Annual Joaquin Murrieta Ride starts in Madera

FRESNO, Calif.

It takes riders through Firebaugh and Mendota before ending in Three Rocks. Each step of the ride is filled with pride and purpose.

Ignacio "Nacho" Orozco says his dad started the annual horseback trip from Madera to Three Rocks in 1978. It's named after Joaquin Murrieta, a man idolized by many in the Hispanic community as a Robin-Hood type character. And it began as a way to protest the treatment of farmerworkers on the Valley's westside.

"Our farmworkers work hard to bring food to our table. I think sometimes we forget the sacrifices that our good people do for us. So it gives me a chance to reconnect with what's really important in life, so I enjoy it very much," Yolanda Cabrera said.

The event is also a celebration of culture and family ties. But it's no longer one united ride. This is the second straight year another group of has chosen to reverse the route to make it more comfortable.

"No matter it's hot or cold or whatever, we're going the same way because it's tradition."

Either way, the three day trip under the summer sun can be challenging. To prepare the horses for this ride, they train them much like athletes, working them out a little extra hard for the two weeks before the ride and then they give them electrolytes in their water along the way.

The riders also take breaks in the shade and try to keep perspective. "Hey, I keep thinking about our farmworkers what that must be like out there in the field, so I endure, and you know the cold beer and hospitality sort of makes it worth it," Yolandam said.

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