Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How NOT to Ride a Horse

Annette and I recently arrive home after a long weekend at an "estancia" (ranch/farm/plantation) in the province of Corrientes, Argentina. Our friends, Terence and Noelia, invited us along with the Borghetti family. Esteban and Elizabeth Borghetti have been working with us to set up the youth leadership institute for the last 3 years and have become close friends. Their three girls are almost like nieces to us.

The estancia is in the province of Corrientes, N.E. Argentina, an 8 hour drive from Buenos Aires. The landscape was nearly 100% rural and agricultural and a bit like Kansas or Oklahoma... flat green farmland, trees only where planted, sky everywhere you looked and and every once in a while some low rolling hills. (map=> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentina#Administrative_divisions)

We arrived around 10:30 pm after getting a flat tire and changing it (see pics). This happened just 4 miles from our destination on a dirt road in the dark with mosquitos sucking our blood to their little hearts content.

Every morning after breakfast we went out to the stables where Pucheta, the gaucho cowboy, had horses saddled and reading to ride. The first morning Annette decided to run instead of ride. As the rest of us passed her on our horses she waved and began to jog behing us just as my horse spooked and shot forward into a gallop. I hadn't ridden in years but wasn't too scared because the horse ran smooth and i used the reins to pull it around in a wide 50 yard circle and came up along the rest of the group but when I pulled back and said "Whoa" the horse shot forward into the fastest gallup i've ever experienced and straight toward a stockyard fence. Pulling the reins back to slow him and to the left to turn him away from the 6-foot high fence, I called to Esteban Borghetti for help but just then the saddle slid left and began to go under the horse. Yikes. Somehow I swung my left leg over the top of the horse and pushed off into the air and toward the ground on the right on the galloping horse. I hit hard but rolled and stood up. Everything seemed to be intact as I heard Annette's scream echo off into the distance everyone gathered around my and asked how I was. Pucheta road up on his horse got my saddle back in place, cinched it well and said urged my to get back on. But my leg muscles were tight and my forearms cramping so, as embarrassing as it was, I declined. Annette and I and walked back to the main house where I changed into a bathing suit and jumped into the cold pool to calm the bruised and aching body I was dragging around.

Since the bruises were on my back and rump, Annette took a photo of them to show to me (somehow seeing the bruises legitimized my aches).

Annette and the rest of the group went horseback riding most mornings, came back and ate lunch and swam with me and then usually a smaller group went out again. After a couple days I was able to get back on a horse and have fun with everyone else again.

Annette rode approximately 13 hours total during her 4 outings and had a blast. She kept singing the 80's pop song by Boys Don't Cry, "I wanna be a cowboy" but changed the lyrics to "I wanna be a COWGIRL, and you can be my cowboy". She literally sang it out loud as she rode the horse (and not just once). In case you've forgotten this forgettable song, here's a reminder: www.youtube.com/watch?v=s05jcrJw0as

Hope you enjoy the pics (click here) as much as we enjoyed the weekend... but with less contusions :-)

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