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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN

OTAVALO, ECUADOR

BILLY AND AKAISHA KADERLI

 

Gordo was a tyrant. The smallest of the group, he would not let Cossaco or Palermo pass without an aggressive nip or an ill tempered kick. Trouble was, Gordo got his name for a reason: He loved to eat, and he would stop every chance he could to take a mouthful of leaves or grass, slowing the whole group down. He wanted to be in the front, with no one passing him, but he didn’t want to lead. He was slow, small, bad tempered, and, well, … Gordo.

From Hacienda Pisabo, we began gingerly through thick mud. It took us a while to gain confidence in our horses. I could see countless places where a horse could lose his balance, twist an ankle or slide and shift their footing, which is exactly what they seemed to be doing. Since it had rained both last night and this morning, the mud was particularly soupy, and inky black.

Except for our guides, Edgar and Felipe, we had a fairly inexperienced group. The French couple were in their mid twenties, and the young man had never ridden before. Unfortunately, he was Gordo’s rider, and it was Gordo who was the master. The young girl had some experience, but didn’t seem too adventurous. Billy took to his grand steed with ease, and Cossaco was about the largest in the group, except for maybe our guide’s horse… My horse, Palermo, wanted to lead, but couldn’t get passed the intimidation of Gordo's nipping from time to time.

Edgar would then make kissing noises and the horses would pick up speed. Sometimes nipping, kicking, or body slamming one into the other, the horses’ competitive personalities would come out!

 In this fashion, it went for three hours, as we were awed and mesmerized by Andean scenery. It was a combination of pure, raw countryside, brutal yet breathtaking, mixed with indigenous families' cultivation on the steep sides into bottomless gullies.


With every turn, the vistas were magnificent.

 

Edgar said hello to everyone we met on our trail. Small children with their baby siblings tied to their backs would run in wonder from our pack of beasts. Old men and women, going about their daily business nodded hello and smiled.  In this wide open country I found myself wondering empty thoughts like "do these children go to school?" or even "is there a hospital nearby?"

With their mud huts as homes, and dirt roads connecting these small communities, I think their daily lives were more filled with matters such as how to feed the pigs, what they could get for them at market, or how to get water to their crops. This life of survival and family unity was evident. We saw villagers gathered together making their homes - some were mud and wooden logs, some were concrete block/brick, and some were whitewashed block.

Our busy and complex Western lives seemed woefully out of place here.

At one open field with a small stream was a lively young mare. Very spirited, she was tied by the neck to a large bush. Quite animated at our approach and passing, we soon found out why. Her new colt was loose, and he was a bit spooked by this invasion of 6 strangers, bigger than he had ever seen before, and with 2 heads!

The small children in charge of watching over this mare and her colt were also intimidated and ran from our huge creatures.
 



Then the colt bolted, and this caused our horses to go in hot pursuit.

 

All 6 horses and their riders were galloping with intent, not that we had any choice of course, and we’re holding on for our lives. Trying to control the horse, steady a camera and not fall off is a daunting task for Gaucho Billy. This little baby, who was frightened to the bone, was quickly getting far away from his mother. Felipe tries to rope him, but misses again and again, and finally Edgar comes up from the rear, gains on the little thing, jumps down, and restrains him. Edgar holds him in a full body grab and a local boy, Felipe’s cousin, comes up putting a rope over his head and neck, leading him back to his fretting mother. The baby, set loose again when he is closer to home, runs as fast as he is able. We see him from the rise and are content with a day‘s job well done.

3 hours on a horse, through the Andes is a spectacular option.
The entire 12 kilometer trip took us to 2750 meters of elevation, with panoramas that we have never even imagined.
At $20 per person, this morning ride was worth every penny. Arrangements can be made through RUNATUPARI NATIVE TRAVEL, nativetravel@runatupari.com The guides were both professional and courteous.

Ecuador Hotel and Travel Information

About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

For more information about financial independence and travel, visit our book store

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