Victor, having loaded the mule now prepares the horse
Victor, Rigo’s eldest son, is a great horseback arriero guide. He is wonderfully ‘simpatico’ and especially good with children. He looks after them well, takes them fishing, makes things like baseball bats out of old wood lying around and generally adds to the fun of a day ride or a camping trip. He is also a very good cook, specialising in Chilean dishes like cazuela (a soupy stew) as well as the traditional barbecue or ‘asado’. This is especially is important on overnight rides. He is an excellent horseman and in addition to that can manage and load mules – the sign of a good arriero in Chile. As well as all that Victor is a craftsman, making beautiful hand sewn artisan leather goods such as belts, bridles and chaps. (In the picture he is wearing a pair of calfskin chaps made by himself). He carefully maintains and repairs our riding equipment -saddles, bridles and head-collars.
Most of the horseback arriero guides in the group are members of Rigo, our head guide’s, family and Victor as his eldest son is very important. Family in Chile has close bonds and the Cajon del Maipo is a semi-enclosed area where nearly everyone is related in some way and 5 or 6 family names seem to dominate.