BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN
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
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
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
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
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
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,
guides were both professional and courteous.
Ecuador Hotel and Travel Information
About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their
time, and who doesn’t want to mindlessly
follow the crowd.
Retire Early Lifestyle Blog
About Billy & Akaisha