I visited Los Potreros, a 6,000 acre working cattle ranch in Argentina, during August - cold enough for the wood burning stove in my bedroom to be lit every evening, warm enough by day to lie in a hammock with the companionship of a polite dog. Our hosts, the Begg brothers, matched us intuitively to our perfect horse and demonstrated the laid-back Western style. Accompanied by attentive gauchos, our tack ex-army saddles covered with sheepskins, saddle bags full of picnic, we visited a school, a church, and a waterfall where I swam. We rode through scents of violet, peppermint and honeysuckle, glimpsing hares and burrowing owls. Our long-maned horses floated with the Peruano Paso gait, a mixture of riding Dougal and a rocking horse. At night the carpet was pushed back after each of the cook’s unparalleled meals, and the gauchos played guitars, danced and sang. Hot water bottles awaited us in our shuttered rooms, comfortable with rows of books and ancient family photos. By the end of the week I had tried polo, seen horses being branded, and was eating my meat like a gaucho, bloody as it comes.
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