Chapala, Mexico–Horsin’ Around

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Luckily for me, the state of Jalisco is horse country.  Everywhere you go, you can see “caballeros” mounted on horseback.  Many (if not most) of the horses you encounter will be stallions as I have it on good authority that Mexican men do not like to ride mares or geldings.  They especially love palominos and horses that will “dance.”  I’ve seen some beautiful dancing horses while we’ve been here and I’ve even gotten to ride one, thanks to my good friend Jane, who owns Peruvian Pasos.

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Javier on “Sonador”

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Me on champion “Gracie.” What a smooth ride!

Ryan and I had not been back in Ajijic for long before he found me a riding scene.  On the outskirts of Chapala lies El Rancho del Paso.  More than five years ago, Jane and Frank hauled their five Peruvian Pasos down from the states and now they own and operate a fantastic “rancho.”

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This is my new heaven.  From here, I get to join my new friends Jane and Cheryl (and sometimes Frank and Javier) on rides through the towns and countryside.  Sometimes I’m out for two to three hours and can cover more than eight miles!  The weather is incredible and the scenery is beautiful.

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Jane on “Hermoso”

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Cheryl on “Melaza”

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Outskirts of Santa Cruz de la Soledad

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Anyone who doesn’t believe in love at first sight has never met Lily.  I was hooked from the moment I fed her her first carrot.  This Tennessee Walking mare is a gem.  She’s full of steam and her gaits are out of this world!  For $4100 MXN pesos (about $240 USD) a month, she’s all mine.  I can ride her any time I want.  This leasing fee also covers her boarding, her feed, and her shoes and I don’t even have to muck out her stall!

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Javier and Ricki are always there to help and little miss Cutie Boots is the best mascot a ranch could ask for.  She often accompanies us on our rides and she always greets me when I drive up.  Although I miss having dogs of my own, it’s sure been nice to see Cutie, and she’s always happy to see me too!

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Javier with “Sonador”

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“Squeak”

Exploring Mexico on horseback has truly helped me to settle in here.  Now I often go riding alone, and local farmers stop working in their fields just to wave.  Tractors will pull over out of courtesy to allow us to pass.  I see a road and think “I wonder where this leads?”  Then I find out.  If there isn’t a gate, I am welcome to go in and explore, and explore I have.  The people are so warm and welcoming.  This really is my little slice of heaven.

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