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Big Small Journey Off on the adventure of my lifetime: 5 glorious months of sun and snow in South America, then the UK for further fun and frolicking.

The Gaucho experience

ARGENTINA | Sunday, 6 April 2008 | Views [1766]

Yay, me on a horse :P

Yay, me on a horse :P

Wow, and wow. I loved it, but there were many bad bits as well.

Firstly, the good. Riding is amazing. I went out with the gauchos 5 times (5!!!), riding the fields, slashing through tall grass, herding cows, making my cow herding noises. You have to yell really loudly at them to make them run, otherwise they just look at you with large, docile eyes and don't do anything. Running zig zags to bring in the cows in a huge paddock, chasing after the strays, loved it! I got to ride some really amazing horses; field horses, a pure-bred cuarto horse, also this really amazing horse called Nice, he was a stallion but castrated recently. He was HUGE, and really smooth to ride. Long, slow trot and canter. I even learnt to do some tricks, not very practised though; changing step when cantering (horses canter with a specific step pattern depending on if they are going left or right), circling on their hind leg, walking backwards.

Now the bad. The gauchos, after they've brought in the cows, put them through a cow bath to get rid of the flies that breed in the cows' skin. Unfortunately, to get them to go through the wash, you have to hit or jab them quite hard. I didn't like the way the cows got so scared, rolling their eyes back so the whites are showing. They also shit themselves, and sometimes the calfs fall down and get trampled all over in the whole mess. It has put me off meat big time.

Horses, while magnificient to ride, require a lot of care. Daily check-ups, cutting hoofs, brushing, washing, feeding, checking for tics. The mares are also checked for foals. And the 'covering', when stallions are brought out to impregnate the mares, that's, um, very interesting also.

Anyways, I'm back in Buenos Aires, on Monday morning I go down to Calafate again to do the Torres Del Paine trek. I'm determined to do it!

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