Rancho Las Cascadas – a premium riding and wellness ranch
If you’re looking for great open range riding in a stunning sun drenched landscape, on beautiful, intelligent horses who will look after you however well you ride, look no further. Add to that fantastic Mexican hospitality with food to die for in a five star boutique ranch and you have arrived at Rancho Las Cascadas.
Rancho Las Cascadas –
About one and a half hours North of the mad metropolis of Mexico City, this is an exceptional place. I guarantee you will wake up every morning in your cosy Casita with a smile on your face at the thought of the day ahead.
The ranch is the brainchild of Ursula Wiprächtiger who has built things up from scratch over the years with astute business acumen acquired from a career in the travel industry and incredible attention to detail. She insists she didn’t really have a plan and that things just simply evolved ‘I gave birth to a baby elephant and now I have to feed it!’ she said.
Rancho Las Cascadas, set 7,500 feet up, next to the waterfalls after which it is named, is a combination of first class Swiss management combined with the warmth and friendliness of the Mexican personality.
|‘Uschi’ at home with Daisy the Boxer|
Rancho Las Cascadas – fabulous horses
The jewel in the crown for me were the amazing horses and the breadth and variety of terrain available for us to ride across. If you’ve ever ridden in England you’ll know the tedium and risk factors of riding. There are busy roads, numerous fences and gates to contend with even when you’re off the tarmac.
If you’ve ever ridden in the US you’ll know that due to the culture of litigation and insurance issues you’re very often not allowed to get above a trot when you’re out trekking. There are no such barriers here. The horses are fast and sure footed. You can canter for long periods on every ride, across corn fields, mountain tracks and wooded trails.
|Rock climbing equines|
Rancho Las Cascadas – ride Mexican!
There are no fences, and no gates, just huge open spaces and a big blue sky. The horses are something special. They are Criollos, a tough, sensible and athletic breed of Spanish origin who can climb out of a rock canyon like a mountain goat and match the Arab for endurance and stamina. The Criollos can also put on an impressive turn of speed when required.
|Stopping for lunch|
They are also the prettiest colours. Bay, Dun (Buckskin if you’re American) Chestnut, Palomino, Grey, black, and my favourite – Appaloosa. There are over 30 horses to choose from on the ranch and they all have beautiful names. Alessio, Apache, Allegro, Gitano, Cherokee, Paloma, Picasso, Versace, Vivaldi, Diamante, Mariachi, Gigolo (a stallion.)
I rode a different horse every day but my favourite was Capriccio, a brown Appaloosa three year old who was furry like a teddy bear, and had the sweetest nature. One day he was curiously sampling the vegetation throughout the ride when he sampled a large prickly cactus by mistake. A whole section of it broke off and the long spines embedded themselves in his soft nose. Most horses would have gone berserk and probably reared up or taken off at speed, but not Capriccio. He just stuck his nose in the air and quivered his lip with a small whinny. Rachel, one of our guides came along side him and carefully pulled out the spiky plant. He stood quietly while she did this. Adorable.
|Capriccio post the cactus incident|
Rancho Las Cascadas – top vaqueros
The Mexican vaqueros (cowboys) are equally impressive. Expert horsemen, they are friendly and good with people and able to make you feel safe from the get go. They never let a canter continue where there were any obstacles like potholes. Nor when we encountered, as we often did, cattle, sheep, donkeys or locals asleep under a tree. We saw mixed herds of animals and farm workers cutting corn by hand with scythes before building it into rows of pyramid stacks stretching into the distance. A little herd of wild horses went galloping by. We rode through sleepy villages and gangs of stray dogs who liked to have a good old bark at the horses, while keeping well away from their hooves.
|Herman – cool Vaquero|
Rancho Las Cascadas – an unforgettable experience
Most of the guests are repeat visitors, in some cases returning multiple times over the last few years. The ranch is a favourite with airline crew on their layovers in Mexico City and has hosted international banking leaders and embassy expats. The climate here is ideal for riding, cool in the mornings and evenings but breaking into clear bright sunshine by mid morning. The light is so clear and the colours so vivid, that coming from the dreary winter greyness of the UK, everything looked to me slightly technicolour – sort of Instagram style.
I will never forget the steep ride out of the canyon. The horses can’t possibly climb that I thought, but they managed it easily. Another great day was the surprise picnic that greeted us on the banks of the river during a ride. Where else can you pull up on your horse and be offered a shot of good tequila before you even dismount!
Rancho Las Cascadas – something for everyone
The other guests at the ranch were from the USA, UK and Holland and all lovely people. You always have something in common to start the conversation after a ride. It’s a great choice for solo travelers too, as you’re always in good company. One frequent visitor – Glenn from San Franciso – said he been to ranches all over the USA and this was far superior to any he’s been to elsewhere. I would certainly concur. If you’ve been looking for a dream riding holiday, you can stop looking – it’s right here at Rancho Las Cascadas
More about Rancho Las Cascadas
|Love at first sight|
|Big sky country|
|Wait for me!|