people to the estate to see these children, to demonstrate that people of different races could in fact live together harmoniously.

Return to the U.S., Civil Rights Advocate

During the 1950s, Baker frequently returned to the United States to lend her support to the Civil Rights Movement, participating in demonstrations and boycotting segregated clubs and concert venues. In 1963, Baker participated, alongside Martin Luther King Jr., in the March on Washington, and was among the many notable speakers that day. In honor of her efforts, the NAACP eventually named May 20th “Josephine Baker Day.”
After decades of rejection by her countrymen and a lifetime spent dealing with racism, in 1973 Baker performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and was greeted with a standing ovation. She was so moved by her reception that she wept openly before her audience. The show was a huge success and marked Baker’s comeback to the stage..


In April 1975, Josephine Baker performed at the Bobino Theater in Paris, in the first of a series of performances celebrating the 50th anniversary of her Paris debut. Numerous celebrities were in attendance, including Sophia Loren and Princess Grace of Monaco, who had been a dear friend to Baker for years. Just days later, on April 12, 1975, Baker died in her sleep of a cerebral hemorrhage. She was 68.
On the day of her funeral, more than 20,000 people lined the streets of Paris to witness the procession, and the French government honored her with a 21-gun salute, making Baker the first American woman in history to be buried in France with military honors.

Les Eyzies, France – March 24th, 2018



Herbert Backhaus owner of Ferme de Fonluc, told me that he has never seen it so wet nor cold in his 35 years of farming in the Les Eyzies area. “Where is the sun,” Herbert said in his heavy German accent. His hands held up, his head turned to the sky. And indeed it has been a cold wet windy ride, not every day but even Lynx as tough as she is had enough one day.

The photos speak for themselves.

If it weren’t for the constant feast laid before my eyes each day I might have regretted coming. It is the history that is so evoking. I swear I can hear humanity calling from behind medieval shuttered windows. I can hear the sound 1000’s of hoofs that resonated on the very same cobblestone streets we are meandering along. I imagine following a wood cart filled with hay with perhaps a peasant child riding along, barefoot, in rags, pulled by a small pony led by her father on the way to market. And Lynx and I riding, riding striking, colorful horses. We would only be regarded as nobility on such steeds. Ladies.

The fortress town of Domee, France
The fortress town of Domee, France
We have nothing to compare to the Equestrian trail system here in France it is so lovely, clean, well marked and accommodations along the routes.
We have nothing to compare to the Equestrian trail system here in France it is so lovely, clean, well marked and accommodations along the routes.
Fortunately, Lynx spoke some French, Asking for directions.
Fortunately, Lynx spoke some French, Asking for directions.
We rode with Tucker Saddles and Outfitters Supply, Trail Max packs a perfect team.
We ride with the best..Tucker Saddles and Outfitters Supply, Trail Max saddle-packs, a perfect team.
Tucker Saddle taking in the view.
Tucker Saddle taking in the view.
We stopped one day for lunch. While Lynx went for food I waited against the cold. When she came back she said I looked like a beggar. And so I did.
We stopped one day for lunch. While Lynx went for food I waited against the cold. When she came back she said I looked like a beggar. And so I did.

I have found in the French Countryside the following,

Church bells ring three times a day, there is NO TRASH, and no big 4wheeler pickup trucks.

Until later, many, many thanks to all those who have made this ride possible, Merci!

Ferme de Fonluc – Les Eyzies, France March 12th



Lynx and I are off in the morning. The horses gear: Outfitters Supply: Trail Max saddle bags, packer pads buckets, hobbles, picket lines. Tucker Saddles: The Black Mountain and Endurance Trail saddles. Skito Saddle Pads, Cashel fly masks, Sunbody hat. Tangeleo Cinchs and Source Mirco Nurtrients.

