Grey Trevor

In Argentina, Sud America on May 1, 2010 at 5:20 pm

So after the White water rafting it is cabalgatos in the afternoon, trekking across Mendoza’s arid landscape on the back of a horse.
So I’ve always had a soft spot for horses from riding the arm of my mums sofa to victory in on of the classics, the Derby, the St Leger, the Prix de l’arc de triomphe, to getting all misty eyed when black beauty or the black stallion came on TV. So just before I left work I had taken a couple or three lessons on the very big horses that they had at the riding club to see if I enjoyed it, which I did. But I never got the chance to continue my tutelage, redundancy got in the way.
So I’m in Argentina, home of the gaucho and I’m thinking why not, when the opportunity arises. So I find myself pointed out by our guide and lead over to Trevor, the grey horse that will bear the weight of me for the next two and a bit hours. He’s much smaller than the horses I sat on so many months before, actually all of the horses are, I don’t need a box to stand on to get my foot into the stirrup and before you know it I’m heaving myself into the saddle and holding both reins in one hand.
Trevor turns out to be a very placid beast who just wants to be amongst his mates and as we get mounted he slowly moves over to the other horses and squeezes himself into the pack.
We move off in a slow line with Trevor a horse or so from the rear and our guides directions to keep your reins short and not let them eat anything. Trevor of course wants to eat any and everything so I spend a bit of time jerking his head round so as to get him away from eating the long grass.
We settle into our routine. Trevor plodding along following the line of horses up front, me trying to take photos, until a younger guide on a much sprightlier and bigger horse comes up behind us and Trevor breaks into a little trot and soon all the horses at trotting away and we become a much tighter packed bunch.
We form a single line and the horses follow each other along a path that fords small streams and tightly packed pampas grasses. I’m starting to get the hang of riding Trevor, though it’s more me sitting, Trevor walking and every so often me pulling the reins to the left or right to keep him on the straight and narrow.
We head out of the grasses and out onto the plains and it’s arid and dry, an bushes and rocks surround us, dust is kicked up with every hoofstep and the air is dry, as the sun hovers over us. But it’s a dry heat and I start to enjoy myself, twisting left and right to get a good view ot the Andes and the hills closer by. I’m a cowboy in a western, guarding the wagon train or slowly moving those cows to market. As the hours pass and Trevor carts me up hills and down into valleys and dried rock strewn riverbeds, carefully picking his way along then breaking into a little trot to close up with our lead guide, I wish i was a better rider and was on a better horse (no offence Trevor) so I could gallop and canter and explore more of the expanse of terrain around us. Argentina feels vast, somehow larger than New Zealand with whom it shares many natural similarities, though New Zealand is alot greener.
But for this point Trevor is just right for me as I grow more confident in my position when he descends, leaning way back, bouncing up and down in the saddle as I kick him into a trot and giving him affectionate pats after we crest every steep incline.
The afternoon goes too fast and before I know it Trevor is quickening his pace as he recognises his surroundings and I’m hopping off his back as he goes for a huge piss.

Ps riding behind a horse as it goes for a  shit is not recommended viewing, especially the bright pink starfish at the end.

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