This March, we had two equestrian meet-ups in Patagonia, Argentina! They were hosted by Hanna, and you can find lots of videos on her instagram: Nomadic Horserider. Once again, all riders and horses had an absolute blast, so keep reading to hear all about the highlights from these incredible horse riding holidays.
There are two more equestrian meet-ups in Argentina this year, they will be hosted by Sanne. The horse riding holiday from 14 to 21 December is already fully booked, but there are still a few saddles available on our meet-up from 3 to 10 December. The trail from 14 to 21 December includes the cattle drive. During the horse riding holiday from 3 to 10 December we won’t be driving the cattle, but will be working with them from horseback at the farm. Contact me to book.
Also read: Horse riding adventure in Patagonia
The first group of riders that joined our horse riding holiday in Argentina this March arrived a day early at the ranch! This gave them a chance to rest before the start of the cattle drive, and to get to know their horses. On the day they arrived they got to meet the horses already, and go for a short trail ride around the farm house. Of course they had to make use of the beautifully green grasslands for some gallops while the sun was setting! Hanna said: “During this ride we visited the ruins of Campamento from the Campania del Desierto - when the Spanish invaded to win land from Chile and the indigenous peoples. They made a settlement here from 1882 to 1886, and now only the ruins of their buildings remain.”
The second day at the farm is the official start of the trip, and because our riders already arrived a day early, they got the chance to play around down by the Bocatoma Agrio river, jumping off the rocks, getting to know each other, having lunch and exploring further up the river to a lovely waterfall to sit by and take in the scenery. Hanna said: “We rode to a rock where handprints had been engraved from the indigenous peoples, a mystery! We rode around the house and enjoyed another beautiful sunset together.”
The horses on our horse riding trips in March were called Chimango, Mutisia, Lluvia, Cautiva, Jabe, Pazuco, Soquete, Luna, Tordo, Leoncito, Morita, The General and Moro. Getting to know the horses on the first day is super important to make sure both horse and rider are happy together. Hanna said: “Everyone gelled with their steeds very well and we returned to the ranch as the sun set with dinner ready for us.”
The sunrises and sunsets in remote Argentina are incredible, and when you add happy horses to the equation I don’t think it can possibly get any better for us horse lovers. While camping, you really get to disconnect from it all, and focus on the nature you’re sleeping, living and riding in. Hanna said: “We woke up to sunrise over the mountain, and watched the horses galloping in together from the field while we were getting our saddle bags ready!”
We are able to cater to everyone on these horse riding holidays, and there is always a chef along for the ride who prepares fabulous and authentic meals. Hanna, who hosted the trips in March, is vegan and got to enjoy all the lovely meals too! Some of the delicious highlights of our two equestrian meet-ups in Argentina this March:
Tortilla wraps with seasoned peppers, avocado and cheese. Fresh lamb, and sauteed mushrooms with sweet potatoes. Hot vegetable stew (Guiso). Chocolate for dessert! Hearty mushroom risotto. A food platter of venison, hare, salami, varieties of cheese, crackers and fresh trout that was caught by the guides and guests the evening before. Corn with butternut squash and goat's cheese.
About one of the evenings out camping Hanna said: “Once the food settled we sat in the hot spring with a bottle of wine and watched the full moon rise!”. Hanna about another night out camping: “The drinks were flowing (as they so often do on horse riding holidays), everyone did lots of singing and dancing together, the fire was blazing, the whisky came out and you can soon imagine how the night went. Plenty of campfire songs and games were played until the early hours of the morning!”
Speaking of food, one of the camping spots during this horse riding holiday is called El Manzano. It got this name because of the single apple tree that is situated there. Completely unknown as to how it got itself there! These apples aren't suitable for a snack but perfect for cooking with!
Last but not least, dessert after lunch is of course a siesta!
On this horse riding holiday you’ll be able to swim or take a dip in the water every day! There are rivers, waterfalls and hot springs, all equally stunning. We also cross rivers on the horses, and get to admiring views of gigantic waterfalls through our horses’ ears.
