Fundo Encantado has horses and tack available on the property for our guests to enjoy guided walks on horseback around the 300-hectare grounds of Fundo Encantado.
The horses that we ride at Fundo Encantado are Chilean Corralero horses, a close relative of the famous Argentine Criollo horse ridden on the pampas. The size of these horses are from 13 to 15h which is somewhat smaller than the typical North American or European trailriding horse and slightly larger and stronger than the Criollo. The Corralero breed has over a hundred years of official history in Chile. The Chilean Horse Registry dates back to the 1890s. The official breeding program was developed in response to the stringent demands placed on horses for cattle ranching and military campaigning. The terrain in the Southern Andes is spectacular, rugged and extreme; and the challenges of this landscape required an exceptional kind of horse. Because of its principle use as a cattle worker by the Chilean Huasos, the horses at Fundo Encantado are regularly used to work the land and are therefore well-trained and easy to handle.
The Huasos in Patagonia are used to spending long days in the saddle when they are herding and driving cattle and they can often find themselves outside for days at time. The tack developed in this region of Patagonia reflects the needs of the riders. The saddle must offer the Huaso enough control of the horse over very steep and rugged terrain when herding cattle and also be comfortable enough to spend days riding at a time. The characteristic trademark of the Chilean saddle is its sheepskin covering instead of leather. The traditional Chilean stirrup is carved from wood to enclose and shield the foot. The stirrups are mounted more forward and higher on the saddle than the typical American trailriding saddle, which takes a little getting used to.
Horseback Riding Farther Afield:
In the area, there are local trails known as “huaso senderos,” or cowboy trails. This is an extensive network of trails, gravel roads, and swinging bridges used by locals on horseback, oxcart and on foot.
In order to ride on this network of off-property trails, you’ll need to hire a local horseback riding outfitter, which we can recommend. Here are a few sample routes:
Horseback rides from Fundo Encantado:
Throne Room ride: (40 km, 24 mi)
This ride starts at the entrance of Fundo Encantado and heads south along the eastern bank of the Futaleufú River. The first part of the ride is along the newly constructed dirt road and goes past the famous Class V Infierno Canyon. Eventually the road turns to a trail that leads to the famous Class V Throne Room rapid. On the way to the Throne Room riders can stop off at Los Tres Amigos, a traditional Chilean homestead ranch that produces artisanal goods and organic produce. For those desiring a longer ride, the group can press on south through the Difficultad and arrive at the Azul River confluence.
Rio Chico Excursion: (24 km, 15 mi)
From Fundo Encantado we head up the Futaleufú River Valley to explore one of its tributaries called the Rio Chico. The ride turn-around point is at a hiking trailhead of the National Huemul Reserve. The ride itself is bordered on all sides by the spectacular mountains of the reserve but never enters the reserve itself. Because of the endangered state of the huemul, the Chilean National Forest Service (Conaf) excludes horses and other domestic animals from the reserve.
Futaleufú Village Loop (25 km, 16 mi)
This ride takes the back roads and trails to the village of Futaleufú. We depart Fundo Encantado and head south, then cross a swinging bridge in the Las Escalas valley to the west bank of the Futaleufú River. We cross over a small mountain pass to the Espolón River Valley and follow its north bank into the village of Futaleufú. From there we head back to Fundo Encantado on the main road.
Multi-day Away Rides:
Azul Glacier Ride: (45 km, 28 mi, 2 days)
This ride starts at the Azul River confluence and goes up the Azul River Valley. The final destination is a headwaters lake and glacier that are the source of the Azul River. The ride passes by many isolated homesteads and riders will need to ford the river on numerous occasions to get to the glacier. Expect to camp up top or stay at one of the isolated farms in the area. A truly spectacular ride.
Espolon Village Loop: (53 km, 33 mi , 2 days)
This ride leaves Fundo Encantado and heads through the village of Futaleufú to the north side of the Espolón River. Midway up the Espolón we follow a small tributary called the Noroeste to its headwater lakes and beyond to the village of Espolón. This village is off the grid and what Futaleufú used to be like 25 years ago. In Espolón horses outnumber cars and an equestrian centered life is still the norm. Stay overnight at a local homestead then return to Futaleufú following the shoreline of Lago Espolón. This ride circumnavigates Cerro Teta, the most iconic peak in the Upper Futaleufú valley.
Andes to the Ocean (100 km, 5 days)
For those interested in a truly spectacular horseback riding experience we can recommend Expediciones Chile’s Andes to the Ocean expedition. To cap of your week in Futaleufú it is possible to journey to the Pacific Coast on horseback following a trail pioneered by the original Colonios in the region. Once a year residents of Futaleufú would make an epic journey over the Andes to restock and resupply themselves for the year ahead. Expediciones Chile has recreated the journey and it makes an excellent add-on to a stay at Fundo Encantado. Read about it here: Andes to the Ocean
Chile Vacation Rental: Luxury Vacation Rental in Chilean Patagonia at Fundo Encantado, located just outside the picturesque village of Futaleufú. For families or groups desiring a more private and exclusive experience than the typical lodge or Futaleufu hotel can offer. © Fundo Encantado 2018.