It is the cold, dry season (technically winter, if you want to give it a name) in Ecuador. Everything is brown and bland and a little sad looking. On the long bus ride to the shopping center, we pass acres of parched, barren land that only a few months ago had been green and fertile from the generous rain. It’s an “add water and watch if grow” type of place. So it’s no surprise that in the few parts were people try to cultivate the land, they meet with fairly easy success. That’s how a little farm came to be, cropping up in the two-year lapse between our second and third trip to Ecuador. They carved out a spot of land in the relative middle of nowhere, bordered on one side by a narrow road that happens to be the short-cut route the taxies take between Libertad and Ancón. So we would pass it regularly after our weekly shopping trips. They had horses! For Isabella, it was the best part of the shopping excursion, that brief glimpse of living, breathing horses.
So can you imagine our excitement when abuela found out, quite by accident, that the little ranch belonged to the family of one of her former students? It was totally meant to be. Only a few days after the discovery, we made a short jaunt to the finca (farm) to check it out up close.
It did not disappoint. A personal play structure. Puppies (multiple!). And a gigantic dog. Two dozen baby chickens. Geese. More chickens. A cabybara (world’s biggest rodent; they’re raising it to eat—creepy and cool at the same time).
And horses of course.
When we first arrived, this little colt was tied at the ankle to a post, but she wasn’t too interested in that. A couple of kicks and she was free.
The owners were very welcoming. They showed us all around there lovely farm. There was a mother hen with forty chicks! They were kind of funny looking chickens, too, with bald heads and a big ruff collar of feathers around their necks.
There were some geese.
The girls got to pet the horses. Isabella was gentle and soft with the colt. Sofia gave the colt one good smack and it took off running, stepping on the handler’s foot in the process.
The mother horse was very obliging. My toddler was thrilled beyond expression with her private riding session, and she acts like an old pro. Is it too early to start training her for the equestrian event in the Olympics? How cool would it be, she could win Ecuador’s 2nd gold medal, in anything, ever!
I’m so grateful for kind strangers! Thanks for make these little girls’ (and their mami’s) day!