Merci beaucoup to Herbert and Isabelle for lending my a very fine horse indeed. Flora is a lovely 9 year old brown leopard Appaloosa mare, steadfast and well built. I could not have ask for a finer steed, born and bred on his farm. France has an incredible system of trails, both equestrian and hiking which will keep us off busy roads between Ferme de Fonluc in Les Eyzies de Tayac to Pech Merle where the spotted horse cave await us. Yes we are riding spotted horses to the most famous of caves – Pech Merle.

Lynx is riding her 7 year old black leopard Appaloosa mare, Karma. Karma was shipped over 4 months ago from America, this is her new home. Really quite a sight!

Pech Merle is a cave in the Lot department of the Midi-Pyrenees region in France. The cave walls are decorated with paintings and engravings, from the Gravettian culture some 25,000 BC, through the Solutrean roughly 18,000 BC, to the Magdalenian era, about 15,000 BC. The prehistoric art was discovered as recently as 1922.

Many important works of prehistoric art are on display here, and perhaps the most famous panel is that of the Spotted Horses. These large iconic paintings, adorned with hand stencils, seem to be imbued with symbolic significance; it is a busy panel. The horse on the right of the panel suggests that the natural rock topography in the shape of a head inspired the paintings. This use of natural shapes on the cave walls was a common practice in Paleolithic rock art. The daubed-on dots are not restricted to within the outline of the equine figures.

Pech Merle is some 150 miles south of here.

Ferme de Fonluc offers equestrian rides, both day and over night on a selection of fine horses. Here in France one must not only be licensed to run such a business but must pass rigorous equine tests including several levels of horsemanship, farrier, veterinary, saddlery and first aid knowledge. Herbert and Isabelle have an enchanting home (over 600 years old) and also offer overnight accommodations in a lovely, rustic guest house. I find it hard to describe it’s all so beautiful, so other worldly, like a post card or a movie. I am all oooos and ahhhhs. You can find our more about Herbert Backhaus et Isabelle Lencement’s farm at:

Ferme de Fonluc”
24620 Les Eyzies de Tayac
Dordogne, France
Tel : 05 53 35 30 06

As lynx and I have been preparing the horses we have ridden down tiny stone alleys lined often times by medieval homes. It makes everything I have seen in America seem modern, EVERYTHING. Herbert’s driveway had been used by the Romans. There are caves on Ferme de Fonluc where traces of the Paleolithic in France have been discovered. Les Eysies is enchanting, everything you would imagine French rural country to be like.

As I said Lynx and I are off in the morning and I will not have access to my computer for a couple of weeks. Until then,


Au revior, Bernice

Grace residence – Lewellen, Nebraska – March 3rd, 2018

France Ride

March 7th to May 1st, 2018 with Lynx Vilden

1-Recently Updated

Whoa, time to say,  “Thank you”

There are so many people to thank for this France trip, so many who have contributed time, money, encouragement, but there are a few who must be acknowledged for going above and beyond…

The ride has been made possible by the following..Tucker Saddle Company and Outfitters Supply.


Outfitters Supply painstakingly shipped my gear to France. I can not thank Lynn Foster, Manager of Outfitters Supply for getting my 3 big boxes with saddles and gear safely to Ferme de Fonluc, France, the boxes have arrived safely.

And with private donations from the following

Burton Robson


Melissa Deaver-Rivera

But then there is Rosie Rollin whom I have been traveling with for the past 3 months- She deserves an honorable mention award. Rosie and I did 12 rides through out Utah, New Mexico and Arizona this winter. Rosie not only assisted in getting the boxes mailed out she assisted with assembling /finding all the necessary gear I needed for the ride in France. THEN she hauled me all way up to Nebraska  where her friends Jeannie and Butch Grace have kindly agreed to board my two mares at their lovely home in Lewellen. Rosie also has her retired Arab mare Maple here. Jeannie and Rosie have known each other for years, both were endurance riders. Butch’s family homesteaded in Nebraska and have been ranchers in Garden County for many years.

