We´ve come through 48hrs of rain, catastrophies with the horses´ "Easy"Boots, and more rain to make it the 90kms to the large town of Bucay. The boots, it turns out, do not work so well in the rain and rub at the horses´heels. After relatively frustrating progress in our first two days we hatched a plan to wrap the heels in protective bandage, refit the "Easy"Boots, and attempt the 2000m vertical descent to Bucay. We would then shoe the horses with the more traditional metal numbers, until we reach the drier climates of Peru.
All went to plan in this respect. We came through the descent, via mountain jungle relatively unscathed. We emerged in Bucay in the height of Carnival, and discovered two things. 1. That the hurling of waterbombs at the horses is common practice. All five horses did not appreciate this atmosphere and nearly crushed one child who had thrown a waterbomb. 2. Traffic does not give way to horses. All riders just about stayed in the saddle!
The tent has provided a decent refuge from the elements at night. We rise each day at 6, have a bowl of porridge and start the packing process. The learning of new knots has been vital to our securing of the packs and timing improves each day.
Horse relations are positive. Capricho is still reluctant to share his area of grass with the others but the undeniable highlight is his newfound ability to walk and do his business at the same time. All five now have this trick sussed, dramatically improving progress.
We now intend to give the horse a day´s break whilst they are re-shod and before we start the ascent towards Cuenca.