Hooves around Argentina: December 2023 equestrian meet-ups

Argentina

Last December, we organised two more successful equestrian meet-ups in Patagonia, Argentina! We hosted two groups of fantastic people from all over the world, with a love for horses and nature. We rode more than a hundred kilometres through the mountains and fields, and camped in incredible spots. Keep reading to hear all about this trip's highlights.

Black horse and rider in front of snow capped volcano

Dates for our next equestrian meet-ups:

24 to 31 March 2024
14 to 21 December 2024

20 to 27 October 2024*
17 to 24 November 2024*
* These trips are not hosted by anyone from Hooves, but by the owners of the ranch, and you will be working with the cattle on the farm if the weather allows for it, instead of driving the cattle.


Contact me to make your booking.

Group of travelers in front of a waterfall with mountains in the background and green fields

Read all about our previous equestrian meet-ups in Argentina:

Hooves around Argentina 2022
Hooves around Argentina March 2023
Hooves Around Argentina December 2023 

Also read: What to pack for a horse riding holiday in Patagonia

Criollo horses and riders on a mountain top in front of the Andes mountains in Patagonia

Also read: Horse riding adventure in Patagonia

The Criollo horses we rode through the mountains

These equestrian meet-ups we had an incredible group of horses again! We took Chimango, Lluvia, Cautiva, Jabe, Pasuco, Soquete, Luna, Tordo, Leoncito, Morita, Morito, Fudge, Muñeca, Mentira, Mortadella, and Ormion. I met some new horses this year, including Fudge, Muñeca, Mentira, Mortadella and Ormion. They all have incredibly lively and varied personalities.

Horses sleeping during lunchtime in the sand with hills in the background
Relaxed horses during lunch

It's always amazing to see the fantastic life these horses live, freely on large fields, in big herds, with rivers flowing through. It makes the horses well-adjusted, happy to ride in the group, and forward and excited to go out riding. It also makes some of them a bit too well-fed (looking at you, Soquete...).

Also read: What to pack for a horse riding holiday in Patagonia

Family photo! Left to right: Luna (mom), Jabe (dad), Cautiva (daughter)

The tack we ride the horses in is very comfortable for both horse and rider, and specific to Argentina. The sheepskins that go on top of the saddles make you feel like you're sitting on a cloud! These fluffy pads are also what we use for sleeping on at night.

Argentinian saddles hanging on a pole at golden hour under a tree

Highlights of the horse riding holidays in Patagonia Argentina

From start to finish this has been an incredible trip, the horses, the people, the guides, the food, it was all magical. I'll go over the highlights of our two weeks of horse riding! 

Horse and rider posing in front of mountains on a cloudy day in Patagonia

The cattle drive

We had incredible luck as we were able to do the cattle drive during both weeks! The snow came late this year, which meant that there was a risk of the fields not being ready for the cattle yet. Especially for the first week of horse riding we were pretty sure the cattle drive was not going to happen. At the last minute however, the gauchos gave us the go ahead and we were able to do one day of riding with cattle! 

Driving cattle on horseback with mountains in the background

Everyone enjoyed riding with the cattle, and some of us had a great time watching from the back, while others herded stray cows back to the road whenever they wandered off. The second week we also managed to fit in a day of driving cattle before continuing our trail with only the horses. We got so lucky as it snowed just two weeks before our arrival! 

Cattle drive on horseback with snow capped mountains in the background

The cattle kicks up a lot of dusts, which makes it look absolutely spectacular, and which immediately gets us used to how dirty we're going to be this week!

Cowgirls covered in dust on horseback

The weather

The first week we had lovely weather with a few very hot days. We had a few days of very cold and stormy weather in the second week though, which might be a strange highlight! However, to stay warm we brought out the speaker to play music, and we danced, sang and galloped around with the horses. Despite the cold, wind and rain we had one of the best days of riding ever!

Food and drink in the Patagonian mountains

Not many people expect the incredible food we get to enjoy on this horse riding holiday. Everything is cooked on the fire, and most ingredients are transported by pack horses (or mules), but the chefs manage to cook up a feast every single day of the trip.

Assortment of cold cuts on a picnic blanket in the grass
Cold cuts for lunch

We have several asados (barbecues) with lamb on the spit, lots of fruit and vegetables, stew, pasta, quiche, wraps, spanish tortillas, empanadas, and so much more delicious food! All the dinners are paired with wines chosen by the chefs, and let me tell you they know their wine!

Plate of food by a river

Siestas in between trail rides

After a hearty lunch, there's always time for a siesta! Over the weeks we've all become very good at picking the best spots for a midday nap. Some days we all had a siesta, in between the bushes, in the sun and out of the wind.

Group of horse riders relaxing in the sun between green bushes

Other days we all got to chatting, and we only had a very short siesta before continuing our talks about travel, horses and nature!

Group of cowboys taking a break in the shade of the trees

The horses, of course, also enjoyed siesta time. Either they would graze and hang out together, or they will roll, and also have a siesta! 

