Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Ride - A touch of Mexico - Ann Troutner

THE Ride

by Ann Troutner

I want to share with you my story, involving my renewed horse passion, with
the purchase of this pinto.

I now live in Mexico, after Arizona. Bernardo has been my albacil
(construction worker), now maintenance man and gardener, for the past 14
years. Lidia is his wife. El Rodeo is the rancho where he lives, 20 minutes
(~30 miles) from Guanajuato Mexico.

Well, we did it! I was on the horse for ~13 hours and ended with no pain. I
was in 7th heaven and smiling all day. It was a great day! El Dia de La
Cueva, every July 31st, the entire town of Guanajuato Mexico is up in the
hills, picnicing and celebrating the rains, by holding a mass in the cave.
What a crowd and all out in nature, on the most beautiful day. It was sunny
and the hills were GREEN from the rains that have already come.

Bernardo had traded for a new horse, just on Friday. He was a dangerous
(unknown) black stud. The man who sold it to Bernardo was actually on
crutches because of some accident with that horse. The first night, my El
Pinto, a stud, had broken his halter to go over and stomp the new stud, when
Dani or Bernardo heard the commotion to go out and stop it.

Saturday I went
out to Rodeo, to wash El Pinto, and to meet the new guy and see how "wild"
he is. Bernardo would ride him for the first time on Sunday, with the idea
that he very likely would have to turn back, if his horse was acting up with
people or cars or other horses, etc. You get the idea.
His new horse was
fine all day. This is THE horse of Bernardo's dreams that he wants to keep
for a long time, to ride, and not race. He was smiling all day, too.

Bernardo, Dani, his 11 year old son, and I got a late start. Everyone else
from Rodeo had left for town. So we trotted on out for the first couple of
hours. I had no trouble to keep up and we made good time. We were on the
highway with cars and buses and our horses were fine. We cut through the
mountains. It was rough turain, and again I kept up with no problem. We were
even sliding on slick rocky surface, in climbing some steep parts.

We got to the Pipila area where many people were gathering for their
picnics, etc. So far, we were the only horses that we have seen, since the
rest were all gathered where they were supposed to be. So, Bernardo asked
the police where the horse parade was at that moment, who radioed to ask.
They had just left the train station. So we went to meet up with them. We
rode down Callejon Tecolote, the original cobble stone ~500 years old
street, in and out of Guanajuato. Then we turned and rode on the streets,
where I always walk: by Plazuela San Francisco, Teatro Juarez, Jardin de
Union, and stopped in Plaza La Paz in front of the Basilica, to wait. Again,
we are the only horses seen at this point.

Then you could hear the hooves and the drum/trumpet band coming. We watched
everyone go by, meaning we saw all the horses and equipment and outfits and
cowboys before we entered the line in the back. I enjoyed that. There were
five of us women that day. I didn't know any of them and only saw two of

We rode through town with the 300 horses to Presa de La Olla, up into
the hills, to La Cueva and the Bufa. It was interesting to watch all the
horses and keep mine under control. And Bernardo was so pleased that his
unknown went well all day. He will keep it, and likes it so much, like me
with mine. Then the next hours were riding in line, up to the hills. After
the mass was held in the cave, for every year since 1650, we spent the
afternoon watching cowboys on horses, doing things with chickens to
entertain us. You see, we are still on our horses, but standing in rows to
watch the entertainment. What a cultural scene it was.

So, now it is time to ride back to Rodeo. We meet up with the Rodeo crowd to
return. That was a different route with other riders, namely Bernardo's
brother, Jose. The next day Bernardo told me that his brother told him, that
he now believes it is true, that Ana Trucha (me) does know how to ride, and
can be trusted to do so. Bernardo had told his brother about our route
through the mountains to get to Guanajuato, which Jose knows how rough it
was, and how I was still fine on my horse, trotting home on the way back,
after hours of being on the horse already.

Bernardo can be proud of me. I made a good impression on everyone (who might
care). I am proud to have been bareback, on such a beautiful pinto stud.
Also when some guy would ask me where I had ridden from, and I would answer,
Rodeo, they knew what that meant and took another look.

On the ride back to Rodeo, we were letting the horses drink in a stream. El
Pinto's knees slowly collapsed under him and I was in the water up to my
neck. I found 1 cup of sand in my pockets and shoes. There was still enough
sun and daylight to dry off and not feel cold. The joke was how I had gotten
completely wet, after being well prepared to stay dry in a rain. I have a
small pack, tied on my "sillin" (bareback pad) that I ride with all the
time. It has a rain poncho, because you don't know when it will rain
suddenly, and it usually does. But very funny for others to watch this kind
of thing that happens. Bernardo was kind enough to remind me of the ride we
were on a year ago, where he swung his leg over the saddle to mount, but he
went completely over to the other side, and onto the ground on his butt. It
was a tall horse and he overshot. Very funny for others to watch.

The next Sunday I went riding with Bernardo, along the river at Rodeo, and
to a little store in Tejaban, to buy cold drinks. We then turned home for
chicken mole dinner and Lidia's fresh tortillas. On the way back Bernardo
asked, "Ana, would you like to try my horse?" I was honored and, yes, I did
want to ride Santanas. He was so big, and so strong, and so alive. I
galloped him, sliding to a stop a couple of times, to try him out, and to
let Bernardo see his horse run. You see, when you are on your own horse, you
don't get to enjoy how it looks, like the other riders do.

I hung back and happily chatted with Bernardo the rest of the way home.
Close to his house came Jose, his brother, with Adan, his 15 year son,
riding their horses to Tejaban. Santanas got very excited, and reared up
three or four times, with me calmly trying to pull him down and move him
away from Jose's mare, and on home. Well, Bernardo commented that now
nothing more needs to be said to his brother about my abilities, since Jose
could see right in front of him.

Actually, I have never been on a rearing horse before. I am surprised at how
easy it was. Now, I want to train El Pinto to rear on command. And of
coarse, I am looking forward to be a part of this tradition again.

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