Horseback Riding in the Cañada de la Virgen - Sean and Mittie
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Sean and Mittie | Horseback Riding in the Cañada de la Virgen

Horseback Riding in the Cañada de la Virgen

I haven’t been riding since I was a kid. I used to ride English style, but it was so long ago now the memories are hazy. So, the thought of mounting a horse, nearly twenty years later, and horseback riding in the Cañada de la Virgen, a breathtaking canyon filled with wildlife and history, was exhilarating to say the least.

Rodrigo, the daredevil, in action Rodrigo, the daredevil, in action

I took the tour with Rodrigo of Coyote Canyon Adventure Tours since my last tour with the anthropological encyclopedia (otherwise known as Albert Coffee) had been so enjoyable. You know the old adage that opposites attract? Well these two make the perfect team.

What a view What a view Going downhill Going downhill

When I asked Rodrigo how long he’d been riding he said, “I’d never been on a horse until I started this business.” He wasn’t much for words. Nope, Rodrigo is more a man of action, however when it came time for the safety briefing he explained clearly and fluidly in two languages exactly what we should and shouldn’t do. I was grateful, considering I
was supposed to forget everything I’d done as a kid. Also, we were free to decide what we did and didn’t want to do.

First off, I got a horse that loved to run. Of course I didn’t know that until after we’d headed west and he got his first chance to do it. His name was Orgullo, Spanish for pride, though unfortunately for this bilingual girl, it’s one of the only words I can’t say properly. Instead I called him Cassanova for all the butt-sniffing he got into.

As we descended into the canyon, I was startled by the abundance of trees covering the otherwise arid landscape. At the bottom, a creek flowed from the recent rains and our horses were pleased to drag their legs through it as we crossed. The first opportunity to gallop had passed, and while I initially didn’t think I wanted to do it, Cassanova changed my mind. He wasn’t taking no for an answer (maybe he just sensed I was secretly ready.)

Rodrigo took one look at me riding by screaming and the next time they were preparing to gallop he said, “Mittie, come to the front.” I wondered if I’d have to read the note out loud to the class. “You’re ready to gallop.” I must have had that stupefied I-just-tripped-over-my-own-shoelaces look on my face because he reassured me. “You’re ready.”

Off we went. It was absolutely exhilarating. I wasn’t sure if I was screaming or laughing, but I was having a hell of a lot o fun.  As a gorgeous rocky landscape sped by me, I decided that Rodrigo had the right idea. More experiences and fewer words …and all of this coming from a writer. Now, if only I could figure out how to properly pad my booty.



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