The region has eight racecourses including Saint-Pierre-sur Dive and Lisieux, also Clairefontaine and Deauville –La Tuoques near the up market coastal resort of Deauville where the famous Vente de Deauville yearling sales are held. As well as Thoroughbred racing the French are keen on harness racing, the flimsy carriages pulled by the French Trotter, a cross bred descendant of the horse version of a marathon runner the, Norfolk Trotter and descendants of the Norman Horse.

Sadly both the Percheron and Normandy Cob are today bred for meat. As a typical emotionally conflicted Brit when it comes to animals, I will happily munch on Thumper, Bambi and Skippy, but my eclectic tastes screech to a halt when it comes to Dobbin.

In the area around Ernes, the passion for horses was hard to miss. Any field not turned over to crops or orchards was grazing for leggier cross breeds, broad beamed Normandy Cobs (who pulled our tourist carriage round the views of Honfluer) donkeys and most notably for me, my first real life mule. As a life-long lover of all things horse, surrounded by mares and this seasons foals, I was in seventh heaven.