Hanna said: “After lunch, we rode for over four hours and saw the landscape started to grow. Multiple river crossings later, and hills climbed and descended, we reached our destination where we were greeted by a hot spring.”
Like I mentioned before, the sunrises and sunsets on this very special horse riding holiday are truly unique. Hanna tells us about a very special morning at the camp “Two of us woke up at 7am for a morning hot spring dip before the trail riding started. We witnessed the most serene sunrise I've ever seen. With horses all around us and the clouds changing from pink to orange to red. It was a perfect start to the day.”
With the horses we also visit a unique lagoon by the name of Cuero, around 2600 meters above sea level. The name was given to this area after the gauchos said they saw a monster! Cuero is the skin off of a cow and they said they saw this shape moving from the lagoon, swimming, to the sand to relax, and back into the lagoon. They say you should not make Cuero angry as it's not good luck for you! Luckily we did not disturb the monster! However, like the Cuero, we certainly sunbathed on the beach. The second group of riders also got to swim in the lagoon with the horses.
One of the waterfalls we visit on horseback has an infinity pool that flows into a beautiful fall, perfect for jumping into!
Hanna said: “We rode past beautiful blue rivers with orange rocks. They have this color because of the nearby active volcano! The ash settled in the water after an eruption around 2015 and the sulfur made the waters beautiful deep teal tones and the rocks orange.”
Last but not least, you might be camping in the middle of nowhere while on this trail riding adventure, but for one or two nights you’ll have access to a warm shower! The water from the hot spring runs down a little river and a bit further ahead forms a mini hot water fall!
Be prepared to get extremely dusty, and have lots of fun. The horses are fantastic with the cattle, and they have so much fun with their job too.
Hanna said: “The horses got saddled up, the saddle bags got left at camp and we all rode into the valley. Here we continued finding and herding 300 Angus cattle down to their next grazing pastures, nestled between two mountains. The energy was high, horses were on top form and everyone had their best cattle herding noises on loud. Everyone worked great together, and all the cattle got safely moved. Occasionally, an odd calf that hopped out during the drive quickly returned to its herd, and no one got left behind.”
During the second week of horse riding in Argentina, the riders continued herding the cows further on, starting at the pasture where the last group left the cows.
Hanna said: “The Gauchos offered to teach everyone how to lasso! We had to catch a couple of cows that had slipped in from another herd in the area. So a perfect opportunity to learn how to lasso and also watch the Gauchos in full cowboy action!”
During this incredible adventure on horseback, you ride in and out of valleys, over mountain tops and mountain passes, and when you reach the peaks you get stunning 360 views of the entire area. The horses are incredibly good at navigating through this terrain, this is what Hanna said: “The horses are the best I've ever seen at walking across rocks. So nimble and precise with each step they take. They know exactly what they're doing and how to do it right!”
The landscape varies everywhere your horse takes you, from the rivers and waterfalls to high mountains, and to the desert. Hanna: “You instantly feel like you're deep into the Patagonian desert, which we are! Nothing but nature and the sound of horses hooves on the earth. These horses are the most incredible mountain climbers! They do it so effortlessly and barely breaking much into a sweat! Even once they've reached the top they still have the energy to have a trot and a canter to catch up with their buddies ahead! Incredible creatures!”
This story can only be told by our host Hanna, and this is what she said: “This (day 4) was the night of the new moon, and also the night I decided to shave my hair off! For many different reasons but to keep it short and sweet (pun intended) I'm greeting the new astrological year with a fresh start, and 2200 meters high my head was certainly feeling fresh! We had Armando (one of the Gauchos) do the honor by cutting the majority of my locks off with his knife, and everyone took a turn to chop some of the locks off. We then got the clippers out (yes I brought clippers with me!) And off came the hair! A beautiful ceremony with the fire burning, guaco on guitar and everyone singing "I want to break free", it was quite the experience! Thank you to all who were part of this journey with me.”
As happens on every horse riding trip to Argentina, people quickly started betting with each other on whose horse was faster. This only meant one thing: RACE!
It was nearly the new moon, so each night we were greeted with the milky way. Beautiful clear crisp nights! Perfect for sleeping outside and counting how many shooting stars you'd see before falling asleep!
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