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The sun was shining as I threw my leg over the saddle of Diamonte, a big, beautiful, dark brown, 15-year old horse at Mi Chaparrita ranch. My friend, Frankie, was already sitting tall on her 10-year old horse, Hidalgo. The ranch, just a 5-minute drive (Mi Chaparrita provides the transportation) from the Sayulita plaza, is peaceful with lush green grass and vegetation, and also serves as the location for their zip lining tour.
We’d already been asked if we had applied sunscreen and bug spray at home, and when I said I hadn’t put on bug spray, I was graciously offered some. We were also offered a cold beer and / or water. Although we declined the beer, the water was perfect for taking along on our 2-hour horseback ride.
Our extremely friendly guide, Oscar, spoke perfect English and carried himself with an air of confidence around the horses. Having ridden horses his entire life and doing horseback riding tours for the last 5 or 6 years, it’s no wonder I immediately felt at ease with him as our guide.
I’ve only gone horseback riding a handful of times, and it was Frankie’s first time on a horse, so Oscar went over the basics with us. He taught us to hold on to the saddle horn with our left hand, hold the reigns in our right hand, using it to direct the horses to turn right and left, how to halt, and how to pick up the pace.
As we headed out of the ranch, towards the jungle leading to the beaches, Patzcuaro and Patzcuarito, a small dog, Lula, excitedly ran alongside us. Sitting atop the horse, I could feel the slightest of breezes, and once in the green, lush jungle, I could feel how the air was slightly cooler. It was extremely peaceful, with only the sound of birds tweeting, land crabs rustling about, and the horses’ hoofs clopping. Sunlight streamed through the jungle canopy, and beautiful black and red butterflies, yellow butterflies, and white butterflies, fluttered in the air.
The jungle terrain changed as we made our way further into the jungle and towards the ocean. We went through a sandy, mostly dry creek bed, we rode along a dirt path, and at other times, we were on cobblestone. As we went up hills, Oscar reminded us to lean forward, and as we went downhill, he reminded us to lean back.
Upon reaching Patzcuaro, we made our way through a grassy area and some standing water, the beach and ocean in view. At just that moment, a herd of cows and calves made their way in the area, and wow, what a picturesque sight!
The sky turned overcast and the air became cooler. The ocean water was a deep shade of green, and the waves crashed, almost angrily, against the shore as a strong breeze took hold. It looked as if the sky might open up and rain pour down at any minute, and yet it was so breathtakingly beautiful, there was nowhere else I would have rather been.
As we left Patzcuaro, I felt a big drop of rain hit my arm, cool and refreshing. A few more came down, and then the rain stopped, the wind died down, and it was over as quickly as it began.
At Patzcuarito, it was just as stunningly pretty, a long stretch of golden brown and black sand, without another person in sight. We rode our horses along the shoreline and in the shallowest of water as the waves hit the shore.
As we got back to Mi Chaparrita ranch, I thought to myself, “That’s just what I needed, a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.” Feeling relaxed and refreshed, I was ready to embrace another busy day.