The notorious Patagonian wind blasted dust into my eyes as the setting sun lit up an eerie treeless landscape ahead. I gripped the reins tightly with one hand, my saddle with the other and held on for dear life as we clambered up a steep ridge. As first horse riding experiences go it will take some beating!
My trusty horse was slightly less impressed – he simply trotted on, bouncing me up and down with malicious glee. Near the top we got off (or in some cases fell off) our horses and hiked up to a viewpoint where we huddled together to toast the spectacular sunset with a well-deserved glass of Malbec.
When we returned to the Estancia after dark, we were welcomed with more wine, a roaring fire and a delcious asado (Argentine barbecue) in the ‘Quincho’ with its huge sunken firepit. Just four hours into our stay at Estancia Huechahue (‘Way Cha Way’) we could already understand why so many guests fall in love with the place.
The horses are so well trained that even our group of amateurs were soon at home in the saddle – and mostly managed to stay in it! The Estancia has over 15,000 acres to explore, and as a genuine working farm, guests are encouraged to help (or hinder!) the gauchos round up and lasso the cattle.
It also has access to some of the world’s finest fly fishing rivers, as well as birdwatching, hiking and sightseeing, making it an attractive option for non-riders too. There’s simply no better way to understand the unique appeal of Patagonian life than to spend some time at Estancia Huechahue.