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By Susan A Mahalick

October 21, 2014 (Baja, Mexico)--In my previous article about Black Cross Winery and the Pretty Horses Ranch, I touched on how important both wine and horses are in this part of Baja. Now I want to expand on a group founded by Carla Jesme to help pay for the upkeep of her horse. She arrived here and fell in love with horses and the way of life in La Misión, with all the unpaved roads and trails up in the hills, along with beach rides.

Not being wealthy, she decided to help other people learn to ride and partnered up with Ishmael and his horse ranch which was a small operation. Over the years the group has grown to about forty members and Carla states that when someone goes for a ride or takes a lesson, then that is all it takes to be a member. No dues or meetings so it is perfect for a retirement lifestyle. It has also been stated by David Gee, another integral member of the group who helps out with the horses and riders, that there are probably more horses in La Misión than people. I believe that.

“The group started because I was living on a fixed income and wanted to buy a horse. In order for me to afford a horse and feed him, I decided to take other people with me on rides. I rented horses from a local Rancher at $20 per horse and charged $10 extra for the rental. For $30 we would go ride and have fun. It grew from there. That was about five years ago.  My first horse I ever rode was Catalina, the bay that I ride. I bought her from Sammy at Splash.” —Carla

“Once a rider rides with us, I consider them a member because they always return.  We have many people that communicate on line with me and most of the hotels from Rosarito to Baja Mar send us riders. The cost is $35 per person and we do give private lessons for ground work with a horse for $50. It has become a very successful club but more than that, we have gotten a very good name for ourselves. The new riders are fine on our horses because we have different level horses. I have included Villa and Ishmael who are local Ranchers and also David Gee. Everyone has much experience and is great with new to experienced riders.”— Carla

And from and email I received from Carla on September 3rd,” Actually our club tries to help the local horses by raising money to deworm and vaccinate the horses. We are affiliated with the animal rights through the Rosarito Government. We just received a call about accepting eight confiscated horses where it appears work is in process to transfer ownership to us. We will then work with Dr. Miguel Cuardras to get them healthy. Once healthy they will go to good homes and hopefully recoup our expenses. To help with our expenses we stall four horses. The cost for this care, feed, etc starts at $200 per month but will be increased to $300 within the year. We try to take very good care of our horses on the hill. Our new horse is a Dutch Warm Blood Stallion who just arrived today. He is beautiful.”

I wrote an article about the first ever horse clinic last year:

“It was a typical fall day in La Misión for the combination Horse Clinic with the Bash to follow. The clinic started at nine in the morning with the Block Party Bash to follow starting at noon. The intention was to get fifty horses vaccinated  and dewormed. Carla Jesme, otherwise known as the “Horse Woman of La Misión” who founded the La Misión Equestrians group four years ago spearheaded the clinic and fundraiser along with David Gee, another supporter of horses in our little valley. The event was attended by at least fifty people, many of whom donated cash. There was a raffle and a delicious meal prepared by Magana’s consisting or a roast pig, refried beans, rice, tortillas and a homemade salsa. The meal cost $5 and $3 of each plate went to the event to help defray the costs of the morning’s clinic. Dr. Miguel Cuadras donated his talent and time to attend to the horses. He is the only horse veterinarian in the area.”

So if you want to come down to our part of Baja to either live or visit and ride with some experienced people in our little piece of paradise, then this might just be the group for you.

La Misión Equestrians                 760.807.9353

Susan A Mahalick has written for the Baja Times and the Secretary of Tourism in Baja Norte. She has a book on Amazon that gives practical advice about living and moving to this part of the world called My  Gold Coast—Baja, 2nd edition.

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