Riding cowboy style

Trip Start Dec 03, 2012
Trip End Aug 25, 2013

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Where I stayed

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Alajuela,
Sunday, December 9, 2012

Today was Izzys birthday and we went horse riding to a tropical waterfall right out of Castaway (the Brook Shields movie not the reality show)

Riding here is quite different to how we've been taught and our hack could not have been more of a contrast to going round the country lanes of Cerney Wick on our riding school ponies. Here the horses don't have bits in their mouths. Instead you control them using reins connected to their halters. You pull the reins against their necks to make them turn and hold the reins in one hand only (the other being engaged in lassoing cattle or whatever ... ). Also they turn away from the leg that squeezes instead of towards it. For a while my poor horse was getting conflicting messages, but we got along pretty well.

Our hack went through knee deep mud, rivers, rain forest paths and more open cattle fields full of tussocky grasses. We rode for about 2 hours to the waterfall, which was in secondary forest on land belonging to the family of one of our guides. We swam for about half an hour in the deep pools around the waterfall, had lunch (tortillas with cheese and ham) and then went 'the long way' back. There was a mini rebellion from the horses, who were otherwise impeccable, but once they'd resigned themselves to the longer route they were fine. It was so steep and muddy I don't know how we stayed on in some places but the horses were amazingly surefooted. Izzys mare was pregnant and a little slower then the rest but we all got some good trots and even a bit of a canter, which shows how confident we felt with them. Debbie has trained the horses using Natural Horsemanship techniques, with an emphasis on working with horse psychology and I'm a convert!

In the evening there was a big fiesta to celebrate the 40th birthday of Oscar who works here, izzy's tenth, and another guests 40th as well. They made 3 cakes and we played some riotous party games with other guests and locals
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Jons on

Looks really good.
Sylvia and alijt also ride in this style - without bit and no stick, whip or spurs. You have to convince your horse to do what you want. Hard work if you aks me, but they say it pays.

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