Equator Gringos

September 24, 2007

Pululahua on Horseback

Filed under: Ecuador — Tags: , , , , — lstollin @ 6:33 pm

A week ago Saturday we joined a group from the South American Explorer’s Club on a fantastic day trip to the Pululahua Crater (near the Equator, about an hour and a half from Quito), where we did a 3-hour horseback ride punctuated by a delicious three-course lunch at a hostel in the middle of nowhere. Our guide, Astrid, has been doing these trips for a long time, at her place, Green Horse Ranch.

imgp3330-resized.jpgLeft: The Beautiful Pululahua Crater. The small cone down low, center, is featured behind us in the next picture down. At least I think so. Our ride was basically a circumnavigation of the bigger cone, part on dirt roads, part on trails.
We got to know all the participants in the van on the way up — an Australian plumber madly, romantically in love with a single mom from Seattle; two 18 year-old girls just graduated from a Scottish prep school; an English woman who manages a travel-guide company here in Quito; a white-collar criminal defense attorney from LA; and two U.S. embassy wives (whose kids attend my school) and one of their daughters. One of these women, Nicole, turns out to have a giant collection of books in English she bought in the states and brought down with her (embassy folks apparently have an 8-ton limit on shipments to places abroad, compared to a 600 lb limit for teachers). She has already loaned Joy about 10 books!


Astrid used who knows what kind of equestromancy to figure out who got on what horses. Joy wound up on Momo, who likes to kick other horses. Freshly saddled and before we even began, Momo sneakily sidled up to another horse and kicked it in the chest – with Joy on her! Later, she let one fly toward the dog that came along with us, and another one to “the horse despised by all the horses” because she was the newest. This last bit of aggression was a gymnastic feat, a move that I would have sworn horses couldn’t do — a full hacky-sack side kick.

I saw these attacks because I was on Apache, described as “the boss horse” by Astrid, “‘first to drink, first to eat.” Of course I took this match of steed to rider to be a highly intuitive decision on Astrid’s part. My task on Apache, however, was to stay behind Momo (aka Joy) because Apache was the only horse Momo wouldn’t kick. This led to a triplong meditation/reappraisal of our guide’s real insights regarding our mounts and their riders.

The roads were very scenic because of the surroundings, but things really got interesting when we started up these steep trails, and later in the trip down an even steeper trail that had worn and eroded over millenia so it was its own little canyon barely wide enough for horse and rider.


Below left: Luke and Apache.


Below: Back at the ranch (literally), a 2-week old colt was feeling very frisky. Just after this picture it began to gallivant with enthusiastic abandon, a feeling that was contagious.



  1. what beautiful scenery – being with the folks and horses and beautiful place sounds perfect!
    thanks for sharing

    Comment by Bettye Halperin — September 25, 2007 @ 9:32 am

  2. Absolutely amazing. Man, I need a vacation…anyone want to babysit? ; )

    Comment by Sheila — September 26, 2007 @ 10:36 pm

  3. lukas, you are really very good at this blogging thing. you may have found a calling! keep it up. tim

    Comment by Tim Cahn — September 27, 2007 @ 11:08 am

  4. This is truly an inspirational blog. I’m happy that you have found such a cool place to live. Good luck to you and I admire your courage!

    Comment by Karen — October 3, 2007 @ 6:46 pm

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