Natalie Komaroff: the woman who whispers in Merens’ ear

His matted hair is the same color as the manes of his horses. Ebony black, a symbol of resilience, independence and character. The pride of Natalie Komarova, the heiress of the passion for equestrian sports, passed on to her by her grandfather, a Cossack rider. At 54, the former saleswoman, who works seasonally in the winter at the ski resort of Porte, will lead her herd of “Black Princes” from Saint-Cyprien to Porte-Puymorance. The 24th epic, which has already become traditional.

After a winter spent by the sea, the call of the mountains manifests itself in a herd of about forty Meren. Natalie Komaroff’s arrival at the meadow in Mas Riols is accompanied by a neigh of impatience, especially since the blacksmith is also busy preparing. The start of transhumance is scheduled for this Saturday, April 30, a week of controlled driving to reach Mount Cerdan, more specifically the Garci farm in Porte Puymorance.

Choice, challenge, life

Strong, rustic and elegant, Merance hails from the upper Ariège valley. The black color of the wool is characteristic of the breed, which drew exceptional qualities from the mountains. Docile and hardy, these little horses are smart, adaptable, and the king of versatility.

A very young Natalie Komaroff is passionate about the breed. His grandfather, a Cossack lieutenant in the Russian cavalry, fled the Bolshevik regime on horseback and settled in the Ariège in the 1920s, while his father, a tourist rider, began breeding in Porte Puymorance. She then attended college in Bourg Madame, then high school in Font-Romeu in the sports section. With her G3 bachelor’s degree, she followed BTS in a commercial promotion in Toulouse. The family moved to the Ferme d’en Garcie in 1990. “I will never forget the first Alcazar horses, Alicante and Judit, the first mare that gave birth to Joly, it was a challenge, a victory and the realization of a life project”. In 1997 she created Pyrene Equus and invites enthusiasts looking for authenticity to take part in a unique adventure: to observe this transhumant animal husbandry, “up” in spring and “down” in autumn.

“Actually, I belong to the herd”

The success is such that today you have to pay 1000 € to participate in the transhumance week. And requests come from all over Europe, there is even a waiting list for selected riders: “Watching a very enthusiastic herd requires resistance and know-how, it is not a quiet walk. You must have a good level and be able to react very quickly. The organization is neat, but there are always many unforeseen events. the leading horse is Onyx, 20 years old, he has a craft and confident hooves uphill, followed by his pupil, so to speak, Birameh, 11 years old, also valiant and generous. fiery herd, and sometimes you need to intervene to avoid accidents. Personally, I have to stay focused, I have to read everyone’s attitude. In fact, I belong to the herd, I feel their conditions, their needs. I do not hesitate to stop them when exhaustion threatens, to walk 250 km in 8 days, to overcome the pass at an altitude of 2400 m, this is a sport.

Departure 24and this Saturday, April 30, at around 9:00 from Mas Riols (between Argelès and Saint-Cyprien), a remote hunt will take place via Céret, followed by stages on Sunday 1.uh May Seret-Amelie-les-Bains, Monday 2 May Amelie-Bayestavie, Tuesday 3 May Bayestavi-Vernet-Fiyolle, Wednesday 4 May Fillolle-Villefranche-Evol, Thursday 5 May Evol-La Llagonne, Friday 6 May La Llagonne-Dorres and celebratory arrival on Saturday May 7th in Porto.

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