Dorotea and I. This mare was a perfect size for me, and I would just touch her here or lean there, and she did exactly what I wanted.
Admittedly, this is going to be a helluva lot more fun for me to write about than it is for most of you to read about. Let me start off by saying that if any of you ever come here, the one tourist thing that you ought not skip is a ride with one of the guys from 3 Señores stables. It is a great ride and a great tour organized by an outfit that has its act together.
With that, those of you who have no further interest in this sort of thing can move on.
I had been thinking about this for some time because of the great reports that I had been reading concerning the place. Of course, then that found money cropped up. The horses are Quarter Horses, and they are well maintained and well trained. One gets a very practiced eye for spotting horses that have been chronically short on feed in México.
Eric was my guide. There were only the two of us today, which worked out great. Eric is a very personable young man of about 25 who has lived for a year in Virginia and for a few months in Houston. He spoke excellent English and was patient with my Spanish.
I had hoped to ride with Mauricio, the head man, who I understand has a great personality, tells a good story, and is a good man to boot. Part of his work is rescuing horses. As it turned out, however, I was more than satisfied with Eric. We had a great chat, and he had the historical background down on all the sites. In addition, he liked to get up to speed with the horses occasionally. The ride was 2½ hours long and cost 600 pesos ($44.26 American). It was a real bargain in my opinion.
I was riding on Mexican tack. Mainly, it is distinguished by that huge saddle horn and a pommel that is not covered with leather. For the first time in my life, I had the opportunity to ask what this is all about of a person who might know. And I forgot.
The first part of the ride took us through San Miguel el Viejo, “Old San Miguel,” the original site of the city. Fray Juan de San Miguel, the explorer and founder, originally started the mission here to the west of the present city. The mission was later moved up the mountain to the current location of the El Chorro district because of the more abundant water there from a spring.
This little church is Chapel of San Miguel Archangel that Fray Juan de San Miguel built in San Miguel el Viejo. It was constructed in 1542.
This is what we think was the rectory. It is built into one corner of the wall that forms the courtyard in front of the church.
The reservoir is very low because of the shortage of rain this past August. It is quite often full this time of year. But did the floor of that reservoir ever provide a great place to ride!
This was by no means a nose-to-tail trail ride. I lost my headgear a ways back when we had put the horses into a gallop on the floor the reservoir.
I knew I could still ride a horse, but I was a bit concerned about saddle burns. I pulled on a thigh-length spandex Speedo® swim suit under my jeans in order to have something slick with no seams between my rear end and the jeans. I do not know whether I would have gotten saddle sores without it on, but in any event I did not get saddle sores with it on. So let us say that trick worked.
I did walk a little funny when I first dismounted though. But I will do this again.