A scenic trail ride through the Mexican countryside sounded great.
The day began overcast, the chilliest, grayest day of our vacation. But we smiled, climbed into our host's red pick-up truck, and took off for environs unknown.
Forty-five minutes later we arrived at Rancho Xotolar. Our host inquired whether I would like to milk a cow and - unsure I understood what he was saying, communication difficult as he spoke little English and I spoke minimal Spanish - I gamely replied, "Sure." We proceeded to a corral occupied by a couple of cows and several calves. Suddenly I am milking Mama.
Receiving instructions in the art of milking a cow.
Milking in progress. Note two streams of milk.
Feeding a calf.
Then, outfitted with hats and jackets, we mounted steeds, received a quick lesson in guiding our horse - turning left and right, starting, stopping...and rode off into the wilderness. Three guides escorted hub and I, plus three dogs along for the fun and exercise.
In the Mexican wilderness. I am on the white horse.
We leisurely ascended a mountain and stopped for picture taking. So far so good.
Then our guide informed us we would descend into the canyon. I stared straight down, a twisting, rocky stream of water barely visible far below.
Saying the descent was steep is an understatement. I intended on capturing lots of pictures of the awesome landscape, but did not dare take out my camera. No way was I going to take one hand off the reins, or the other off the saddle.
Not one for heights, I stared straight ahead, not wanting to freak out seeing how close to the edge of the canyon we rode, or how far we could fall if a horse misstepped.
Hub donned a poncho when it started to rain. Luckily the light rain did not last long. This was taken at our one rest stop.
Riding along the bottom of the canyon.
Astride a horse for any length of time challenges leg and butt muscles. Once on level ground - which did not last long - one of the guides taught me the nuances of trotting. Fun, yes, although parts of my body were not so happy, bobbing up and down.
I was somewhat prepared, outfitted in a high-powered sports bra. But as most women of a certain age can attest, some activities challenge our proficiency at controlling specific muscles. Horseback riding greatly tested my ability (or inability) to control pelvic muscles, connected to the bladder, which when let loose can lead to leakage. Next time I will diligently practice Kegel exercises before riding...
Back safely at the ranch, we savored a meal prepared by our guide's sister, including enchiladas filled with fresh cheese made from MY fresh-squeezed warm cow's milk.
MY cheese a couple of hours old.
The rain deluge held off until we returned to our lodging.
Challenging as the ride was, I highly recommend it for adventurous travelers to San Miguel de Allende!