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Last Update: 21 Jan 2013
Riding Holidays | Chile
Horse riding holidays in Chile give a completely different perspective to this amazing country. There are some wonderful equestrian vacationsthroughout the country from the high desert of the Atacama in the north to the tranquil Lake District and the dramatic landscape of Torres del Paine in the extreme south.
The horse riding in Patagonia is varied, with steep, mountain riding where you will marvel at your horses’ mountain-goat like climbing ability and vast, open pampas grass which offer plenty of opportunities for fast and long canters. There are rivers to cross, valleys carved by glaciers, lakes of cobalt blue and always with the impressive Torres themselves on the horizon.
In the Lake District you can choose to base yourself at the riding centre and take lessons or hacks in the surrounding countryside, or join a trail ride journeying high into the Andes or down onto the Pacific Coast. The pace can be slow in the mountains but the ever-changing landscape takes your breath away. At the Pacific coast there are empty beaches for long, comfortable canters.
Whilst the horse trail rides are for intermediate riders upwards, comfortable in all paces on a well-trained horse, the centre based ride will take any level of rider, from the complete beginner to the experienced rider looking for a relaxed riding holiday in a stunning location.
The Glacier View ride is a camping based trip through the Torres del Paine park. The Torres Vista ride and Journey to the Towers rides are in the same area but on these trips you stay in guesthouses and estancias (farmhouses).
The Chilean Criollo is quite a small horse, standing up to around 15.2hh, however they are sure-footed and sturdy enough to carry 14 or 15 stone people. They have wonderful calm temperaments and are honest and fun to ride. Most are trained to neck-rein so you ride with the reins in one hand, similar to Western riding. They often have quite strong bits but are very responsive so you ride with a very loose rein at all paces and they will stop in an instant when asked.
Chilean saddles are wooden framed with layers of padding and sheepskin over the top. You ride with a longer leg than in an English saddle and sit deeper in the saddle, even when cantering. The stirrups are often closed at the toe and look a little like clogs!