Have you always wanted to try horseback riding again, but haven’t ridden since you were a kid and now it’s a little intimidating?
Have no fear. My friend Leslie Drate recently traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico and went horseback riding. It was the highlight of her trip!
Here’s what she had to share about her horseback riding vacation in Oaxaca, Mexico.
I am a beginner rider, having only ridden horses as a small child. I’m just a little older than that now and was a little nervous about all of the things that seem to go wrong in the movies. You know: falling off the horse or spraining something, maybe even getting thrown. Owner Mary Jane Gagnier of Horseback Mexico immediately put my mind at ease. Mary Jane, along with Bobby Ortiz and Gabriel Mendoza Gagnier personally guide all horseback riding holidays. Mary Jane and her family were kind and careful to accommodate me and all of my apprehensions.
Horseback riding holiday At Rancho Pitaya
I met the owners at their office, which is centrally located in old town Oaxaca, Mexico. They were on time and drove us for an hour or so, sometimes on dirt roads, out to their ranch on the outskirts of town. Rancho Pitaya is a charming ranch. We all imagined how much fun it would be to live on the ranch. They have horses, chickens, and they take in stray dogs that are all very well behaved. A couple of dogs even joined us on our horseback ride.
Matching rider to horse
They carefully choose the right horse for each rider’s needs. The ranch hands pack a water bottle for each of you and then give you some quick training on how to ride a horse. There is a guide in front of the horses and a guide in back. We took off in a single track line, headed toward a trail that went up and down the mountain. It was not a flat dirt trail. It was a rocky trail through brush. For a beginner rider, it felt like we were doing something that took a little talent. This made our horseback ride more fun because it wasn’t just like a horse at a fair walking around in a circle. The views were great and the hosts coached us through the entire trail ride.
I’m not going to lie, there were moments when I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to stay on the horse because the decline was too steep and my experience is short, but my hosts reminded me to “trust the horse,” and sure enough, the horse saw me through safely.
Back at Rancho Pitaya
When we returned to the ranch, after a couple of hours of horseback riding, they made us fresh squeezed lemonade and eventually took us back into town.
Our horseback riding holiday was great. If you plan to visit Oaxaca, Mexico, I highly recommend going on a horseback ride at Rancho Pitaya. If you’re a little nervous about horseback riding, like I was, give it a try anyway. You’ll be glad you did.
If You Go
Outside Mexico call:
310-929-7099 (this is a Skype-in phone with U.S. area code)
Within Mexico – Mary Jane’s mobile:
(between Avenida Juarez & Pino Suarez in the historic centre)
This was a guest post by Leslie Drate. Photos courtesy of Leslie Drate.