Horse Story
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 "The quadra almost immediately became a lake.  Barbara said, "With no if’s, and’s, or but’ way am I going to go with you all on horseback for a month!"  Well, after twenty years with a woman you get to know what you can get away with and what you can’t.  This was a definite no no.  And at 6:30 am with the downpour outdoing itself, we’d be lucky to get the horses out of the stable without them sinking up to their bellies.  Just to make it to the village Alora through all those newly plowed orange groves would be like plowing through a sponge where one could lose a horse.

So what to do now?  'Okay, here’s what we are going to do, guys and dolls. Unpack the pack horses (general moan from Scott, Lise, Siri, Jimmy and friend).  Jim, go get the VW bus (ancient) and bring here into the stable.  Barbie, you are as of now off the hook, no riding a horse to Pamplona.  You are going to drive the VW with all our packs in it, and bedding and camping supplies, food, horseshoeing, and the works.  We don’t need a packhorse to slow us down.  You’ll take all the equipment and we’ll be able to ride light.  It will be easier by far on the horses and on us.'   'No way,' says Madam Hollander,  'I am not going to drive this decrepit old wreck to Pizarra, no less 1000 miles to Pamplona alone.'  'Who says alone my love, your beloved Duchesa (our two-year-old St. Bernard) will be your constant companion.'  A scream from Lady B, the tone of which I interpreted as not a definite NO, and possibly we could talk her into this.  Which all of us, each in our inimitable fashion did. 


Then the VW pulled into the stable and everyone started piling things in.  Duchesa jumped in and plunked herself down on this mountain of blankets and goodies and Barbara, with having lost another set, resigned but mellow, started coming up with practical suggestions as to what to add to the goodie list.  A couple of checked tablecloths, candles, food, staples and delicacies, a more or less complete library, down pillows and comforters—yes, all the goodies that had been denied when we were going to use pack horses—were now fair game.


How was this to work?  'How,' asked my mate, 'am I to take this beat up junk pile, behind you guys who are on horseback?  Are you riding on roads?'  'Nope,' says I, winging it as my excited brain whirled.  'We will ride cross country all the way.  You will go by roads.  Any passable roads that will take you to the spot on this Firestone map marked ‘X’, our meeting place for each day.'

We finally arrive in Pamplona, days ahead of schedule.  We looked for a place to stable, we will truck the horses back.  We all stared at with our Andaluz dress: Pamplona had never seen the chaps, riding boots, and flat hats outside of a bullring. We couldn’t believe we made it intact, all with aching muscles, cramps, cuts and bruises but essentially in one piece.  Can you blame us for being just a little bit boastful?  We complained a lot over aches and pains—the horses kept their opinions to themselves.  But like us they must have heaved a collective sigh of relief.

So then it was on to the corridas; on to the annual insanity known as the Feria de San Fermin."


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