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On a Hoof and a Prayer: Exploring Argentina…
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On a Hoof and a Prayer: Exploring Argentina at a Gallop

by Polly Evans

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At age thirty four Polly Evans decides she wants to learn how to ride. So naturally you fly half way round the world to Argentina. This is the story of Polly’s adventures as she spends two months traversing the wilds of Argentina seeing the sights from Patagonia and Iguazu falls. While learning its fascinating history, and of course leaning to ride a horse or two along the way.

Evans has a relaxed way of writing that was easy to follow. She has a great sense of humor and a wonderful understanding of the history of the country which she blends together to tell her story. I have learned more about Argentina reading this book then I have ever learned in school. There were some really good laugh out loud moments and some amazing characters that Evans met during her travels.

Another thing I really enjoyed was at no point did you feel her judging the people of the nation she visited. Also she did activities that are attainable by the average person. Those are my two pet peeves with some travel writers; they can be so condescending about the people and do activities that cost bucket loads of money.

I had a lot of fun reading this book and I will definitely be picking up her other travel books (she has written about cycling around Spain, motor biking round New Zealand and traversing China by any means possible). If you like travel books or are planning a trip to Argentina then I recommend you reading this book. ( )
1 vote Caspettee | Mar 7, 2009 |
Opening Sentence: "... As a child, I longed to ride a horse...."

What a wonderful travel tale this was. Polly Evans lives in London and decides that it is time to learn to ride. Rather than learn at some clapped out riding school in the country, Polly flies to Argentina.

I was just spellbound by her adventures, horses are just the excuse to get to Argentina, the country is what kept me reading. Yes she learns to ride a horse, yes she plays polo and spends a day rounding up cattle - but along the way the reader learns about the vast landscapes of the huge country - from mountains to plains, glaciers to deserts. A history that is violent and full of senseless cruelty yet riveting. A people who are proud of their land, their culture and sleep every afternoon.

Polly Evans is very laid back and easy to read. She shares tons of information and makes it all very interesting. Her humour bounces off every page - without being offensive and superior to the people she is visiting like so many travel writers do. I learned so much while reading this - the reason behind the Falklands conflict; how Evita Peron's body took many years, and travelled great distances before finally being laid to rest; visited two horse, Gato and Mancha who travelled from Buenos Aires to Washington DC in the 1920's with their master; and wonder at the waterfalls of Iguazu. ( )
  sally906 | Feb 23, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385341105, Paperback)

The stampeding true story of one woman’s journey from timorous equestrian novice to wildly whooping cowgirl—a madcap ride through Argentina that will fascinate horse lovers, travelers, and armchair adventurers alike.

As a girl, Polly Evans dreamed about learning to ride—and in her mid-thirties the obsession returned. Determined to finally bite the bullet and saddle up, she set off for Argentina, home of the nomadic gaucho whose spirit still gallops across the plains. In this sprawling country, six-year-olds travel to school on horseback. How difficult could it be?

As she learns to sit astride a horse without falling off and befriends the marvelous creatures around her, Polly leaps into the sights and sounds of Argentina past and present: a hair-raising mystery involving Evita Perón becomes a parable about women, politics, and religion; a tango performance in Buenos Aires an occasion for both sorrow and rejoicing. From wine tasting in the Andes to exploring the legendary Perito Moreno Glacier, from investigating the myth of the gaucho to discovering her Welsh roots in Patagonia, Polly takes us along for an exhilarating, unforgettable ride as she finally lives out her dream—at a trot, a canter, and a gallop.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:04 -0400)

At the age of 34, Polly Evans decides to fulfil a childhood dream - to learn how to ride a horse. So she goes to Argentina and saddles up among the gauchos! Overcoming battered limbs, Polly canters through Andean vineyards and gallops beneath snow-capped Patagonian peaks. This is the stampeding story of Polly's journey from timorous equestrian novice to wildly whooping cowgirl. It's a tale of ponies, painkillers and peregrinations - not just around present-day Argentina, but also into the country's glorious and turbulent past.… (more)

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