In January we were vistied by Izzy, who is a twelve-year-old Canadian on a year-long adventure travelling the world with her parents. Izzy came to ride with us along with helping out on the yard for a few days. We were really impressed by her great attitude and her blog post about her expereince with us is just fantastic! Read on to see what she thought…..
It starts with an extremely sleepy me. Then a long drive up a mountain. Amazing views of mountains, high above a tiny town, nestled in the valley. And windmills. Let us not forget the windmills (or wind generators, for those of you who like to use the correct words for things, instead of just saying whatever sounds the most magical).
One does not simply drive up a mountain. One drives around the mountain. And across the mountain. And diagonally counter clockwise up the mountain, until one feels they can take no more. Then the road becomes a dirt trail with extra potholes and a garnish of rocks on the side, and one wonders why they are here.
And then we got to the farm and went “ooooooooooooooooh,” because the farm is an amazing place.
The Caballo Blanco, is as was previously stated, at rather a high altitude, which makes it a brilliant place to RIDE HORSES!!! Yup, yup, just taking a stroll along the mountainside, surrounded my picturesque plant life, on a pony. Of course, on a pony. Because who the hay wants to drive a car up there?
The farm is run by Sarah, who, according to the various volunteers (say that ten times fast) is kind of a horse whisperer. Many of the horses at Caballo Blanco are rescued, and Sarah works wonders with them.
My idea of riding lessons featured a week or so of “this goes here, don’t do this” before actually getting on the horse, let alone making it go. But approximately five minutes in, I was fumbling in circles at a trot. Okay, so basically pull left to go left, right to go right. Whistle and pull both sides of the reigns at once to stop, and give a little kick to go again. Jump up and down when you trot. Have you got that? Um, no. Brilliant, let’s go hiking!
I was riding an old mare called Jaffa ( like the cake ;3 ). She was, like, the newbie horse. Gentle and easy going, I was pretty sure she was just following Sarah and her horse, because, well, I had no idea what I was doing. We both knew who was really in charge, didn’t we, Jaffa?
I learned that horses don’t like going downhill. It puts more weight on their front, which is heavy enough to begin with, what with like, their head on it. And nobody likes going uphill with an Izzy on their back. Far too much work. They do however, like to stop and graze on the side of the road. Hey, if you saw delicious snacks sprouting up on either side of you, you would stop to munch too. Jaffa was famous for her floppy lips, which had a mind entirely of their own. Omnomnomnomnomnomnom.
Two days later, I was back again ready to “work.” I was expecting poo-shovelling, but it was really a lot of fun. Kate, who volunteers at the farm, introduced me to Molly the pony. Kate is basically one of the nicest people I have ever met, and I’m glad it was her who showed me the ropes.
This is Molly: she doesn’t like flappy things, so be careful when you put all these flappy things onto her back.
Then I thoroughly embarrassed myself trying to put a saddle on Molly, first putting it on backwards, then demonstrating that I am incapable of doing up a buckle. Then the picking of a hoof was demonstrated to me. Here, hack away at this mud as hard as you like, it won’t hurt her at all. Just be careful of the middle of the foot because that they can feel. Wait, what!? Molly, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry it took so long. You have very heavy feet. And give Bridie my apologies for dropping the brush and freaking her out. Gah.
Then I fed hay aka straw to horses, whilst trying not to electrocute myself on the fences. Apparently sometimes one of them escapes, then rallies the others for a mass horse breakout.
Since at this point I was very experienced in the field of horse riding, Sarah took Molly and I for a lovely scenic trot up some very steep dirt pathways. Second day, and I was gleefully holding onto the mane for dear life, all the while trying to keep Molly away from the roadside snacks. Oh, yum WEEDS, I think I’ll just stop dead and stay stopped for a bit, and just you try and do anything about it.
If by some chance you end up in Chite, you should definitely pay a visit to Caballo Blanco. And hay, if you want to heres a link to their website,http://www.caballoblancotrekking.com There just isn’t anything quite like walking along a mountainside over sweeping valleys, a million mile view in all directions, on a horse, while various dogs frolic around you. Yes, they also have dogs. And geese. Evil killer geese. The fun never ends!
Now slightly horse-obsessed, as anyone would be, during our day out in Córdoba, Mum made a reluctant Dad buy tickets to a dressage horse show, complete with flamenco dancing.
It was completely amazing. The first horse did some fancy footwork that made Mum (who has a history with horses) go “Oh my God. Wow. WOW.”
Then a horse danced flamenco, and more fancy footwork, but this time synchronized with a partner. The riders hardly seemed to move the reins, but everything was incredibly precise. They probably has psychic connections with their steeds. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, out comes a chariot. A CHARIOT. They weaved through a series of obstacles at full speed, skidding around tires, spraying dirt everywhere.
And then, AND THEN, four white horses came out, and started rearing up on their hind legs, IN FORMATION. And then, oh of course, they had to jump up and kick heir back legs, leaving the ground completely. I swear they were robots or something. ‘Twas a night I’ll not soon forget. However, the best part was showing off video footage to Kate, Allegra, Emma and all the rest the next day at Caballo Blanco. And even better, helping feed Molly and Jaffa and all the others, and maybe sneaking in a pat on the nose.