The Doc was coming back for a ride to see the magical farm in San Marcos, and this required more horses. Our dreams of having a life using our horses as a part of that way of life, and also being able to offer horse adventure rides – or something similar – are very important to us. We have lived a way of life using horses for a very long time, and this community – a piece of this zone – still lives this way, horses required. Not easily found, I must say. So we have three good horses, but we need one more.
Our reliable buddy Billy has a cousin that is a horse trainer, and he has a horse for sale that could fill the bill. And, the owner is considering a trade in value for a western saddle that we have and do not use. Let’s go try him out, whaduya say? We made the trip and I tried out the horse, who is actually a very fancy and very big horse that is half or more Arabian, other half Criollo. The trainer is a very good horseman, but he spends most of his time in small spaces, working on the fine tuning of these horses. This was evident in the horse and his expectations…not to mention his ‘hi tone’ blood lines. A little bit more excitable than I care for at this point in my life, and this horse was not for me, but for Mate. We are looking for a good solid horse for getting around in the mountains, rough country, reliable. This horse was ‘fancy’, an excellent protégé as a Tope Horse, parades, shows, showing off – definitely not my choice as a good solid, strong and reliable, not excitable in the face of a challenge way out in God’s country – that is what we are looking for. This guy, although beautiful, didn’t qualify.
Next on the list was a horse owned by Billy’s father. His father’s eyesight is bad, and he had to sell the horse. As it is, the family own and work and live on a huge farm – cattle ranch – way up in the mountains to the south. The brothers were riding this horse every day to do ranch work, moving cattle and checking fence, etc. He was the ‘go to’ horse for all of them. It was arranged for us to make the journey to the farm to see this horse, but of course there is always more that shows up – it was Sunday, and this was Billy’s family.
We took our saddles and planned on a ride, and a ride we got. First up was checking out the potential new horse, so Billy rode him first, then me… and then Mate. We each connected pretty quickly and easily with the horse, so going for a ride was next. There were enough horses for each of us, and Billy’s brother would be with us as well, so we headed out to move some cows in one of the sections to another section, and check on a cow about ready to give birth. Back country dirt roads with small villages, pulperias (small village stores) and homes dotting the perimeters. Sunday – families gathering and people enjoying their day off, going for walks, and Church was in session. Trotting down the road to the lower pastures, we entered and headed downhill using the cow trails – what a beautiful countryside! You could almost see to the coast, but the views to the Talamancas and the Rio Terraba were incredibly awesome – you could actually see the volcano in Panama – wow!
This horse ‘Tigre’ and Mate were going well. We rode in the rough country and he was as comfortable as could be, he had no problem getting around in rough spots. When the horse spotted the cows he knew it was time to go to work and he was ready. I was on a nice horse, also, equally capable of getting around and very easy to ride. The cows were spread out so together we gathered them and lined them out in the direction we wanted them to go in, each of our horses knowing instinctively what needed to be done. We moved the cows into the next pasture and into a large corral system where they could be looked at and assessed – the one that was close to calving being the target. There was a bull with them and all were packed in tight like sardines, but the brother got off and walked among them checking each while we each blocked the exits (for those that have no idea, these cows weigh a good 1200# and the bulls can weigh up to 2000# and can be cantankerous, to say the least. If they wanted to hurt you – no problem; if they wanted to bust through us on our horses, no prob – yet they were all calm and quiet, gracias a Dios). Brother found and checked out his target cow, and then we let the cows all out. Afterwards we headed towards the home base, pausing as we passed by the church, in full choir. Moseying on back to the homestead, the horses were tied to the trees in the shade and we were escorted into the home to join the family for dinner.
Wow, we were not expecting to be fed! And of course beef – it’s what’s for dinner (radio jargon from the plains states). They were so genuine and hospitable and very gracious. The men talked horses and prices and a deal was made to buy the horse. It just so happened that the other little horse was headed for the sale barn in a couple of days – no! Such a good little horse, so hard to find, and we also made an offer for him, and the two horses were scheduled to be delivered to Billy in a couple of days – and they were. After our meal the remainder of the family trickled in, as all of the ‘kids’ and grandkids showed up to spend the day with Grandma (abuela) and Grandpa (abuelo) for the day, and we were invited to join in. Of course our Spanish still leaves much room for expansion, but sufficient enough to enjoy the company, and we were so honored to be a part of the family affairs. So much consideration and respect given to one another, and to us. I sat with Abuela and visited with her for a long time, as she explained her illness and asked me about our life. Always there are formalities that must be honored, but it goes so much further beyond that, especially to be invited into the family Sunday gathering.
The Tico people have become our family. Our blood family all have their own lives in the USA and have become isolated by miles – from us and each other, as well. There is always Facebook, LOL, for them – we do not participate with that, but we have our meager connections. Here, the family is made up of the locals that we connect with, as well as the other gringos in our area. But it is the traditional family gatherings that are so awesome to be a part of, and this is what we dream of on top of the mountain where we are called…vamos a ver.
After our dinner the rest of the family began to arrive, gathering around Grandma and Grandpa on the porch. The little girl of five years old, sisters, brothers, Tias y Tios. they visited with us and accepted us, we, too, are campesinos, and it is most likely a curiosity for them to meet gringos that are. Our life in the campo – for us, there is no other way but to live in the wilds, becoming one with the Mother, working with her for sustenance. I truly cannot imagine any other way, but who knows what is in store for us? No guarantees – yet we must follow our intuition along the way.
After an awesome ride and visiting with the family, sharing a meal, it was time to make the long trip home. Mission accomplished, and so much more. The horses would go to Billy’s house, and then to us here in the Valley to prepare for the journey up the mountain – primary importance would be to become familiar with each other…the adventure is so alive, every day.
What would life be without adventure? Hmmm…I don’t know…
(silly me, no camera for that trip to the farm, sigh.)