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Chapter Three - Helpx at Cortijo Los Plumas in the Alpujarras

See Episode 3 of my Vlog on this trip here

Tina, a friend of Amanda’s has bought Mister Grey, he wasn’t a rescue horse, but was quite neglected, massively under-weight, and with many open sores where he’d vigorously rubbed himself on anything he could! Currently he’s at Amanda’s, but will soon go to Tina’s newly built yard, when he and Tina have had some training!

It’s Tina’s first horse, she has ridden for many years but had a hiatus after a nasty fall, so just needs to get back into the swing of things. I can’t wait to see their relationship develop over the next year or so!

After riding in the mornings, we’d wash the ridden horses down……. Only for them to nearly always roll in the dust immediately afterwards! Amanda would give the horses a hard feed and do a few other jobs, I’d do the hay nets, water and de-pooping, after settling them all down in the barn, we’d go up to the cortijo for breakfast, around 11am.

Amanda would sort out the breakfast, I didn’t contribute an awful lot toward that, except gobble it down as I’d be pretty hungry by then!

I’d do the dishes, perhaps some sweeping then go for an early siesta quite often, to make sure I didn’t sleep later in the afternoon, as it wasn’t helping my night time sleep napping that late.

Around 2pm we’d go back down to the horses, do the water, hay nets and some more de-pooping, perhaps for an hour or so, then return to the cortijo for a late lunch. Often this would be the main meal of the day.

I’d sometimes go for a bike ride in the afternoon, or perhaps clean some tack or do some sweeping, whilst Amanda and Andy took their siesta. It was tempted to sleep again, but tried not to!

I’d ride Bay down the rambla, flat-chat, whizzing through the stream crossings, getting a little wet in the process. It was downhill all the way and was so much fun! Other times I’d explore on Bay, to try and find some trails, mostly I was unsuccessful, the terrain is very steep, loose and eroded, not suitable for riding in short shorts and a vest top!

Thinking back, I’d actually explored more on Bay than it seemed at the time, having pushed-up and ridden down the hills in various directions from the cortijo, over the two-week period. In the heat it was tough going which meant I’d only ride for a couple of hours then call it a day. I think if I’d have been there in spring or Autumn I could have found some good trails to ride.

When out on the bike I didn’t want to go too far as I was terrified of getting lost. I’d never find my way back, especially without a phone signal! Amanda tried to help me with pointing out landmarks whilst we were out on the horses, to try and give a sense of where I was and where we’d been, alas I just don’t have any sense of direction, at all.

Some days we wouldn’t go on a hack with the horses, we’d ride in the arena or ring. Amanda introduced me to long-reining, poor Sombra he must have thought what the hell is she asking me to do! I didn’t fully get to grips with it although I started to understand what I was supposed to achieve towards the end. I’d watch her school the horses, or she’d give me a short riding lesson.

The beautifully long summer days, 7am to 10pm were pretty much filled with horsey stuff, three times a day doing the horsey housekeeping, riding, chit-chatting over a meal or a cup of tea, walking the dogs, mulling over life’s experiences or Andy’s documentary conundrums. Pretty sweet really!

And it’s made me think so much about wanting to be in the Alpujarras permanently, but I need an income and it’s not like there’s any real jobs up there! I’m still working on figuring a way that I could move there. Could I handle it? Everything is harder work than it is at home, I’m not sure but watch this space!

Thanks to Amanda and Andy for hosting me, I hope I wasn’t too painful! And thanks to Tina and Jenny for the visits and chit chat!

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