Together with The Blessing of The Horses, participating in the Feast of San Martin Horseback Ride in Guanajuato, México have been two of the most memorable experiences of my life…💞
Early Morning Departure
The early morning car ride from San Miguel de Allende to Banda where I would saddle up to ride in the Feast of Saint Martin was interesting and adventurous in and of itself!
Hitching a ride with my buddies Mario and Rodo in their weathered, two-seater truck, sandwiched sideways in between the two of them with Mario having to navigate the gear stick around the three of us–we chatted and laughed our away out to the ranch where we would begin our all-day ride to San Martín for yet another, larger-scale blessing of the horses event.
Arrival out to the campo is always a transformative experience for me, going from the narrow, colonial cobblestone streets of Centro–saturated with restaurants, stores and houses–to open green space populated with burros, dogs and horses that come greeting me with slobbery love, brays and kisses.
Today’s ride was to take part in the annual honoring of Saint Martin of Tours, as he is known in France—and San Martín Caballero here in Mexico, the patron saint of those who hope strangers will help them. St. Martín has become one of the most familiar and recognizable Christian Saints and is honored in the Roman Catholic Church on November 11th of each year.
In San Miguel de Allende, shop owners display his image on candles, tapestries and all sorts of hand-crafted relics. The Saint Martín horseshoe, in contrast to the Irish tradition of hanging it with its ends pointed upward, has the ends pointing down as a way of soliciting good fortune.
In Central Mexico, St. Martín’s Feast is an annual religious celebration and pilgrimage of thousands on horseback, bike and foot coming from all four corners of the state of Guanajuato as well as the neighboring states to receive special blessings after the long trek. On our six-hour horseback ride we passed hundreds of people making their long journey to the small village of San Martín, about 45 minutes outside of San Miguel de Allende, in the municipality of Dolores Hidalgo.
The conservation and honoring of traditions and the demonstrations of faith are many and palpable here in our beloved, adopted country of Mexico. We are grateful to call this land home.
We were saddled up and on the trails (and often times no trails at all) by nine in the morning–a cool, cloudy morning that held the potential, if not promise, of rain.
And rain it did! By the middle and throughout the rest of the ride, we were shivering and soaked to the bones, but not without ear-to-ear grins and a fair share of shenanigans and laughs along the way!
Sights on Saint Martin!
Emerging from the dense rain clouds and expansive countryside, we at long last had San Martín within sight.
From a distance we could see the “tent-town” that was being erected in this normally small rural village of less than 700 people, complete with a full outdoor mercado, families setting up camp with mattresses, stoves, and even makeshift cradles for the little ones–talk about ingenuity and resourcefulness! Mexico, I love you.
Heading up through the sea of people, cars, trucks, bikes and horses, we entered the market–a complete smorgasbord of almost every imaginable food and hand-made trinket from this region and a few other random offerings and sightings that just make you marvel.
Some experiences are designed to see what you are made of. Those couple of hours of cold, hard, relentless rain in the wide-open country with no end in sight definitely pushed me to dig deep and “suck it up buttercup”. And that I did, grateful for every moment of this once in a lifetime opportunity.
When the sun made her appearance and our friends showed up with the horse trailer and a bottle of chardonnay, I was nearly giddy with delight!
We enjoyed some delicious hot-off-the-grill carnitas tacos, loaded up the horses and headed back to the ranch in Banda. This was the view that sent us off with a most extraordinary farewell and lasting impression of our adventurous day:
I will forever hold the memory of this Feast of San Martín ride in my heart. I am so blessed to have been able to participate in something so truly magical.
Gracias, mi Querido México, cómo te quiero.
And thank you, Guerrero, for being my guiding light and gentle giant on these two, never-to-forget rides throughout the Central Highlands of Mexico! My heart will smile for all eternity at the memory of them both.
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