Although it’s been a few months since Steve and I have settled in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, we have been so busy with writing projects that we haven’t had much time to actually do much exploring in our new hometown. But that all changed last week when we went horseback riding in the hills outside of San Miguel with Beth Kaestner, owner of Leisurely Country Horseback Riding.
I’ve wanted to get back in the saddle ever since I first tried horseback riding in Argentina last year. And Steve’s last riding experience was on a very uncooperative camel in Cairo over two years ago.
Beth picked us up in town and drove us 13 miles out of San Miguel through rolling hills dotted with the occasional cactus. The usually brown countryside was covered with a soft carpet of green as the rainy season in this region of Mexico is currently in full swing. As we drove, Beth explained that our trail ride would consist of riding in the Boca de Canada canyon, through the river and into the hills where we would see historic chapels and local farms.
Upon arrival at the ranch, we were introduced to our horses, Steve’s had the Hawaiian name Waimea, while mine was named Chocolate after, well, you know. After a brief western riding lesson, we saddled up with a little help from the cowboys. Yee ha! Chocolate wasn’t as interested in the trail ride as he was in eating the weeds along the path, but he eventually lost his appetite and was very well-behaved.
Beth and her posse of cowboys led us through the blossoming canyon where we waded through a gurgling stream. Beth’s two yellow labs kept us company and splashed as contentedly as Steve in an English pub on Sunday as we cantered down the trail.
The river loomed large though placid, and we headed straight in, all the way to the horses’ bellies, dousing us up to the knee. But the caballos were sure footed and the water so cool and refreshing, that we didn’t want the river part of the ride to end.
We were starting to feel like real cowboys (and cowgirls) by the time we emerged from the river, and even managed to stay in the saddle as the horses went into a gallop. On the way back to the ranch, we passed this little crumbling chapel that was hundreds of years old.
Happy and tired from the ride, we were starving when we arrived back at the hacienda. Catalino, an area local and Beth’s business partner at Leisurely Country Horseback Riding involves his whole family in creating a massive, ranch-style lunch complete with homemade enchiladas, grilled chicken, quesadillas, rice, beans and of course amazing guacamole.
Catalino’s mother even makes the cheese by hand. It is a truly superb feast—this lady clearly knows what she’s doing in the kitchen!
Full and weary after the half day ride, Beth drove us back home—door to door service! As we said our goodbyes, we promised we’d be back for another ride before long—we loved the experience that much. We’re living in a new country, maybe it’s time for a new hobby too?
Never mind the writing, perhaps Steve and I may become cowboys after all.