This evening I feel thoroughly worn out in the nicest possible way. In the land of the Chagras (an Ecuadorean brand of cowboy), I spent a fantastic afternoon horse riding through the Andes in the region of Cotopaxi, gently plodding along smelling roses, mint and eucalyptus and using my height advantage to gaze at the rolling green hills and breathtaking volcanoes.
Mostly walking, interspersed with the occasional exhilarating gallop, it was perfect for my intermediate riding level. The area caters for all standards; there are immensely docile and well-behaved horses for beginners along with superbly responsive ones for experts. This particular hacienda has a lot of teenagers and families visiting to ride for anything between an hour and a month! I’m positive my inexperienced and thus bruised posterior could not withstand a month, despite the sheepskin-lined saddles, but for horse lovers, I’m convinced this would be a dream come true.
Returning home (that’s how it feels staying in one of these traditional haciendas) I enjoyed a delicious home-cooked meal, glass of wine and soaked my tired muscles in the hot tub; utter bliss!
Having had a busy day before my ride watching the cows being milked and playing with the two gorgeous sheepdog puppies who live here, I think it’s time to go to sleep in my cosy fire-lit room so I can wake up refreshed to my spectacular view of the mountains in the morning. Not a bad first day in Ecuador!