|I first met Alana, our neighbour Aunt Jessie's daughter when we first arrived at La Punta 7 months ago and then again at a party at Miss Sandy's but we didn't really get to know each other till very recently. Lori brought us together and we finally set a date to go riding. Alana owns a huge piece of property here on the island, where her family has lived for generations. She was born here but educated in the U.S. and has a husband working and living in the U.S. and two grown daughters there. She has about a hundred cousins here on the island.
I was up at the crack of dawn on Sunday and John dropped me off at her wharf at 8 a.m. She lives here in the town of Oak Ridge, high up on the hill looking over the town and the sea, not on her farm, which is a few miles out of town. She would like to live there but likes to be close to Aunt Jessie, who is in her 80's and is a little concerned for her safety out on the farm.
"Stand back", she said as I snapped shots of the Brahma Bulls being herded out to pasture for the day. "These are NOT nice bulls". Another field held nicer cows and a few nicer bulls and a couple of horses. More horses were down in the barn, basically a covered structure, for the night. The cattle need to be guarded at night from people who would otherwise butcher them in the night and make off with the meat. Bizzaro!
Jason and his wife and young baby live and work at the farm and his young friend James stays as well. Jason bathed and saddled our horses while I had a tour of the farm and snapped photos. About 30 hens and roosters of various colours hung out in and around the barn and of course multiple dogs and cats roamed the place.
The farm was not far from the charming little Garifuna town of Punta Gorda, which lies on the north coast of the island. We have seen it from the bus and the taxi but a much better view is had from a horse. We stopped part way through town for a cold Salva Vida and the horses, who have no grass at home to speak of, were thrilled to graze and did not need to be tied up.
James rode with us and acted as body guard. My mount was lively and I learned that Pacifino's have 5 gaits. The trademark gait, which I cannot remember the name for, is similar but more comfortable than the choppy trot, but I was told that my mare had been spoiled and lost this gait. Of course I hope to feel it one day.
We contined west after our break, through town and on to a inviting country road along the beach, surrounded by tropical jungle. Another grazing break, part of the routine, and we headed back. I didn't want to stop but my thighs would be tender the next day, I knew.
They were sore indeed, and bruised on the inside of my knees but it was good pain, reminding me of the riding years of my youth. We arrived home with bags of manure and a few plants for my collection. Hopefully I'll be able to go on a regular basis.