had a sore tummy one day during our stay and Miss M got a huge fright
when she arrived at Club Hipico to see poor old Tusa lying on the
ground making funny noises. A vet was called out straight away and
he confirmed that it was indeed a mild form of colic and with some
carrots, wheat and exercise, Tusa should be well in no time again.
Well, the friendly Vet certainly deserved all the fancy papers hanging
on the wall in his rooms, because true to his word, Tusa was back
to his usual self within a couple of days.
Our departure from Tarija didn't happen without its excitements
and I guess Miss M would have preferred a more tranquil exit
but she has also learned by now never to get too relaxed because
a surprise always lies waiting around the corner!
The surprise in this case was the leading
rope that has Tusa attached to the girth of the saddle on my back
that got between my back-legs (without Miss M noticing). This was
rather irritating and as I just couldn't stand still, I started
kicking and bolting and at the same time charging and zigzagging
across the roads - straight in front of the oncoming cars. All
this off course resulted in the rope causing more and more friction
on my inner-thigh and at this stage there was no stopping me. Miss
M held on for dear life and at the same time trying to get me to
stop and Tusa got dragged along, frantically trying to get out of
the way of my kicks! Miss M thought at one stage that she is not
going to stay on top and started to think of a way to jump of without
hurting herself too much. And me? Well, I started to get tired of
all the commotion and running after a while and finally came to
halt under a tree.
few men (who had scattered away earlier) came forward wearily to
give some assistance to Miss M who at this stage was suffering from
the shakes!! Tusa only gave me a disgusted look but I got a sympathetic
nudge later when I showed him the "wound" on my thigh
where the rope took off the surface of my skin. It looked worse
than what it really was but I enjoyed the attention from him for
a while anyhow!
It took us quite a while to get out of the bustling city and when
we finally reached the road to Potosi - a dirt road - it was already
close to lunchtime. There were very few cars around and with the
odd truck or bus passing, we had the road for ourselves. Miss M
decided to let Tusa run freely and he couldn't believe his luck
when she untied the rope that is attached to the girth. When Miss
M and I set off again, he stood still for a few moments and then
realized that nothing is pulling him and started trotting in our
direction (well, truthfully he first took a mouthful of grass on
the side and then he came running towards us!).
first stop was a tiny little village called Tucumilla and fortunately
it wasn't too difficult for Miss M to find a place for the night
to stay even though there was some misunderstanding initially! No
corral for us and as the evening came closer, Miss M brought us
downhill from where we were munching on some dry grass-shrubs so
that we were not too exposed in the cold and wind.
trip the following day from Tucumilla to Iscayachi must have been
the most difficult so far. We went up and up to some really high
altitudes and even Miss M complained of a headache. The air was
thin and chilly and we could see she had little breath when she
walked at times with us.
Leaving Iscayachi, our calculations regarding the distances were
a bit wrong and we almost got stuck between the mountains with nowhere
to stay....and this on Miss M's birthday and all! And this wasn't
the only memorable experience of the day...
were very lucky to have found a little village (called Puesto Grande
with only about 5 houses) in between on the way from Iscayachi to
El Puente because we went for miles and miles and no place in sight.
A lovely girl called Reynalda offered Miss M a place to stay and
we got some corn leaves for dinner. Not the most filling and at
one stage Tusa suggested that we go and look for something tastier.
We were not tied up and as Miss M was busy preparing something to
eat herself, we quietly sneaked away. The next thing, a little girl
came calling for Miss M, shouting that we are running away!! The
little brat! Reynalda came chasing us with Miss M behind her (alreadly
in her sleeping wear and slip-on shoes!). Tusa and I still laugh
at what happened over the next few hours with Miss M & Reynalda
running after us as we were galloping back(it seemed to Argentina!)
through the mountain road for about 7km. They tried to take short
cuts to catch up with us but all they caught were cactus-thorns
in their feet and fingers! I will let Miss M tell the story as to
how we were caught eventually and it was already dark when Miss
M and Renalda rode us back to the village, bare-back and without
bridle & reins. I am sure Miss M wouldn't forget her birthday
easily, in fact she had two huge sores on her bum for a few days
afterwards from the bare-back riding!
M thought it wise to go back to Tarija by truck to get some vitamins
for us (she still is quite squeamish to give us the injections and
I still won't still) because she sensed that we were quite tired.
Leaving Puesto Grande, we had to travel two more days before we
finally arrived in Camargo, the biggest town since leaving Tarija.
From there on we went up higher and higher to altitudes of more
than 3400 metres. We had a negative experience in a town called
Cruz de Belen which now had been voted by us as the dirtiest and
most depressing town in South America. For two hours we were assured
that we will have a place to stay for the night and then finally
nothing materialized. Miss M saddled us up again and left the town
furious (and close to tears), not knowing where we will put out
heads that evening. Fortunately all worked out well in the end but
not without its frustrations and annoyances.
The last village before we reached Potosi was Kuchu
Ingenio and although it was a very scenic and spectacular ride from
there, it was also tremendously difficult and tiring. Potosi is
the highest city of each size in the world at an altitude of 4070
metres and when we finally arrived, we had to go through the city
to get to a place outside where we were going to stay for a few
days. We travelled that day for about 12 hours and we've never been
so happy when we ultimately came to a stop and Miss M started to
yes, we also saw our first Llamas on the way and Miss M got very
excited, shouting and saying "hola, hola". We couldn't
be bothered too much about these strange looking animals and all
they got from me was a formal nod. I am not sure if Tusa even spotted
them as I think he was too occupied looking for something to stuff
his face with
We are leaving for Oruro on Monday and it will be
a good ten days before we will get to see the crystal waters of
Lake Poopo and we hope to reach La Paz around the middle of November.
We are counting the days because Miss M's friend, Tracy is coming
to visit and both Tusa and I are really looking forward to meeting
her. Tracy will also bring over bits and bobs that Miss M needs
and included will be a few things from HorseHeaven (the best equestrian
shop in Ireland - take my word for this!).
Off course we will be in touch again. Watch this space
Marianne an email >