Horse Riding Program

_Z0A1861Increasingly, guests are attracted to El Saltamontes by the Equestrian activities available.

As a working Ranch or Estancia, horses have always been an integral part of daily activities. Our children rode them to school every day, they are an essential tool for cattle farming, as transport when the harsh winter weather permits nothing else, as partners in sport and companions in adventures.

The horses

The Ranch has developed a unique breed of horses, product of an Arab stallion over Chilean mares. This lithe, creamy, Arab aristocrat has lent his intelligence, agility and stamina to the stocky, wide-chested, even-tempered Chilean mountain ponies, creating the perfect, nimble mount for rough and demanding terrain. This grey hybrid is a firm favorite amongst the locals.

Pure bred Arabs are also available for experienced riders capable of handling a more sensitive mount.

A second stallion, the mighty Holstein “Rock Z”, direct descendent of the world champion show jumper “Ratina Z”, has produced a number of larger, more powerful horses, well suited to the more established disciplines of dressage and show jumping.

All of these horses have been born and raised in the open and harsh conditions of the Patagonia. They are hardy, agile and foot sure as a result.

A mount will be chosen for each rider according to their preferences, size, experience and ability.

Equipment

El Saltamontes Lodge has a variety of saddles and tack available to suit all sizes and preferences. Riders will have the opportunity to choose from traditional English saddles, or deep sheepskin-covered Chilean “monturas”, Argentine “recado de bastos”, Australian stock saddles and polo saddles.

Some riders prefer to use none of the above and ride bare-back, seated on a simple sheep skin held in place with a soft woven-wool girth. This offers the opportunity for full and intimate contact with the horse. This improves balance and is well suited to athletic riders who enjoy the concept of Rational Horsemanship in which body language plays a major role in communication with the horse.

Riders should bring their own helmets, boots, chaps, gloves and wet weather gear. A limited amount of these items are available at the Lodge, but experience has shown that personal equipment is safer and more comfortable.

Equestrian Program

The horse-back experiences will be tailored to suit each individual rider.

The El Saltamontes equestrian team includes Rational Horsemanship experts, a member of the Chilean National show-jumping team, an Australian State Champion three day eventer, endurance enthusiasts and local, rural mountain guides. If there is an area in particular you would like to focus on please don’t hesitate in letting us know.

Each rider’s ability and preferences will be assessed and activities planned accordingly. Weather conditions in the Patagonia are an important factor which will need to be considered on a daily basis and will influence the available options.

Whatever the rider’s abilities, each moment mounted will be an adventure.

Riders can choose a gentle trail ride for a couple of hours, on a quiet horse.

Alternatively, full day expeditions of fast riding over challenging terrain, fording rivers, scrambling over steep gradients and jumping fallen trees are an exciting option.

Riding / Angling Combos are El Saltamontes specialty. Riders can mount up in the morning and spend half a day trail riding to a fishing destination. Here they are met by a guide with lunch and angling apparel for an afternoon of trout fishing on the river, Spring Creek and lagoons. Return to the lodge can be by vehicle or on horse-back.

Competent guides will manage each expedition to assure that every possible safety precaution is taken at all times.