At the Yebra Gatón stud farm, they lead a life that makes us envious, very envious! (But the good kind). They recently mentioned us in one of their instagram posts. In it they reflected on the fusion of traditions and new technologies, mentioning especially how our GPS necklaces have helped them in their day to day life. As we found it very interesting what they were doing, we wanted to meet them, and here you have the result!
1. Tell us who you are!
My name is Clara Gatón, I am a riding instructor, social educator, horse trainer, cowgirl and mother of 3 children in Granada. We have the Yebra Gatón Livestock, which has our surnames in the name, and I have created the company “Equi-libre Sierra Nevada“ to share my passion and my husband’s passion for horses, nature and extensive livestock. And also to be able, through unique experiences and authentic adventures, to help others find a better balance in their lives.
2. What kind of animals do you have?
I have about 100 cows in extensive farming on more than 7000 hectares in the Sierra Nevada National Park with native breeds such as “Las Berrendas” and endangered breeds such as “Las Pajunas“. I have about 15 horses, 5 of which live free all year round in the mountain range, 7 mules, about 700 sheep and goats, about 15 dogs, chickens and cats!
3. What is your story?
Since I met my husband, 10 years ago, we have had this dream together. Although I have had it for even longer. A few years ago I already had a horseback riding company in Italy and then I had another one in France.
I came to Spain to return to the roots of western dressage in which I am specialized and because I wanted to discover the cowboy dressage. It was then that I met Antonio, a cowboy who used to transhumance about 200 cows from Cordoba to Sierra Nevada. It was so unusual and authentic that I couldn’t resist joining the adventure. Along the way, to the sound of cow bells, we got married.
From the beginning we wanted to go horseback riding, because Antonio also worked as a monitor and is a real cowboy with a lot of art to share. I am speaks 5 languages and i’m interesting in the personal development and balance of the human being. But in the end we let the time go by raising children, goats, sheep and surely also because we were a ittle afraid to launch our own project. Finally last summer, just before my 40th birthday and realizing that time flies, I decided that the time was now.
We registered Equi-libre Sierra Nevada as an active tourism company, I made a website and opened an Instagram account. In a short time we started taking our first clients on the back of mules and horses to the peaks of the Sierra. The more people we have taken, the more we have realized how unique and valuable our work and its environment is. We also propose routes with cowboy work in which people can enjoy feeling like a real cowboy running after the cows after searching for them through vast areas of rugged mountains. There are still many projects to be realized and adventures to be shared, we have just started!
4. We want to know what your day-to-day life is like!
Not every day is the same. There are days when I stay more at home, managing the children, administrative paperwork, organizing and scheduling. And other days we have people on the road and then we go to take the animals, take them for a walk, show them, share and enjoy together.
Almost every weekend I go up 1200 miles high in a farm where my horses often come in freedom. From there I go as a cowgirl to look for our cows, push them if they get close to the boundaries where we don’t want them to go, or just keep an eye on them to see if they are ok. Then I get to tame the several foals that are being raised in total freedom and are, therefore, very healthy physically and emotionally. It is very fortunate to be able to have animals in these conditions. On other days, we set up an electric herder for the mules, which we move depending on where there is pasture for them. On other days I go with my husband to graze with the sheep. What I know for sure is that I never get bored!
5. What changes has the use of our GPS devices changed for you?
It’s been very convenient. My husband had to go up to the mountains with the car and spend several hours checking on the cows. Now he does it from bed when he wakes up. Also for me, who does not know the Sierra as well as he does, it is a great help to be able to guide myself with the device, and from my mare, who also carries it, it is much easier to find the cows!
6. What do you think are the benefits of using technology in livestock farming?
I believe that it saves time, that it is a powerful tool that is very useful and that it also allows animals to live in very natural conditions. I believe that technology associated with ethical values and the knowledge of traditional wisdoms can be a perfect balance for a new way of living from and in the countryside.
From digitanimal, we thank Clara for taking the time to explain her personal and professional experience.