Visit the glacial ice spilling off of the Patagonia Icefield riding through beautiful valleys, lush forests, craggy mountain trails, and sandy beaches all with the Northern Patagonia Icefield rising 10,000 feet above you.
The Patagonia Frontiers wilderness ranch combines extensive private terrain with a unique location that offers you access to unlimited riding opportunities. Whether your horseback outing lasts for an hour or for a week, our rides are designed to provide you with an experience that you will treasure. The beautiful valleys, lush forests, and mountain peaks offer a wide variety of terrain in which to ride and it’s not uncommon to see soaring condors or even the elusive huemul, the endangered Chilean deer that appears on the national symbol. The varied terrain means that you’ll be able to experience everything from a craggy mountain trail to a long, sandy beach, and always with the majestic backdrop of the Northern Patagonia Icefield filling the head of the valley and rising 10,000 feet above us. There are opportunities for long canters or to gallop the horses in open terrain if you so desire, but this is not required. New riders can be confident that their horses are bred for the conditions and are trained to be easily controlled by beginner riders.
Our horseback excursions range from simple trail rides to multi-day horse journeys that include packhorses to carry the food and equipment. A favorite ride amongst our weeklong ranch-stay guests is a three-day outing to visit the glacial ice spilling off of the Patagonia Icefield. We also offer rides that enjoy boat support to allow the comfort of returning to your same bed each night for all or a portion of the trip.
We can also combine any trip with a selection of additional choices such as fishing, horse-riding, whitewater rafting, wildlife viewing, and agritourism opportunities.
We end all our trips with a customary Chilean asado (barbeque). Guests, staff, and neighbors traditionally all share in this feast of lamb, slow-roasted over an open fire, new potatoes, fresh salads from our greenhouses, bread and wine. Don't be surprised to find yourself staying up late listening to the strumming of a guitar and a soft Spanish melody as the horses nicker in their home pasture.
In Patagonia, horseback riding is an integral part of the traditions, customs and daily affairs of a unique and colorful culture. The horse is one of the most salient features of everyday rural life and visitors will soon notice the ubiquitous mount, saddled and waiting outside of each sparsely scattered home. To ride a horse in the great expanse of wild Patagonia is more than a simple adventure, it is also a chance to become immersed in the distinctive and gracious culture of the local cowboys, or gauchos. The gauchos and their families, with their characteristic clothing and saddlery, local knowledge and skills, offer a glimpse into one of the most traditional sectors of Chilean society.
In Patagonia the relationship between horse and rider begins early in life. It is no surprise to come across a young child atop a horse, far from anybody, confidently riding along a mountain path. Mothers and fathers ride with still younger children on the saddle in front of them, making their way to visit relatives, or neighbors. Often, the only way to bring commodities to market and supplies back home is via multi-day journeys with a string of packhorses. Local horsemen are expert packers, and the trussed and loaded pigs, chickens and cheese that form the packhorse loads on the way to town give way to basic foodstuffs, or sheets of metal roofing, and a new cast iron stove on the return back home.
While the main southern highway opened the region to more extensive vehicular transport some ten years ago, for many families the principal means of access between ranches and to and from towns and services remains a network of trails, river fjords and simple bridges. Most families in the area raise sheep or cattle, and this same series of trails provides the only means of bringing their herds to the marketplace. First you hear the gauchos ever-present work companion, the herd dog, barking and yipping, then the low mewing of cattle on the move, and finally, bringing up the rear and holding the whole group together comes the hard-working Chilean cowboy, born to the saddle.
Horses in Patagonia are typically of the native Chilean Criollo breed and Criollo crosses. The Criollo is well known as an even-tempered, surefooted mount with good speed and excellent endurance. They are just the horse that is needed for the varied terrain and vast frontier spaces of the region.
The horses we use at Patagonia Frontiers live on the ranch and in the valley. Our horses have been raised and trained under our direct care and supervision and are well known to us. This allows us to match the best horse to you, from gentle to spirited. If you are new to horse riding, perhaps you’ll ride Tango, as friendly and as good-natured a mount as you are likely to meet. If your experience leads you to desire a highly responsive mount, then Paella’s training and lineage may be to your preference. Whatever horse you ride, we’ll spend plenty of time introducing you to our equine partners and familiarizing you with the comfortable Chilean saddles and tack.