Here's why you should come and stay on the Estancia La Margarita ....

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What Are the Chances of that Happening?

Taylor all the way from Colorado 

Jennifer our horse guide from France sadly informed us recently that she had to move on which meant we had to find a new horse guide quickly.

When we advertise for horse guides we get millions of replies and it’s no wonder after all it’s a dream job. But it’s not for everyone for sure and we have to do quite a vetting process to make sure we get the right person.   The hours are long and you need to be tough looking after the horses and riding out each day sometimes all day with guests and making sure the guests are safe and happy with the rides. That’s apart from helping out with general maintenance on the estancia – it’s not for the lazy that’s for sure. 

Jennifer’s predecessor was Liza who was excellent at her job and we were very sad she had to move on. But as we all know life is like that nothing is forever or so they say.

When we placed the ad in the same web page where we found Liza, Taylor our new guide saw the advert as well as Liza. Problem was Taylor was just completing her university degree and it would have meant dropping out of university to take the job so she decided not to apply. She just said to herself that this is her dream job and that she will pray that she gets it next time round. She said that she was sorely tempted to drop out of university to get the job but thankfully common sense prevailed and Taylor completed her degree. Liza was given the job and she was with us for nearly a year working with us and of course the horses. There is no doubt she was a tough act to follow as she did such a wonderful job.

When Liza told us she had to move on as university was calling to complete her MBA we cried a bit and proceeded to place another ad. 

Read what happened next its incredible…….. 

Within six hours of us placing that ad Taylor saw it and this time with university over she was ready. She immediately responded to our advert. After a number of interviews and vetting process, which she easily passed, she was given the job and had landed her dream job.

Taylor has now joined us on the estancia after flying over from Colorado and we are very very happy we chose her and that she chose us.  She is a lovely person full of enthusiasm. She has vast experience of guiding horse rides in Colorado her hometown and speaks good Spanish.  She has even guided sleigh rides in the beautiful Rockie Mountains. In fact for her young age she has done loads and will be competition for the gauchos here. She has trained in foals for first saddle, leaned safety methods in horse riding and guided in various establishments in the United States,

She is so full of enthusiasm that I am sure she will be a winner here. Luckily she will be with us for the next six months and maybe longer.

Why not come and meet her and get her to take you out riding  - she has the horses ready and is just waiting for you. This is glorious times to be riding out on the famous Argentine pampas with its lovely open blue skies that go on forever.

She can also arrange a sunset ride out where you will get to see the glorious sunset on horseback – what could be better

This is David Cumming alias the English Gaucho hasta la vista

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Times They are a Changing

Bad Loser

As we step into 2016 I want to wish all my readers (all five of you J) a very happy and prosperous new year. As always I am optimist about the start of a new year  - sometimes I am right to be but often I am wrong. But this year looks to be good – hell it’s already good. We woke up here in Argentina on the 1st knowing that the lady know as The Black Widow i.e. Cristina Kirchner is not running the country anymore and that we didn’t have a dream about Senor Marci winning the election and leading the country for the next four years.

Party Time 
His winning has already made difference to many people here in a big way and if you are thinking what’s this got to do with me well it has if you are thinking of coming here to Argentina. The main difference to overseas visitors is the devaluation of the peso by around 30%. The black market has all but gone and visitors can use a cash machine to take out pesos and not be given just 9.50 pesos for a dollar, now you will be given at least 13 and more. So instead of having to carry 1000’s of dollars cash around with you to take advantage of the black market you can do it all with your card. That is how it should be but sadly we have not had that privilege since 2011 when the Black Widow decided that she would stop us buying dollars. It was a crazy time for sure. We had an official rate of around 9 pesos to the dollar but no one could buy at that rate (only the corrupt politicians   could do so). Tourist had to either carry dollars to take advantage of the higher rate offered on the black market or suffer by using their cards and getting a paltry 9 pesos. Well that’s all gone Mr Macri lifted the dollar restriction and we all free to benefit from the official rate which today is around 13. Life definitely got easier in 2016.

Many other changes are on there way here for sure but they mainly concern people who live here. The main change for overseas visitors is the lifting of the dollar restriction. It has at a stroke made Argentina officially cheaper (although I concede it is not a cheap country at the moment -  one thing at a time!) as on credit and debit cards (which of course many tourist use) the official rate is now applied to all purchased.

So lets drink a toast to Mr Macri and wish him well for his term in office – he has started great and I am sure there is more to come –. Argentina has a big new broom and it’s going to make Argentina a wonderful country an even better place for all – that’s for sure

This is David Cummings alias The English Gaucho hasta pronto

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Christmas and Wonderful New Year

Happy Christmas From Deep in the Argentine pampas.

Thank you for your support and have a fantastic New Year

Hasta Pronto

From all the team on Estancia La Margarita


Monday, November 9, 2015

Alway the Same Thank Goodness!

Here in Argentina surprisingly for some we do have a winter. There are a few months in the middle of the year when its gets pretty cold and we light the fires and seek out our old sweaters and thermals.

