Journey America Part 2
As luck would have it Ramon and I arrived in Bariloche just in time for the local fair. We rode into the agricultural society to find Quarter Horses, Criollos, Paints and a variety of different breeds of sheep.
“Oh this is going to be a fun weekend,” Ramon said with a wide smile.
We settled Sapo and Picasso into a small stall and wandered through the grounds. We met many different people but the best was saved for last.
“Filipe we have been waiting for you to arrive,” Ronaldo Pucci, a Brazilian horse trainer who now lives in Bariloche said.
The cowboy who roped and trains reining horses, had been chatting with me via whatsapp since I left Tandil. Some friends who hosted me in that city, knew Ronaldo and put me in touch with him. After nearly a year on the road, it felt amazing to speak portuguese to a country mate.
“While you are in Bariloche you will stay with my family, and your horses can rest at my ranch,” he said.
When it came time to drive Ramon to the bus station, I was sad to see my friend go. We had become brothers. He had helped me so much. He had shared this journey with me for two weeks. The thought of being all alone again killed me. But at least for now I had a Brazilian family to push that thought away. And with some hard Argentinian kilometres behind us, it was time to rest the ponies.
Arriving in Bariloche was a huge milestone on the journey. I remember looking at the map when I was planning this trip months back and the city of gorgeous mountains and supreme lakes looked so far. So impossible to reach on horseback. And now here I was. Only 2000 kms from my end goal.
During the weekend at the fair, I competed in a reining competition with one of Ronaldo’s horses and placed fourth! I also helped Ronaldo show a mare in confirmation that ended up winning her class, and watched the cowboy put on a clinic.
It was an amazing weekend full of beers, meat, and friends. After the fair ended, we trailered the horses to Ronaldo’s ranch, 40 minutes outside of Bariloche, and turned Sapo and Picasso out in a beautiful green pasture.
I can’t thank the Pucci family enough for hosting myself and my horses so well.