Monday, May 23, 2011

Hanging with the Vaqueros (riding with Lazaro)

Lazaro is a trainer  who is working with Sue's little, tiny (cute) palomino, Molly, <girl> mule who's name is Paris Muleton.  (what a hoot).  Lazaro has trained several of Sue's mules.   Lazaro is from Jalisco, Mexico.  Jalisco is a  state in Mexico, of which Guadalajara is the capital.  He comes from a long line of horsemen. His father and grandfather both trained horses in Mexico, that's why I call him a "Vaquero", the title of a  true Mexican cowboy, as rich with heritage as any American cowboy.
Lazaro rides with a  traditional Mexican saddle, it has exposed rigging and a HUGE horn, doesn't look very comfortable, but he seems to like it. It is really heavy, and Paris is a tiny mule, but it doesn't seem to bother her.

It's interesting to watch him work with Paris.. he has her drag a cattle panel around behind her before he leaves Sue's place.  He ropes and dallys the panel and off they go. Around and around in the small enclosed area  in front of the house. Then off to the local Mexican Boarding barn about a 1/2 mile away, where the guys there have "Race Horses".  
I asked if I could ride with him, so I saddled up Buddy and off we went.  Lazaro and I both don't speak each other's language very well, but we made do with "Spanglish".   The boarding barn is a rough hewn bunch of buildings and barns where there are stalls, a big round pen, a  training track that has been disc-ed up with, a tractor and a small 2 stall starting gate.  There is also another disc-ed track around the big field where the race track is.
When we get close to the boarding barn, I see a huge amount of sheep and goats, old shaggy sheep with horns,  old goats, pigmy goats, sheep and goats of all ages, shapes and colors and all MOVING around. The kids were jumping and playing, often jumping straight into the air.  Now I'm  telling this because Buddy isn't used to sheep or goats or anything that will jump straight into the air.  So he's watching and snorting, but doesn't try to run away because he has his friend Paris with him.  We go into the barn area and ride straight into a low ceiling barn and down the barn aisle.  The barn is full of horses in stalls, many of them stallions.  I figure Buddy is going to freak out, but he does OK.
 There are several men either chatting with each other or working with their horses.  No women to be seen.  I get stared at a bit, but 'm sure it's because I'm a "gringa" on a big, fat, funny colored horse.  Oh and I have a helmet on, I'm sure it was the helmet they were looking at.

 I great them all in Spanish, Lazaro  ties up Paris and goes to get his 3 year old Quarter Horse Stallion. This horse is small, but cute. Nice head and a pretty shiny bay color.
I notice Lazaro has the horse tacked in a racing bridle, but no saddle. Only a towel with a rope holding it on and Lazaro has his feet through the rope.  EEK.. But the man sits that horse as if he were on the deepest dressage saddle you could find. He never moves, even when the horses acts up and jumps around.
He trots and breezes the horse, while he's doing that, I take Buddy and ride him on the track around the outside of the field. One time I was by the track as Lazaro galloped by, Buddy jumped and twirled, but he calmed down pretty quick.  He wasn't sure why that horse was running past him so fast.  I think he thought he should be running away from what ever monster THAT horse was running away from too.

Then Lazaro takes the horse back and Paris does her job, she and Lazaro pony (leads) the Stallion in circles while he cools off. Then Lazaro gets a friend's horse and Paris is now a Pony Horse, which means she gets to trot and gallop alongside the race horse..  This little mule with a very small trot and walk keeps up with the race horse and gallops along with him.. doesn't miss a step.  It's so funny watching her gallop alongside this big horse.  When that is done, she  leads this horse in circles again until this horse is cool.

As I'm waiting for Lazaro, I notice more farm animals I didn't see before, a herd of Brahmas.. Momma  Brahmas, baby Brahmas and of course, at least one BIG bull.  Brahmas are the big cows with a hump that are ridden in the Rodeo, they can be not so nice.  I figured Buddy would be concerned about the Brahmas, he could have cared less, he was still watching and being concerned about the goats and sheep all moving and jumping around.
   After Lazaro works the horses, we go for a ride around the neighborhood. we ride by a fast moving highway,  next to farm equipment, over and next to irrigation ditches.  Buddy had never seen an irrigation ditch.  There were  other bad, scary monsters.. Like a big boat and an abandoned hot tub and the worst thing ever, a pile of big logs.
 He actually did well, Paris spooked more than he did.  But remember how he is deathly afraid of Llamas?   Or "Yamas" as Lazaro called them, well, he isn't too fond of Alpacas either.  There was an Alpaca farm we had to ride by.  I knew it might not be the most safe thing I would ever do to ride by it, so I got off and lead him by the Alpaca farm.  He did Ok
 Poor Lazaro, he couldn't figure out why I was off leading the horse, he even offered to get off and give me a "leg up" (put me up on the horse). I told him no thank you as I didn't want him to throw out his back. I'm not sure he understood me exactly.  Once he saw how high I needed to be in order to get back on, he understood why I was walking so far.  

So back to Sue's we go.  The Vaquero, Paris Muleton, (the Race Horse Pony Mule), myself and Buddy (the wonder horse) who wonders when he gets to go home to  Missouri and quit being  terrified by all these new scary monsters.  What a wonderful evening, something I would have never experienced if I had stayed at home in Missouri.  What an adventure.

Enough for now.  Time to feed the fish and to go to bed.

 As always.. More later..  <sometimes much later, I'll try to be more timely>

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