We spent three days on a cattle and sheep farm in the countryside of Uruguay where we learned about the gaucho way of life. Gauchos are cowboys living in Argentina, Uruguay, and southern Brazil. The ranch we stayed at is called Panagea and is run by Juan and Suzanna. Because the ranch is quite a way from any city, there is no electricity. They had a generator to provide power from 7-10 pm and otherwise it was candlelight only. Every morning we woke up to cook breakfast at 7am before heading out to ride for a few hours. We learned how to saddle up our own horses and helped round up both cattle and sheep. After lunch and a siesta, we returned to the fields to work in the afternoon.
Their ranch is a cattle and sheep breeding ranch. They sell calves and lambs, as well as sheer sheep every year. A few of the work activities included finding and treating sick animals, moving cattle between grazing fields, and bringing in cows for tick removal baths. Because they have no electricity, they only milk a few cows for the family’s needs rather than for selling.
To saddle up, you stand on the left side of the horse and start with two blankets. Then place the saddle with stirrups at armpit’s length. Then cinch up the large girth to keep the saddle in place. After, place the sheepskin and the smaller girth. Last, put the bridle in place with the bit in the gap of the horse’s teeth.
They plant eucalyptus trees around the fields for shade for the animals and for wood. The natural predators include foxes for the lambs and wild boars for sheep and calves.