Horses grazing on mountain side in Patagonia

The views between the horses' ears

The views on these trips were absolutely insane again. The first week we did the loop the opposite way (compared to our 2022 equestrian meet-up), and the second week we went the other way around again. Even though it is approximately the same trail, just seeing it from the other side creates all kinds of new and spectacular views.

Horse riders on mountain side, looking into a green valley with rivers and mountains in the background covered in snow

The landscape is extremely varied, and because the snow came so late in the season the rivers and waterfalls were full and roaring. It was an incredible sight. We often rode past immense collections of snow, especially on our way to the camps higher in the mountains.

View of snow capped mountains and volcano between a brown horse's ears

Compared to last December, the mountains were very white, which was a beautiful sight. Especially to see the volcano covered in snow, with smoke coming out, was spectacular.

Horse and rider on mountain side looking at lagoon and snow capped mountains

Everything around us was lush and green already, and the lakes were full of snow-water. Set against amazing backdrops, we cantered through the fields filled with water, and jumped all the streams we came across.

The farm house

It was fantastic to be back at the house, and time and time again guests tell us that even though they are here for the first time, is immediately feels like home. Comfortable beds, warm showers, and a cozy living room all added up to lovely first and last nights at the farm house.

Ranch house living room

Horses, cattle, and of course dogs

A cattle drive and horse riding holiday wouldn't be complete without a few dogs in tow! On the cattle drives, many of the gaucho's dogs rode with us and helped push the cattle. It's amazing to see the dogs work! Mabel, Martin's dog, came with us the entire two weeks. She sticks close to the horses, but runs around on the open fields, and loves looking for lizards in the bushes.

Border collie on top of a rock on a mountain
She does get slightly dirty during the rides though!

The family

The family who owns the farm once again gave us an incredible adventure. Their love for horses, nature, and each other is amazing to see.

Two horse riders in green field in between mountains

Horse riders from all around the world

Guests on Hooves trips almost immediately turn into friends, and these trips were no different. With people from the US, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Denmark, and Switzerland, we were a multi-cultural bunch! 

Group of horse riders in front of a ranch house

We had a wide variety of riding experiences too. Within hours of meeting we all connected over our passions, and the more we got to know each other (which happens very quickly when you're riding horses together all day in the middle of nowhere!), the more we connected.

Group of horse riders in front of an outdoor fire

Hot springs, rivers and waterfalls

We come across lots of different bodies of water on these trails, and cross many rivers on horseback. We even swim in the lagoon with the horses when the weather is nice! In week one week we had the opportunity to take the horses into the lagoon. In week two we also had that opportunity, but neither horse nor rider felt like getting wet on the particularly cold and windy day we were having!

Horses crossing a river through mountainous terrain

One of the most special waters we come across, is the natural hot-spring at one of the camps! The hot-spring is over 44 degrees celsius (guessed correctly by Rebecca in week 1 before we measured the temperature!), and a lovely treat in the middle of the week. While it's often cold at the hot-spring camp (as it's high up in the mountains), it's no problem at all as the hot-spring warms us right up.

The waterfalls this year were incredibly powerful, as all the snow was still melting from the mountains. They were spectacular to see, however we didn't dare to swim below them at this stage! From a distance, the sound alone was deafening! 

Horse riders in front of waterfall

Making connections with horses and people

These trips are all about connecting with horses, people and nature. Everyone fell in love with their fantastic horses, who guided them through tough and tricky terrain. All riders quickly learned to trust their horses, as they really do know best! 

Horse and rider at sunset hugging
Brooke and Muñeca!

Everyone (myself included) really bonded with their horses, though some faster than others. Beginner riders were taken care of by our steady and trustworthy steeds, and confident experienced riders bonded with our dancing Chimango! 

Horse and rider in big green field at sunset
Darcy and Chimango!

Playing games in between rides

In week one we discovered the game of dabbles, a card game all about speed! We quickly started doing tournaments to see who was best, and it was incredibly funny to watch (though very stressful to play). In week 2 we decided to play this card game on a very cold day, instead of a siesta, to keep us warm and it worked like a gem.

Horse and rider on mountain top with great blue sky
Jessica and Mortadella!

Snow slide

Due to the amount of snow that recently fell, some of the riders jumped off their horses on top of a mountain to slide down the snow! In week one the slide was perfect, however in week two we decided to keep on riding as it would be a pretty steep drop...

Group of horses and riders in the mountains riding through the snow
Watching people (and dogs) go down the snow slide (on the left)

Drinks, dancing and singing at camp

In the evening, as the horses were grazing away under the starlight, we had drinks around the fire. On each of the trips we had one crazy night! Those involved drinks, music, dancing and singing, and simply living our best life in the middle of nowhere.

Group of riders on dirt road on a sunny day in Argentina

A massive thank you to everyone that came on these equestrian meet-ups! Every single one of you was a pleasure to ride with and get to know. I can't wait to see you all again somewhere around the world.

Brown horse rearing at sunset in green field with mountains behind

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