Dog sledding, near Rennes: “An experience to live”

At the Nordic farm in Paimpont (Ille-et-Vilaine), “no calf, cow, pig”, as his owner Pascal Simon likes to repeat, but about sixty dogs. This Saturday, August 20, 2022 morning, excitement can be seen inside the package, looking forward to go away Tethered to a kart, a group of about fifteen dogs can carry up to four people.

A love born in 1987

The Nordic farm in Paimpont has been offering horse-drawn carriage rides through the surrounding woods for children and the elderly since 2017. But Pascal Simon’s passion is nothing new. “ I had my first sled dog in 1987”, he recalled. After living in Alaska for a while, the animal friend became a sled dog driver and went to ski resorts.

“Tigne, Courchevel, La Plagne… All the resorts want to offer this activity. » The career of the young Quimperois seems to be all over the map. This does not count the birth of his first son, in 1996. “He is allergic to dog hair. I have to choose! », Laughs Pascal Tison, who started a career in the field of transport, while the family settled in the Paris region.

Each team includes about fifteen dogs. Everyone can thus exert themselves but also rest. | WEST FRANCE

“Being a musher is pretty obvious”

“We want to go back to Brittany. We found this farm that had been abandoned for thirty years and jumped at the chance. » Together with his wife Marise, who is of Finnish origin, they retype the building and offer guest rooms, in addition to walks. “I always wanted to end my life like this. Being a musher is obvious »surpasses the enthusiast.

For months, Pascal Simon and his team have been rehabilitating the dogs, often placed in shelters. “People don’t know that a husky is an athletic dog that needs to play, space, exercise… They can’t live in an apartment. » In the shadow of the walls are now together about sixty animals. Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Greenland dogs, and even American wolfdogs, are all fed by the farm team.

“We take care of it every day”, explains Judith Casassus, trained animal keeper. Ural, Loko, Maya… The 30-year-old knows their names inside out. “They all have a particularity, but it took me a while to remember them all”, he smiled. Six walks are planned this morning, while the last few weeks have been calm.

“There is no question of taking them during a heat wave”introduced the master of the place, back from a three-week trip to Lapland. “I am preparing to open our two sites on site, in a farm at the foot of a ski resort”, he announced. An imminent departure that feels like a return to basics. “I started my love in the snow, I ended it in the snow”, concluded the Breton. However, there is no question of stopping his activity in Brittany, his son will take over the farm if his father leaves.

Pascal Simon has a special relationship with his animals. Everyone knew him and followed him completely. | WEST FRANCE

The country of Santa Claus

A destination that does not arouse the curiosity of the visitors of the day. “We really want to go to Lapland, but not the same budget…”, compare Adeline and Christophe, back from walking. The parents of five-year-old twins, Combebourg is full of praise for the day’s activity. “It is an experience to live. We love animals and it’s nice to discover them in this condition. »

Off to the side, Carmen and David pondered the team, ready to go on the morning’s last trip. From Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône) and passing through the region, the parents of a six-month-old girl took information for Lapland from Pascal. “The experience should be stronger. » The appointment was made for the land of Santa Claus.

Information: 35 Rue du Chevalier-Lancelot-du-Lac, 35380 Paimpont. Such. 06 83 99 31 46

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