Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Trek Day 4

Thursday 3/7

Thursday it was time to get back in the saddle, but Liz had offered to let me use her jell-seat cover, so I was cautiously optimistic.  Wow, it made all the difference, and the rest of my ride was vastly more comfortable than it had started out to be.

We had an early start today, we needed to be riding by 7:30 I think.  Liz and the wranglers went down before sun up to hay the horses and get them rounded up.  They were saddled by the time we arrived after an early breakfast. 

This pasture too had an interesting approach - a little narrow wooden bridge.  I guess on Tuesday when they rode in they had the choice to ride across or dismount.  Teri has a funny series of photos of Ariel riding across on his horse, leading the pack ponies - only the ponies decided NO WAY once they got a foot on the bridge.  It was so narrow Ariel had no choice but to drop their leads.  I guess they decided to come across on their own rather than be left alone.

Funny thing, the horses were tied up around the pasture to trees or posts as we were finishing loading up. Patty's horse, Linda ("Leenda") was stretching her back leg out behind her, lost her footing, and fell over!  Oh my!  Poor thing didn't know what to make of it.  But she didn't panic and Patty was able to get her untied quickly, so all was ok.  By the way, we've learned a new knot to use when tying horses - a horseman's bowline - which is the greatest non-jamming knot I've ever used!

It was so quiet this morning - a smaller road and of course still early.  This section was quite peaceful.

First stop was just an hour down the road, to a cute little bar that opened up just for us.  As it was still only about 8:30 in the morning, most of us got sodas, but a few opted for a beer.   And then someone spotted several bottles of "Caseque" on the shelf. 

That is a local liquor, and also is the name of Vickie's horse.  So it was decided a shot needed to be had.  But, only 1: Dave, Samina and Vickie split a shot.  ;-D  Very much like Tequila, it's drunk with salt and lime, and they all said it was quite smooth.

It was immediately leaving the cantina that the trip took a dramatic turn for the better for me - we got off the road, and picked up a track / public trail through a number of pastures with curious livestock in them. 

Now for the first time I felt Lincoln relax, and speed up his pace voluntarily.  I really do think the footing had a lot to do with it - he just doesn't like the hard packed, gravel or asphalt roads.

Bramas are the predominant cattle you see everywhere.

Much of the rest of the day we were on this amazingly-red dirt track through brilliantly green pastures.  In fact it was funny to see all the gray horses by the end of the day had pink feet. 

Some places there wasn't a track, except those that are made by the herds grazing there.  The grasses grow in big clumps - 12-30 inches in diameter and 6-24 inches high, so we were weaving in and out of these green muffin topped bundles.

One section, leading down to the river, was not only this chunked up type of maze but also quite steep.  Either condition alone we could have handled, but together it was a bit much.  So we dismounted  -- and sent the horses down without us! 

Groups of 2 or 3 had to go at a time because the near side of the river below only had enough space for a few riders at a time.  So the group would send their horses down and the riders made their way behind. 

Ariel and Samina had ridden down first and were down there to catch the horses and help get the riders mounted and send them across the shallow river.

The walk down was somewhat challenging, but Dave found a stick and Ariel sharpened the bottom of it with his machete so that it would get traction in the soft clay type dirt.  Cool stuff!

On the other side we came across of pair of horses in amongst the brama cows, and found out that the pretty little gray mare was a rescue of Ariel's.  We were in his "neighborhood", which is what was allowing us to ride through the pastures.

Look!  Our first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean!

Lunch is typically in our host's small home.  But she is the caretaker of a vacation home down the road from her, and since the owner was away she had asked him whether she could host the group there, and he agreed.

Oh MY!  5500 sqft home with a pool and gorgeous everything.  We were all giddy.  Yep, we could get used to THIS type of living.  It's a VRBO, if anyone is looking for a Costa Rican villa....

Lunch was fabulous - despite it's what we've had nearly every day.  Pork stew, rice, beans, fried plantains...

The POOL was incredible, the views to die for.

Patty snagged our camera took a couple portraits for us.

Right after leaving lunch, we met up with Edwardo - who after conferring with Ariel took us through another pasture gate and through another series of paths.  The riding today was both much more visually appealing, but also more technically interesting than the roads!

Ariel leading the way, Edwardo joined those of us in the back, having relieved Liz of one of the two pack ponies.  He's been working for this farm for 30 years. 

It was just an unbelievable day of riding. 

We rode up to the bunkhouse between a watermelon and Banana field, and one of the most gorgeous horse pastures you've ever seen.  The pasture was the horse's overnight accommodations.  All the horses spent the first 20 minutes exploring and taking turns rolling in the lush grasses.

Lincoln - meanwhile decided the opportunity to eat was more interesting than exploring or rolling.  LOL - that's Lincoln!

In front of the little house where we bunked was an interesting structure - tall pointy palm frond covered roof that had no center pole.  No walls so you can sit under it and look out all directions.  The architecture is traditional to Costa Rica and called a 'rancho' - the overlapping fronds, and the steepness of the pitch makes it water tight even in their very heavy rainstorms.  It was a fantastic gathering spot and we spent most of our time here at Jose's farm under it.  Eating some of their own incredible watermelon too!

 What a Day!

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