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Posted on December 16, 2019
Lucy from In The Saddle is back-up guiding at Estancia Los Potreros in Argentina throughout November and December 2019. This is a great opportunity for her to experience a riding holiday from the other side. Read her latest update below.
Back in September, the opportunity to guide at Los Potreros in Argentina arose. With the blessing of In The Saddle, I grasped the chance and I’ve now been at this beautiful Estancia for nearly 5 weeks – half way through my time here.
Flying into Córdoba, I was taxied to the main gate of Los Potreros where I was met by the current guides, all wearing their boinas and panuelos (the traditional Argentine hats and neck scarfs), which I’d quickly be kitted out with. The 4 km track to the accommodation though the 6,500 acre property is bumpy but breath-taking! We passed the polo field and saw the herds of Paso and Criollo horses I would soon to become very familiar with.
My first ride the following day, on the back of Suricata – a lovely liver chestnut Criollo mare, quickly showed me how diverse the land is. With rolling hills, rocky paths and clear streams, this surefooted horse broke me in nicely to this new style of riding. With one hand on the reins, palm up and my legs forward, sitting in walk, trot and canter – it is a comfortable and practical position.
I settled in my guiding role with the team and gauchos being friendly, fun and supportive – despite having absolutely no Spanish vocabulary. My first one-to-one Spanish lesson with Nora (our fantastic instructor who travels to the estancia once a week) was hugely welcomed and appreciated. Learning a second language has not come naturally to me, but with Nora, the chefs help – I spend many free periods in the kitchen pointing at objects and learning the Spanish name – and being around the gauchos, I am slowly picking it up. Necesito más práctica!
I love being with the guests, both on the rides or during meals. With their 145 horses, Los Potreros can accommodate all levels of rider, from complete beginner to experienced. With such well training and kind tempered horses, it’s not uncommon for us to have a beginner cantering on their first ride.
As well as helping with my Spanish, the chefs here produce some amazing dishes. A mix of traditional Argentine classics, homemade bread and fresh salads. And of course, lots of BBQs and beef!
The variety of riding seems endless. So many routes around the estancia, playing polo, gaucho games, cattle work and horse herding… I still haven’t done it all. One of my favourite days so far was a ride to a natural pool, stripping into bikinis and taking a dip. With the clear blue skies, it doesn’t take long to dry out and ride home.
With the run up to Christmas, we’re getting busy with preparations and readying for incoming guests. I’ve been tasked in making the Christmas Pudding! I have a feeling the next 4 weeks will fly.