Four-legged fiendTraveller's tale Horsing around in Argentina

27 August, 2008

My desitination was the Uco Valley with its high-altitude vineyards and I anticipated the comfort of a brand new Jeep, air conditioned, CD player, leather seats - the kind of regal tour one plays down to others back home in the UK .

They appeared out of nowhere, a Gaucho and three horses. "Didn't we tell you we are going on horseback?" My horse looked like he had just galloped here from Peru. I questioned his demeanour and the reply came : " Don't worry . He never runs, he is too lazy."

I clambered up and something strange happened, the horse turned around, looked at me, winked and smiled (honest) - and we were off , out of control, speeding through the foothills of the Andes . Trees were sp arse, but he found them . The first one, a willow with soft leaves and branches, didn't hurt too much . Then he headed towards a thick tree and straight into the branches . My guide, roaring with laughter, shouted : " Pull the rei ns." I pulled and pulled, but nothing. After two hours of being shaken, stirred and humiliated, I fell in a heap next to the horse to raptures from watching hoards . When I tried to walk it was as if I had a space hopper between my legs.

I am sure there is a campfire in the foothills of the Andes where people are laughing about the horse that never runs and the Englishman that walks like a duck.

Paul Evans , Rumpus Communications

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