Me Llamo, “El Caballo!”

Matt riding Bubba

Matt riding Bubba, a retired race horse who pretty much did whatever he felt like doing, which that day, was eating grass

It’s really only me that calls myself “the Horse” but yesterday, I got my first experience horseback riding in well over a decade. On a side note, it’s somewhat strange that I can now speak of my life in terms of decades. There is a little back story to the name however along with the present day experience of actually riding a horse to share along with Julie’s story and her attempt to conquer her horse fears.

For starters, I used to call myself El Caballo while working at Maria’s restaurant in Annapolis, MD while in grad school. The Latino kitchen crew and the bussers got a kick out of it and I would always joke around with them in the kitchen with my Spanglish, usually leaving with gusto pretending to ride out on a horse. In turn, they would refer to me as Caballito (little horse) and smile. I had a good time back then and still check in with them from time to time.

But I don’t and rarely ever have any actual contact with horses, until Todos Santos. Penny keeps horses in a coral behind their new house. She has two of her own, Sonia and Pasqual (Paz), along with the horse of a friend of hers, Bubba. She works with them every day and it is her joy in retirement. We went to share in a little of that joy and see what this horse business is all about.

Horses are big! Huge in fact, with Bubba the biggest and weighing in at over 1100 lbs. Part of the fear comes from their sheer size and also with my complete lack of knowledge and experience with these animals. Once past this however, I found them to be gentle and affectionate. They would put their big faces up to me, having me pet them all over. It was really a neat experience.

Then I got to go for a ride. I rode Bubba and Penny rode Sonia. We walked with Julie and Mike at our sides for the first part of the ride, along with Zoe, their Golden Doodle dog through beautiful palm tree plantations and the quiet back roads of Todos Santos. Bubba is a retired race horse, around 10 years old. He largely did what he wanted with me in the saddle, but he didn’t make things tough on me. That meant he would generally follow Penny and Sonia, and whenever they’d stop, he’d try and find something to munch on. After I got more comfortable, we trotted a bit and eventually cantered. He got going a bit quick for me at the end of the ride but was very responsive when I said “Whoa…let’s slow it down!” and he was back to a slow walk.

It was a really great morning and I’m glad for the opportunity. Julie had all she wanted too. She got up the courage to stand next to them and pet them. As she mentioned in a previous story, she is fearful of them and getting close and petting them was a big step for her. Today, 30 hours later, my back is sore (maybe something to think about in connection with my decade comment above) but thankfully, my inner thighs are free of pain currently.

We got a nice run in today (100 minutes on the desert trails) and tomorrow we head back to San Jose del Cabo for one more night in Mexico before heading back to CA where we get ready for the long haul back to Ohio. We’ve managed to get a lot lined up here for the next few months, and all without a phone. We’ll share more about the upcoming plans in future posts.

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