Jeannie and Rosie. You can see the horses behind them in the 30acre pasture. Liska doesn’t know what to do with all the space. It could not be more perfect place for my two hard working mares, they are also on vacation! THANK YOU JEANNIE AND ROSIE … THANK YOU
Horses wanting their morning Source Micronutrients.
Liska Pearl and Montana Spirit with a new shipment of Source, they love this seaweed nutrient supplement. I am going to miss these two that’s for sure but they could not be in a safer place. Bon Voyage

Edgewood, New Mexico February 27th, 2018

From “On Trails” by Robert Moor

The word for path and road is the same in Cherokee: nvnoho, “the rocky place,” a place where the soil and vegetation have already been worn away.
….we generally don’t make trails unless there is something on the other end worth reaching. It’s only once an initial best guess is made, and others follow it , that a trace begins to evolve into a trail. Thus a trail grows-a hunch is strengthened to a claim, a claim splits into a dialogue, a  dialogue frays into a debate, a debate swells into a chorus, and a chorus rises, full, now, of clashes and echoes and weird new harmonies, with each new voice calling out…” This way,This way, This way.
It is impossible to fully appreciate the value of a trail until you have been forced to walk through the wilderness without one.


My path/trail recently took me to Bear Mountain Lodge where the multifaceted art project, One Million Bones has found a home, a resting place.  I had never heard of the One Million Bones project until Pat Wolph told me about it. As a member of Back Country Horseman she helped with her horses as many members did to haul the bones from the parking area to a meadow up the Lodges Old Windmill Trail. One Million Bones primary purpose is to bring awareness to the world wide genocides which have occurred and continue to occur. One million bones were crafted from clay or paper mache by “artists” from all 50 states and 30 foreign countries. The creators were of all ages, genders and ethnicities. The website is www.onemillionbones.net


The word I will use to describe the sight is, sobering.


On a lighter note… Rosie and I passed through Silver City again and I spent a couple of days catching up on business at Pat Wolph’s lovely Casita. On a run to town Pat and I stopped at at Silver Shoe Repair in Silver City. I’d been looking for heel cleats for my boots and for the most part had given up hope of ever finding the horseshoe shaped cleat I’d found in New Elm, Minnesota years ago. The heel cleats keep my boot heels from wearing out, its the pavement walking that wears them so.  Like the horses who have horse shoes I use a steel cleats on my boots. I have been making them or rather a handy hand has been making them usually by cutting a stainless steel washer in half and counter sinking holes for screws.  Now shoe repair shops are few and far between. They are a thing of the past, have their own smells and ancient looking machines that fill the back rooms. I love these shops. So of course I must stop and visit and ask questions. David Wait had only been repairing shoes for 6 years. Once a carpenter, “Um I said, well that must have helped in becoming a shoe repairman.” A quiet unassuming man, much like other shoe repairman I have met. Maybe its the work that makes them like that, sort of like imagining a elf in the back room quietly tapping out shoes while we sleep. Any way in an old box high on a shelf were stainless steel heel cleats, the real kind that look just like horseshoes.

There they are Dave’s holding real heel cleats. Pat can’t believe my enthusiasm over new heel cleats. Notice the machinery in the back ground.

Turned out Dave and Pat were neighbors but had never met until that day. Smiles


A so my “Travels with Rosie” is coming to an end. We had our last ride at the Empire Ranch, north of Sonoita, AZ. with two of her friends from Tennessee. We have had 4 months of Southwest travel, several afternoon rides with warm sun and cold nights. We have strung out behind us a list of new people we have met that we can now call friends and many sunsets and moon rises we shall never forget. It’s been a great winter. But now I must look at my ride in France and riding with Lynx Vilden through the Dorgdone Region. The saddles and equipment have already been shipped over thanks to OutFitters Supply.  Rosie is taking me and my girls north to Nebraska where they will stay at the Butch and Jeannie Grace home for the 2 months I’ll be in France. I fly out of Denver airport on the 6th of March.


Ok until later. Happy Trails. Bernice