Gaucho life

From cowboys to polo players, Argentina has a rich equestrian history. Whilst the infamous gaucho lifestyle has come under threat from land privatisation and modern farming, it still persists in Patagonia, where there are still single estancias the size of Wales...

This is the best thing about riding on a ranch out here. No paths to follow or fences to adhere to. Just absolute freedom.

Wild horses near Perito Moreno glacier

A day on a ranch or an expedition

Our trips range from a half day to several weeks. We use a variety of estancias, many of them still working cattle ranches, and all very well geared to tourists - even if you've never ridden before.

A typical half-day ride will start at the estancia with a traditional Patagonian asado replete with lavish salads and Argentine wines. After lunch one of the gauchos will take you out into the steppe to explore. You'll ride through pine forests, open desert, and even get to practice your galloping across meadows filled with wild flowers.

Longer rides go further into the wilderness, with a cook and some camping gear. Some of our favourites explore the remoter parts of Nahuel Huapi National Park,where our guanchos have a special permit to ride. Or you can choose to ride in the foothills of Volcan Lanin, and explore Huanquihue Volcano with its lunar landscape of black ash.

Further south, you'll have the opportunity to ride around the glaciers and even under the shadow of Mount Fitz Roy and along the shores of Lago Viedma. This is really wild country.

Overnight rides will be accompanied by an english-speaking guide, and day outings will be guided by a local gaucho, most of whom speak a bit of English too!

Action at the Villa Llanquin rodeo near Bariloche.

Most of the horses you'll ride out here are Criollo and Anglo-Normand crosses, ridden neck-reining western style.

Ben guides some clients into the swamps of the Esteros del Ibera; the only way to travel here is on horseback

a young rider sizes up the action at the local rodeo.