Create your own surprising and wonderful stories in Patagonia, discovering dazzling landscapes during an intrepid adventure on horseback with a Baqueano expert.
After arriving in Torres del Paine, Chile, most visitors, given options to trek, bike, kayak and more in a variety of beautiful environments, choose to go on a day hike. Less common and more unforgettable, however, is horseback riding, guided by an expert.
“Cowboys” from western movies, or even the famous “gauchos” from Argentina, are probably more familiar to you than a Baqueano. In the past, when Patagonia’s only human inhabitants were indigenous, Baqueanos, or Chilean “cowboys,” were the first colonizers.
During the Baqueano’s golden age, these knowledgeable land lovers became incredible riders through creating roads and trails, often at night and crossing tough terrain, such as snowy steppes. Today, they guide visitors through the twists and turns of Magellanic lands.
The Baqueano’s Work
Their archetype is reserved, silent, brave, virtuous and lonely with just their horse’s company in the inclement Patagonian climate. They are thrifty, having to acquire certain skills for life in the country.
At around six o’clock in the morning, a typical baqueano dresses in long riding boots, wide pants, a beret and handkerchief. He prepares a herbal tea, saddles his horse, checks the weather and goes looking for the other horses to bring to their stables. He then brushes, saddles, and leaves his horse at a departure point for the day’s tourism activities.
Horse Caretaking at the Reserve
A Baqueano’s best friend and traveling companion is his horse, so attentiveness to the beloved quadrupeds’ moods, physical states, and relationships with other horses is everything at Las Torres Reserve.
Ranch Manager, Ramón Díaz, explains that constant veterinary review, deworming four times a year, careful ironing, equine podiatry, denture maintenance, and influenza vaccines are essential. “We care a lot about our horses,” Ramón says.
“We prioritize environmental balance,” he describes, “We have a holistic practice that respects native flora and fauna, such as pumas, Chilean deer and other animals in their natural spaces.”
Since 2013, a team of experts committed to sustainability have removed livestock farming, mitigating field erosion, fence damage, and animal injury. All of this and more make up today’s Baqueano care system.
A Look at Baqueano Lifestyle and Culture
Tourist interest led to the creation of programs focusing on Baqueano culture and lifestyle. Over the years, Baqueanos themselves became leaders in these activities, which go beyond getting on a horse and taking a photo. “It’s about a feeling of connection to nature, control and understanding of a 350 to 400 kilo horse’s movements and personality,” explains Ramón.
For Baqueanos, one of their greatest challenges is making new riders feel safe approaching and riding a horse. More than 90% of tourists are unexperienced riders. The best Baqueanos have a positive attitude, mischievousness and ability to make others feel comfortable through pleasant conversations and a hot mate. They are skilled teachers, guiding tourists through the process of mounting, brushing and petting a horse. After overcoming their fear, guests leave satisfied and more knowledgeable about horses and Baqueano life in Patagonia.
Top Three Amazing Rides
This tour allows you to appreciate greenery, native forests and the privileged view of the three famous granite towers on the opposite side of the valley. We guarantee spectacular photos and a fun time connecting with nature.
This is an excellent ride for beginners seeking more equestrian experience while connecting with nature by deep, turquoise lake shores.
Explore places off of the Reserve’s beaten path. See Torres del Paine’s granite spires en route to Serón Sector, dismounting in Cerro Paine to appreciate the Aborigen Waterfall and then heading to Ascencio Valley.
Learn more at www.lastorres.com.
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