The Chagras, practically unknown to the world, blew my mind. The annual rodeo gathering at a hacienda often lasts up to ten days. The first few days of the round-ups involve ‘beating’ the wild cattle free of the mountain bush, their refuge, and herding them down from the mountains towards the haciendas to corrals for counting and inspection. The Chagras will often climb to 5000 meters (15,000 ft) in altitude and across perilous terrain to achieve the round-up.
Before heading out, the horsemen will form a line-up or ’media luna’ in the vast solitude of the wide-open Paramo and wait silently to receive work instructions from the foreman. The foreman, perched in front of the horseman, will ceremoniously raise a bull’s horn filled with the local firewater of homemade hooch and will repeatedly toast the group, extending gratitude, wishing them a safe ride, and symbolically solidifying their brotherhood as the horn is shared among the media luna.