Endurance Horse Race

summary
Dates
Torres del Paine, Chile, April each year
Location
Estancia Sofia, Puerto Natales, Magallanes, Chile
Duration
11 days mix of estancia, log cabin, camping and refuge lodge
Level
Experienced riders. Fast pace and challenging terrain
Size
Tailormade
Cost
Contact us for details

(includes horses for the 5 night safari, guide, all accommodation (apart from Hotel Las Torres), camping kit, horse for the race, good homemade foods and fine wines on the journey and in the estancia. Not included, U$80 race entry, meals and drinks at the hotel)

The highlight of this trip is lining up your horse next to lots of Chilean horsemen in a wild endurance race. You will enter one of 3 race categories: Experts (100km), Hunters (75km) and Safari (40km). The race event is hosted by Hotel Las Torres, it is a wonderful Chilean scene, and plenty of fun, fine wines, delicious food over the 2 nights we are here.

For your riding before the race you will be located in country which is quite simply incredible. It is an exciting ride combining the Beechwood Glen and Grassland Gallop ride with a race at the end. You will be based at an Estancia House with roaring fires in every living room. The water comes from the mountain behind which we are right at the foot of, literally. There is a waterfall in full view from the dining room. The meat is home reared, the vegetables home grown. Vegetarian or meat eater, we love to cook. The landscape lends itself to long gallops but we will also enjoy walking the horses through ancient beech forests and up mountain trails into higher summer lands.

The itinerary is that you try your race horses out on the first day. We then go on our 5 night journey on other excellent horses. The land is managed beautifully by friends; it is as if one was in one's own private national park. Indeed we might see views of Torres del Paine in the distance. The views on the horizon change every day and are fantastic.

The family are from original settler stock, very interesting, great horsemen and extremely knowledgeable on nature and history of the region. We can share our interest in the indigenous history, wildlife and geology – pointing out evidence of old Indian cemeteries, cave dwellings and of the previous milodon sloth inhabitant; all hidden in this wilderness zone. There are valleys of set aside protected beech forest which is an awe inspiring sight and lends itself to being a popular dwelling place for the puma. There is one valley in particular where you can watch the condors soaring in the thermals, one sees them very close because of the topography, which is a real treat. It is a wild and inspiring place to see nature on spectacular form.

As teenagers our hosts lived on an island off the mainland trapping wild cows on horseback with lasoo in the forest and bog lands of this challenging environment; from their corals they shipped them to the market town on the mainland. The family breed and tame their horses, the horses that we will ride and race. This is Patagonia proper and we are likely to encounter all weather types. We will take mate with baqueanos in their remote puestos, often because of a decision to shelter from a spot of bad weather or just to say hello to a friend! The puma may not be seen but will be ever present and the condor will survey from above and we will ride like the wind mounted on fabulous steeds.

Itinerary
Day 01
Pickup at Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales. Transfer to Estancia Sofia.
Day 02
Meet your race horse! Afternoon ride.
Day 03
Start journey with fast 4hr ride up into mountains. 2 night log cabin stay
Day 04
Long gallops. Wonderful views. Maybe track a puma!
Day 05
Day ride with picnic lunch. Cross small rivers, thick beech forest. A breathtaking mountain pass. View eagles and condors.
Day 06
Full day ride with lots of gallops, returning to cabin late afternoon
Day 07
Search for abode of a local legend Pincol who lived deep in the wilds. Find great picnic spot!
Day 08
Long and fast ride back to Estancia Sofia (7hrs). BBQ and fine wine.
Day 09
Drive to Eco Lodges. Meet race horses. Register for race. 7pm pre race talk.
Day 10
Wonderful atmosphere… Start race! Big fire, bbq and wine at finish. Early evening presentations. Supper and festivities. Overnight Eco Lodge.
Day 11
Transfer to Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales for onward travel.