Don’t get me wrong I love a cold winters day walk in the pampas on the estancia I really do. But like many people I look forward  to the spring arriving and arrive it does without fail. It always the same thank goodness. It   seems to always arrive suddenly. One day we can be huddled around the fire with warm sweaters on and the next day the flowers are out, the horses are shedding that winter look and grass grows quicker.

The sun has more heat in it and the sky is that much bluer. It’s at this moment we start to think about getting the pool ready for the warm days ahead.  Gingerly we take the cover of and see what has to be done. It’s usually a quick paint job that’s needed and that’s it. We fill it up with water and hey presto its ready for jumping into. I have to confess in the first few days that’s only for the brave. The water for the pool comes from underground springs and is very cold when it goes into the pool. It takes a little while for the heat of the sun to warm it up. But that doesn’t stop some guests from wanting to jump into its inviting coolness for a very refreshing swim and they are welcome to do so.  As the spring advances a few days the grass starts getting cut and we are left with that lovely smell of fresh cut grass. The trees are trimmed back and the horses are brushed more as they shed their winter coats. It’s an active time for sure as the days get longer and the horse rides go out each day a little later to catch the glorious sunsets in the pampas.

No doubt about spring it’s a glorious time to be spending on the estancia and each year we have returning guests who love to stay here on those spring days so we get to see old familiar faces which is lovely. Some guests have been coming for years to enjoy those first days of spring and its great to catch up with them and talk about what’s been going on in their lives and of course ours.

If you love the spring you will love it on the estancia we look forward to welcoming you one day glorious spring day.

This is David Cummings alias The English Gaucho hasta pronto 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tierra de Gauchos: My Six-Month Journey- Blogged by Liza Nagode Our ex- super china ( Argentine word for lady gaucho)

I came to Estancia La Margarita responding to the job ad of “Horse Manager.” Beside my long history of horseback riding, one of my main reasons was to challenge myself. Being an introvert, I always found it very energy consuming to stay around too many people for longer periods of time. I believe having solid people skills is very important and my nature made me doubt that I possess this kind of talents. What better way to practice than by accepting job in hospitality. Thus, I took a risk that could possibly leave me stranded in the middle of the grassy plains of the pampas or could lead to one of the best experiences ever. I am glad to say it was the latter.
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I was told during the interview that my job would mainly involve leading guests on short and long rides offered by the estancia, taking care of horses and tack, and helping around the estate when needed. I never imagined the job would prove to be so rewarding. Herding horses while watching the sunrise and letting them run freely at the sunset quickly became my favorite parts of the day, always bringing a wide smile on my face. Moreover, leading rides enabled me to meet many wonderful people who were visiting from all over the world. Some were vacationing, others quit their jobs to travel the world, and some were taking a gap year. A great majority was very enthusiastic about horses and riding, even though many had little or no experience. We would always have fun sharing stories and cantering across the plains, and there were many people who passed through that I hope to see again soon.       

Upon my arrival my trainers became local gauchos. Despite occasional disagreements, I liked working with them whenever I got the chance. They introduced me to the estancia horses and trails, and taught me many tricks. Growing up surrounded by sport horses and equitation riders, I was naturally amazed by their horsemanship skills that allowed them to lasso a calf while galloping across the open pasture. It was thanks to them and our vet that I got to do things I never even dreamed of doing, such as helping to castrate a young bull.  

However, nothing quite compared with the team I was able to work with on a day-to-day basis. Cris and David, the managers who arrived only six days prior to me, became my family. We learned and grew together. It didn’t take long for the estancia to become our home and we poured all our energy into making it clean and comfortable, and its atmosphere welcoming for our guests. Job titles meant little; we all worked together and did everything we could to help each other (that’s how David and I spent a day ear tagging cattle and working with the local vet). Of course, we wouldn’t be able to do it without Nell and Sara, two hard working volunteers that became my dear friends, constant support of David (the owner), and our supporting team. Each day was different and we all agreed that was the beauty of our job. We were able to spent 90 percent of our working day outside, surrounded by animals, wonderful people, and the tranquil sea of grass.    

To me, it was the growing love for the estancia and the power of nature that pushed me forward. Naturally, I had days when I just wanted to be somewhere else. However, no matter how difficult the day was, in the evening when I took a walk with the estancia dogs or went for a run and I became encircled by nothing but horses and cattle free to range at will over the vast pastures of the pampas, I was reminded how lucky I was to call this a job. I would always admire the fields illuminated by the setting sun. The bright colors never failed to refill me with positive energy.

Every experience, every trip I take changes me in a way. As cheesy and cliché as it sounds, in the cradle of pure nature for over six months I became calmer and happier. Very basic lifestyle taught me how little we need to be happy and I truly came to value experiences and life-long memories over things. Furthermore, I always had difficulties trusting life and my journey. I was rushing through, thinking that I should have it all figured out. Now I know that even though I have no clue where I want to be in a year, that’s ok. Valuing the moment is what matters and what eventually leads us to the future.

I shall forever cherish my Margarita experience, the people it brought to my life, and the lessons it taught me.       


Liza Nagode