After our rapid departure off of the mountain of mischief (one year ago), there was left the unsettled question of what to do with the horses. Of course they were fine on the big property with lots of grass and water and the company of cows, as well as the neighbor that owned the cows checking on things regularly, but now my horses were a daytrip away. Yes, we had to make it an outing to visit them, check on them and see to their needs. Oh how I missed those buddies of mine! And the rains had settled into their season so it was important to be attentive on picking a day, as we had to climb the mountain and cross the river – which was flowing bigger now with the rains – as well as to capture enough sun to do what needed to be done, hopefully. As it was, we managed to get up there for a horse fix about once every three weeks or so, and then it was by sheer telepathy that we ‘arranged’ for the horses to be close enough to the road to get their attention, let alone catch them up for treatments (ticks and pest issues, etc.). When your horses are lodging on roughly a hundred acres of steep and rugged land, unbelievable hiking (with all kinds of crawly things lurking in the grasses), it really is nice to have them close to the road where they can be lured with bananas!
For the entire time that we were lodging at the ‘permaculture farm’ (our temporary place of refuge, until further notice) there was not one viable option that opened up allowing even the slightest suggestion of moving the horses into that area. Life was too uncertain to make a big move like that for an unspecified period of time (um, been there done that? LOL). However after we were settled into the Valley of the Horses (where we are living now) I was only too eager to bring my horses ‘home’, and fortunately for us there was a nice large pasture that was available for them to be in right here in this community. The only ‘if’ about it was the fact that the property was for sale…However, I was eager to have them close again and so we prepared for the ride back.
Only I would be riding this time. When we moved the horses up the mountain from this community almost two years prior, I had only just taken possession of Kinto, the Peruvian Paso paint horse, and the man that had owned him knew the country we were moving into quite well and so he rode Kinto and I rode Juan together up the mountain and to the ‘new’ abode. This go around I rode one and towed the other, as had been our ‘norm’ for the previous year and a half on the back ‘roads’ of that amazing countryside. It had taken us three hours to ride the horses up the mountain, at a fast trot the entire way (ouch), and so I anticipated close to the same for this trip down the mountain, walking part of the way. I was mentally cueing the horses in for about a week prior to the journey so that they would be ready to go, and lo and behold they were in sight and not far, and they were only too eager to be caught (?). This was during the dry time, our summer time, and so we had started out very early to beat the heat and the traffic. We saddled up both horses and I hopped on Kinto with Juan in tow, Mariposa (my Australian Cattle dog) would be joining us for the ride until we crossed the big river – after that we would be on a well-traveled road and no way would I subject her to traffic! (These folks drive crazy here.)
The horses were totally ready to head down the hill, I was a bit shocked at their eagerness to get going, but then perhaps maybe they knew more than I thought they knew? We jogged at a quick pace all the way down the hill, took a brief stop at the first river for a drink, stopped at the Brother’s (our closest neighbors) place to say goodbye, and continued on down the mountain to the little pueblo of San Juan de Dios, a fast trot every bit of the way. Mate had passed us up and was parked at the pulperia (little market) there in town waiting with a fresh drink for me. We loaded up Mariposa into the truck and Mate headed on across the river and up the hill to a vantage point to wait for me. I was still on Kinto at this point, we crossed the big river – fortunately we were in the dry time so crossing the rivers was easy – and headed up the road to the good stopping spot where Mate was waiting; I got off and checked my gear and switched horses. So far so good, the horses were slowed down now as the day was warming up pretty fast and they had run down the hill, after all, so could they walk for the uphill now?
Once again Mate went ahead to wait for me where the dirt country road meets the pavement for the last leg of the ride. I had to push on Juan to keep him at a steady pace for the steep climb out of the valley. It was truly awesome to stop along the way and enjoy the views of this amazing place that we had been privy to experiencing. My days of riding all over those jungle roads was coming to a close…and what was ahead was nothing even close to that, but we would see what the future had in store for us soon enough. Thank you Valley! I was certainly blessed to be able to have those wonderful rides in a land of very few people, small villages, and huge water canyons and rivers to visit and play in.
Mate was waiting for me at the junction, and now for the next half hour or so I would be riding on the main road to the entrance of the VOH. Mate drove along behind me to warn approaching cars that there was a rider ahead, unfortunately there is little room along the road to get off the road, and it has been paved to catch the abundance of water that comes off the hillsides in the rainy season, big cement ditches butting up against the hill and jungle. Everything was great, we had no problems, traffic got to be heavy here and there and such things are cause for concern (again, they are adolescents in driving here), but all was well and we made it to the new digs and the horses were as happy as they could be, blatantly saying very loudly, ‘So this is home, huh? Cool.’ They had most certainly elevated their living conditions, and we had managed to bring our boys home. They now had a covered area for getting out of the rain or sun, or for when we are there working on them or whatever else that goes with horses, as well as a lockable storage unit for gear – yeehaw! This would be a first here for us in this part of the world, and we are so grateful for that. And as it is for horses, they remembered. We had a Journey from here to there, all over there, and came back again, and they knew what was happening and they were happy to be back here in this Valley. Full circle.
As always, it was a great and very fun ride, and it took just three hours to accomplish – a wonderful ride. I am already scoping out the riding opportunities around here, but you have to ask lots of questions to get much for answers! No problema, we’ll get the picture and then make time for the rides on this side of the mountain. Besides, it is really wet and muddy out there right now…lots of rain…so chillax and welcome home boys!