Retrospective blog – this particular week in October was too good not to share!
We spent a fabulous week in late October at a working cattle/horse Estancia north of Cordoba for a change of scenery and some different riding experiences. We didn’t actually get to see that beautiful scenery until 6 days in because there was an unprecedented bout of freak fog and storms. This resulted in some ‘atmospheric’ (damp!) rides, cosy nights toasting our toes in front of blazing log fires, and the occasional torrential leak to mop up in the middle of the night. No bad weather could spoil our fun at Los Potreros though. It was like stepping back in time with minimal digital connectivity, maximum nature, and wonderful guides/staff/hosts.
I would normally begin with a eulogy about the horses (which would be well deserved, and I will get to it), but this time the dogs might have to take precedence. There was a hoard of ramshackle cosy canines to cuddle and throw pine cones for, but Masai the greyhound found a special place in all our hearts. She showed up last year after having her puppies recently removed and been abandoned, and there at Los Potreros she found the loving home that she needed. Bel n’Em would entreat Masai to the ‘schoolroom’ in our cottage with them, and she would cosy up between them on the sofa enjoying cuddles and heat from the wood burner. Such was Masai’s magic that she was actually a concentration enhancer (or it might just be that Rob has a super soft spot for greyhounds and whippets). If we could have snuck her away and home with us we would have!
A quick homage to the other fabulous dogs so Bella and Emily don’t revolt:
Bella has mutinied because I didn’t manage to get a shot of Haggis (head honcho collie), so I will appease with a shot of her with ‘I chase the fir-cones thrown for me but don’t return them’ Clyde:
The horses were beautiful and beautifully kept. Los Potreros have 2 large herds, one of Criollos and the other Peruvian Pasos. The criollos are the main working horses of South America, contrived of a mix of Arab, Barb and Andalusian. They are sturdy, compact, and muscular, with incredible endurance over rough terrain. The Pasos are much leaner, but still strong. The unique thing about the Pasos is that they have a 5th gait. It is genetic rather than learned, and is a lateral four beat gait. It can look as though both legs on one side are moving forwards together, although in reality there should be a slight difference in timing of the hoof hitting the ground. The horses seem to ‘flick’ their front legs up and out, so its quite a poncy pace, but its a helluva lot more comfortable than trotting (or cantering for that matter), and incredibly they can keep it up over super long distances.
When the sun eventually came out we were treated to spectacular views. The hills were liberally sprinkled with tiny red and lilac verbena flowers that sparkled in the grass. We stopped at waterfalls and ‘top-of-the-world’ viewpoints for elevenses and a chance to rest the horses and take it all in.
The girls surprised me with Argentinian Mothers day (bonus – 2 in a year!), and I was lavished with champagne and a huge chocolate cake.
Chef’s night was a highlight when we (the guests) took over the kitchen and cooked our own dinner. Emily was on bread, Bella on pasta, and all of us learned the correct way to ‘fold’ empanadas. Somehow we managed steak and cheese on top of all of that, and the wine pairing was lavish and delicious.
We were also treated to a fabulous night of live traditional songs by talented a local musician.
Due to the weather we didn’t get a chance to play polo or do cattle herding, but we got to watch the gauchos lassoing young cows in the mist (to check them over for infected / fly-ridden belly buttons), and to herd the young horses into the corals each night to keep them safe from the pumas.
And we visited the piglets………twice!
Kevin our gracious, humorous and generous host, the wonderful guides, the incredible gauchos, talented chefs, and other guests all contributed to a very special week, and we hope to get back to Los Potreros someday (not least to dognap Masai – watch out Louise!)
And before I sign out, a few highlights from our 7 hour drive up to ‘Los Pots’:
A night in the ‘road-view’ Armstrong hotel
And the most revolting dinner EVER!