Day 10: Horseback Riding in Cotopaxi National Park

Tambopaxi at a height of 3.700 m is a perfect spot! Nothing is coverings the splendid view on Cotopaxi, the beds – although shared – are super warm and the whole place has a really shelter like atmosphere – what a contrast to the night before, so I could finally take a reading sleep. My stomach though was still not in perfect condition so I for safety reasons skipped the evening dinner except for the obligatory soup and started my “carbon tablet program” this day.

The morning was again super clear and with the sunrise expectations were fulfilled seeing Cotopaxi’s snow cover touched in reddish and purple colors. Also surprisingly hummingbirds were very active and less shy at this place posing nicely for our pictures.

We then stated to meet the horses! After a short briefing of commands we had to jump right on the back of the western horses organized for our morning ride. Although my horse seemed to be a little headstrong or stubborn, but in general – as I was just for the second time n my life sitting on a horses back (fist time actually was on the donkey 2 days before) – I was very surprised ow sensitive these animals were trained and can be controlled. The slightest pull on the reins and immediately the horse maneuvered n the not ended direction. Problems actually only came up when riding in the group as the follow instinct was sometimes stronger then the commands given.

The whole ride though was an adventure of its own. We went through a wonderful landscape with Cotopaxi right next to us, crossed rivers, went up and down smaller valleys and even went into gallop (which actually was better stand able than the semi speed walking). Also surprisingly this was the experience and feeling of the whole group who had compare dot myself an equal “riding skill level” (literally zero *g*). 

After having a decent lunch in Tambopaxi we started our drive to Riobamba, where we were about to spend two nights. We took a short bus drive through the city to familiarize us with the main sights, yet as the city is organized in blocks and every corner looks almost the same it was quite tough to navigate back to the hotel in the end…

Boris Kuster