October 21, 2010

Horseback Riding in the Andean Highlands

I believe we all recall my fear of all the animals on this planet - yes? I mean at times I have been known to be friendly with a dog I have known for a very long time, but even that is pushing it. When our lodge stay in Ecuador included two hours of horseback riding I accepted...with great trepidation.

But then there we were in the Andean Highlands of Ecuador and everything was so gorgeous, picturesque, and I had already decided I loved our guide, Jose Maria. I wanted to give it a try - the horses looked capable enough, yet still docile enough not to kill me.

Porque no? (Why not?)

We met Jose Maria outside our lodge where he hooked us up with Blanca and Llora, our horses. I laughed aloud when he told me the name of Kelsi's horse was Llora, which means Cry in Spanish. Little did I know my horse would be the one practically inspiring tears...
All set to go!

So we set out on this nice adventure downhill, checking out the views of the surrounding mountainside. Then, one of my stirrups felt longer than the other. I asked Jose Maria to help me fix it. He got down from his horse to help me. Blanca took this moment to decide she was not having the ride, and took off, galloping uphill. With me grasping to hold on for dear life. With Llora falling into full out run beside us, Kelsi was holding on just as tight as our horses decided to choose their own adventure. Meanwhile, Jose Maria didn't make it back to his horse before it decided to bolt, so his horse is lost somewhere in the hills. Ten minutes into our horsebacking adventure and things have already gotten out of hand.
Post-galloping ridiculousness. Still trying to get Blanca under control.
Kelsi is still loving it. And chose this moment to mention "While I did go to horseback camp as a kid."

I am of course taking this as proof that animals don't like me either. And I will absolutely not be getting on a horse anytime soon. After Jose Maria retrieved his horse, the rest of the somewhat rainy ride was filled with gorgeous views. Views that I observed from the back of a terrifyingly fast horse. While it was being tugged along by our guide - who attached his horse to mine since he judged that either me or my horse could not be trusted.

Not so much "riding" as being taken for a ride.
Clearly she was the winner of the situation.

Oh the adventures of traveling... I remember at one point during the ride thinking to myself, "If nothing else, at least I am doing what I set out to do when I moved to Colombia - having unique adventures that push me outside my comfort zone." Mission accomplished.

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