We headed over a large dune, and at the top, saw our first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean. The beaches of Doñana were devoid of people as we galloped down the shore. Figo was perfect, slowing down ever so slightly and speeding up, just as I asked him.
We rode into the ocean, making a flock of seagulls in our path take flight as we waded into the cool Atlantic. The smell of salty air mixed with the warm sun and sounds of crashing waves made the silence that Juan and I shared universally agreeable. We were alone at the tail end of Europe.
Galloping along the water, we passed a small fishing boat and a few large barges in the distance. We ventured further and further away from the clearing from which we originally emerged. Far away in the distance I could see the distinct marks of civilization - a patch of developed beach with hotels. Figo and I were alone, at the tail end of Europe.
Juan and I met up again, heading back into the ocean for another quick swim. "Me gusto Figo," I said, as I gave him a pat. It was then Juan told me the secret which had kept him quiet for so long. “You like him?” he asked. “Figo is a horse made for queens.” He was right, I thought. Figo is a fantastic horse.
As we headed away from Doñana, we stopped at the white washed, pilgrimage town of El Rocio, which borders on some of Doñana’s marshes. Watching the feral horses grazing in the marsh made me think of Figo. I wished that I could take him home. He would be missed though, for I found out later that Figo truly is a royal horse. Whenever the Queen of Spain comes to Doñana, Figo is the horse that she chooses to ride. Now that’s a noble horse!