The horses that we will ride from our lodge will be Corralero horses, a close relative of the Argentine Criollo horse. The size of these horses are from 13 to 15h, somewhat smaller than your typical European or North American trail riding horse and somewhat larger and stronger than the Argentine Criollo, because of its principle use as a cattle worker by the Chilean Huasos. The horses you will ride are regularly used to work the land and are therefore well trained and easy to handle. (The weight limit for our guest riders is 250lbs or 115kgs)
The village of Futaleufu and the surrounding region is still a land of the Huasos where horses greatly out number automobiles. In Chilean Patagonia life is rugged and challenging, and the best way to get around in this region is by horseback. Here good horsemanship is still taken very seriously. On your vacation with us you will get to experience what few other riders will in a lifetime: a genuine Equestrian culture where the horse is still king.
The temperament of the Corralero horse is reserved. Where North Americans prefer to ride confident mounts the Chileans huasos prefer a more docile animal. Horse breaking methods in this region tend to be more reminiscent of the traditional methods of the old American West rather than the newer ethology methods. While the techniquess of the horse whisperers are catching on, in remote Patagonia the traditional methods of the dornadores still predominate. The result of the breaking process produces a docile animal that is somewhat untrusting of strangers. Because our horses are ridden by many riders over our season they are more affectionate and much less standoffish than the typical Corralero.
The terrain in Patagonia is spectacular, rugged and extreme; and the challenges of this landscape required an exceptional kind of horse. The first horses arrived in the New World with the Spanish Conquistadors. Over the centuries the escapee population adapted itself to the rugged Patagonia landscape through processes of natural selection. Over the years this natural population, similar to the wild Mustangs of North America, was used to seed the breeding programs of Argentina and Chile. In Argentina this horse became known as the Criollo; it was first bred by Emilio Solanet around 1910 and adopted by the Argentinean Rural Society ten years later. The Corralero breed has over a hundred years of official history; the Chilean Horse Registry dates back to the 1890s. The official breeding program was developed in response to the stringent demands placed on horses for cattle ranching and military campaigning. The nation of Chile was at war with its native Indian population, the Mapuche, for over three hundred years. This aboriginal war created the impetus for maintaining stocks of exceptionally hardy horses ready for military use, the breeding program became formalized by the government in the late eighteen hundreds.
The result of this history produced one of the finest trail riding horses in the world. The breed has been ridden across entire continents by such marathon riders as Ballerauthe, Brager, and Tschiffey. The epic journeys of these riders propelled the Criollo and Corralero breeds to fame around the world.
For the horseback riding that we do in this region of Patagonia the Corralero is an ideal mount. Our Corralero’s are easy handling, strong, sure footed and have great endurance.
Other Horseback Riding Vacation options include: Horseback Andes to the Ocean expedition, Pioneer Culture: Trail of the Lakes 4 day ride.