Host: Saltriver Horsemanship
Written by Heath Stewart – Owner, Saltriver Horsemanship and Topstock WA Feed Services.
*This story is being published post-humously in loving memory of Heath Stewart. This story was written in 2017*
Last year we got the opportunity to travel to Mexico and the United States to conduct horsemanship clinics and lessons which was really inspiring. I didn’t know what to expect, the only thing we really hear about Mexico (other than Donald Trump’s wall) usually involves drug lords and murders, so the incredible culture was a pleasant surprise.
The opportunity to travel to Mexico came about through friends of ours that Kellie had met in one of her courses, Nacho and Sandra, and they stayed a week or so late last year. Nacho is a keen polo player so he rode a few of our mares. Not sure what to expect, he asked Illusion to stop and nearly got dash boarded, and after a few snappy turns he had a huge smile. ”I want you to show me how you train your horse to do that” he said.
They invited us to visit them and intuitively I knew I had to go. Kellie travels the world to study but in the past I always made an excuse as to why I couldn’t get away, too busy with work or not enough spare cash was the usual reason, but this time I was in!
We got to work with Nacho, his family and their grooms with their teams of polo horses. They were all really receptive to the ideas and implemented changes and refinements straight away. We had to overcome the language barrier, some family members had to translate as the grooms only spoke Spanish. Communicating with the horse was easy as their language is universal of course.
We visited the Warachi grounds to watch some games of polo and while there we got to spend time with Memo Gracida, one of the greatest polo players of all time. His horseflesh, horse management, preparation and playing ability was understandably first class.
We also worked with a young showjumper to overcome some challenges he was having with his horse and then watched him compete at the beautiful Hipaco facilities where he came second. While there we met Alfonso Romo and he invited us to meet at his incredible La Silla stables, where they breed some of the best showjumpers in the world and the facilities are mind boggling.
Nacho and Sandra were incredible hosts and took us to some amazing places with incredible history. The rich and ancient history that had influences from different conquering nations and revolutions shows in the cultural aspects and the architecture.
We also travelled to San Miguel de Allande, Queratero and Guanajuato where there is a museum dedicated to the Spanish Revolution, check out the torture contraptions!
Seeing a new part of the world whilst getting to share our horsemanship more globally was so inspiring. We are very grateful for the opportunity and we can’t wait to go back to see everyone again and check on their progress.