Wednesday, February 21, 2007


After finding out that I had to change horses by February, I was told that there were some very green 3 year old horses for sale. Turns out Edwin, one of the Sargentos' stablehands, had two unbroken horses at a ranch in Yacuiba, right by the Bolivia-Argentina border! So finally, I went. We flew to Santa Cruz, had to stay overnight because our plane stopped over in Cochabamba so we missed the last bus out of Santa Cruz, and shortly after dawn we took an 8h bus ride to Yacuiba. We actually nearly missed the bus because it left 5min BEFORE schedule! A first in Bolivia.

We got to Yacuiba late afternoon and by the time we drove out to the ranch it was dark (not to mention that the horses were out and therefore impossible to find because one thing they are not short of there is land), so it was for kicks. Deciding against staying overnight, we drove back to Yacuiba, slept for a few hours, and headed out again, pre-dawn this time. The horses were in a fenced off area, so we singled out Edwin's two and then made up a natural obstacle so I could see them jump.

The first mare, a redhead, didn't have very graceful proportions (nor was she very big) but had a very promising jump. I also liked her character because after a few jumps she decided she was done and therefore jumped the FENCE to get out and go join her friends! Granted she jump-crashed-through-it, but I liked her attitude. That's her on the right.

The second mare was bay, bigger and more elegant, but her style was much tamer and therefore less appealing to me. That's her looking dainty and cute on the lower right (the picture also helps you get a feel for the ranch). Still, I took all the required photos and filmed some motion so that I could get expert advice once back in La Paz.

The ranch itself was very rustic, basic, functional. The owner was straight out of a caricature, a plump, mustache sporting, worn cowboy hat wearing man. Yacuiba goes up to 45 degrees Centigrade in summer, and aside from water shortages they also have problems with a random set of people who came to town and set up shop on lands they just decided they could live on! The area we drove through was lush, and the road was actually decent even though it was not paved. This whole mini adventure was surreal, it was like sticking my head in a bubble of parallel reality!


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