Things to consider
- Experience: how much riding have you done in the past?
- Fitness: are you looking for day rides or a multi-day horse trek?
- Accommodation: would you prefer a comfortable hotel, a rustic estancia, or perhaps some camping?
- Horses: is there a certain type of horse that you wish to ride?
- Landscape: where would you like to ride - across the steppe, into the Andes?
- Culture & history: would you like to experience traditional gaucho life?
Guide to pony trekking in Patagonia
Get deeper into the less visited corners of Patagonia, see a wider range of scenery and terrain from the fjords to the steppe, and get a more authentic feel for traditional gaucho life.
Multi-day rides typically range from 3 to 14 days, catering to wide-ranging levels of ability. If you're interested in a multi-day ride, we recommend being comfortable with 2-7 hours in the saddle each day.
Estancia based rides
Estancias are traditional Patagonian ranches, focused around livestock farming or horse rearing. More rustic and remote than luxury lodges, estancias are places to immerse yourself in Patagonian history and culture. Some are even still 'working' estancias where you'll see families at work as they have been for generations.
Horse riding has always been a central focus of estancia life, and most still offer rides. These are usually day excursions, but some offer multi-day rides as well. There are usually opportunities for all levels of ability. Our top choices are Estancia Huechahue, Estancia El Condor and Nibepo Aike.
Having not ridden a horse for 10 years, I was unsure at first. But no sooner had I clambered aboard, I felt perfectly safe and full of excitement! The horses are very well trained, and if you have the courage you can even have a go at an exhilarating gallop across the steppe - one of the highlights of my entire three-week trip!
Chloe O'Keeffe Patagonia Specialist
Day rides from a comfortable base
If the rustic and remote nature of an estancia is not for you, or you're keen to do lots of activities including horse riding, then base yourself from one of the luxury lodges and hotels that offer day rides as part of their excursion menu.
Luxury lodges which offer activities can be found not only in some of the more well known national parks such as Torres del Paine, but also in remote locations dotted across Patagonia. Each property has its own unique qualities, so ask us about which would fit your best. Our top picks are Mari Mari and Tierra Patagonia.
Our top horse riding trips in Patagonia
What our customers think
The guide was friendly and knowledgble, the experience authentic as we stayed in ‘refugios’ that are still being used today, and the scenery was stunning (on the days it didn’t rain ;) ). The food was good, and we felt very welcome at the estancia.
Sterre Lodders Netherlands February 2019
Everything about this ride was fantastic - beyond what we had even hoped it could be. The horses are extremely capable - fit, well-trained, happy, and matched to their riders. Our guide, Franco, was a delight. He was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the area, the flora and fauna, and the horses. He is a true horseman, always keeping the well-being of the horses in mind and knowing each horse in detail.
Betsy Wack United States Of America December 2018
I have a lot of experience with horses but was astonished by the sure-footedness of the criollo horses. They took us over wildly steep, boggy, and rocky terrain without hesitating, and I was never nervous.
Bailey Tennessee February 2017
The glacier experience was very good and Estancia Christina was superb. The service people, guides and other guests - perfect. I loved the estancia and would return. The horseback ride was just right and the hike back from the glacier was the best geology experience I've ever had.
Melinda Washington, USA October 2017
Patagonia was full of the most gorgeous landscapes, wildness, and authentic people. We had adventures, ate amazing foods, and made friends that we still keep in touch with. It was truly the trip of a lifetime.
Betsy Wack United States Of America December 2018
We really enjoyed Estancia Mercedes and the wonderful family who took us into their home. We are now friends with them.
Esther Australia September 2017
FAQs on Horse Riding
Most trips run through the main summer season, November to April. However there are some wonderful (although less diverse) opportunities for winter rides in Torres del Paine as well.
Anything from half a day to two weeks depending on what type of ride you prefer, where you want to stay, and how long you want in the saddle!
There are plenty of trips that are suited to novices. Hotel or estancia based rides are ideal if you want to learn and build up confidence without committing to a multi-day ride.
Generally, the multi-day rides are aimed at intermediate to experienced riders who regularly horse ride at home. If you are planning to join a longer trip of three or more days then you should be comfortable with 2-7 hours in the saddle. The pace of your ride will always be adjusted by your guide to suit you and the other riders.
You do not need to bring anything of your own - all tack and equipment will be provided for you. The tack usually comprises of metal or wood-framed saddles covered in layered felt, sheepskin and leather. Rope, raw hide and leather form the bridles, girths, straps etc.
Most of the horses are ridden in simple snaffles. Halters are worn throughout the ride with rope tied around the horses neck to tie up at lunch stops and rest stops etc. You will be provided with chaps and a helmet for comfort and safety.
The most iconic views are to be found in Torres del Paine, whereas Aysen and the Chilean Lakes offer the raw beauty of the Patagonian Andes and the Argentine Steppe, and their estancias provide the most authentic gaucho experience.
Best regions for horse riding in Patagonia
Horse Riding in Torres del Paine
Day rides or longer treks that explore the pampas with the gauchos, head up to glaciers or follow trails through the Cordillera Paine with its mile-high granite peaks.
Horse Riding in the Patagonian Lake District
Riding through the lush alerce forests, mountain sides and rivers of the Lake District is perhaps one of the most active and thrilling ways of seeing Patagonia whilst at the same …
Horse riding in Aysen
Discover the traditional gaucho culture so characteristic of the Aysen region by climbing the Andean mountains on horseback. There are dozens of horse riding routes throughout the …