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Ecuador Horseback Riding and Tours - Horseback Riding - Ecuador

Ecuador provides riding enthusiasts with a surprising range of excellent opportunities. You can jaunt high in the Andes through the páramo grasslands and plains with snow-capped volcanoes as a backdrop; through lowland tropical rain forest; or even through the many unique ecosystems of the Galápagos Islands. Ecuador's extensive hacienda system makes it possible to ride through quilted pasture land from one hacienda to another, many of which now operate as country inns and send riders out with scrumptious picnics.

Ecuador has a number of stables that rent good horses, and if you know where to look you can find pure Peruvian Pasos, Andalusians and Arabs. Beginning riders are advised to hire the tough, mixed-blood Criollo horses. Be forewarned: even healthy horses will generally look thin in the Sierra. At these altitudes, the horses cannot afford to carry extra weight-so you will rarely find well-padded mounts.

Rules of Riding

Stable standards, ethics and horse-care policies vary tremendously in Ecuador. Horse owners and trainers change regularly, which means that training and care also changes. Common sense is therefore essential. When considering a horse for hire, follow these basic rules:

1. If a horse appears ill, lame or abused, REFUSE to ride it. Change horses or leave. Please let Viva Travel Guides know if you find inhumane conditions at any stables.

2. If you cannot control the horse or do not feel safe, it's best to change horses or to not ride. If you are on a trail when a problem arises, do not hesitate to dismount.

3. If the tack (saddle & bridle) looks ill-fitted, old, cracked or damaged, ask to have it changed, or a fall could ruin your entire trip.

4. Check the tack adjustments before getting on the horse. Is the girth band tight? Are the reins and stirrup leathers in good condition? Most importantly, take the time to set your stirrups for the right length. Stirrups that are too short will hurt your knees and can be dangerous, as can stirrups that are too long. Western tack is typically used in Ecuador, although some stables offer English saddles. Western saddles are recommended as they are safer going up and down steep terrain and are generally more comfortable for long rides. Few stables offer riding helmets, so if you are planning on doing any serious riding, bring your own.

Where to Ride

There are many places in Ecuador that offer horseback riding. The central highlands have the best scenery, including snowy volcanoes, wide valleys and stark high-altitude grasslands known as páramos. It is also in the highlands where you’ll find most of the best haciendas, which generally offer horses. Baños has a number of good riding trails nearby, although shop for horses carefully as there are many disreputable stables in the area.

When to Ride

In Ecuador you can ride year-round, although some months are better than others for certain areas. The coastal areas and semi-tropical Baños have a tendency to be muggy. In the Sierra north of Quito, the month of May can be rather wet. During the rest of the year it typically rains only in the late afternoons and by this time the horses are back in the stables and you are fireside enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail.


Horseback Riding, Horseback Riding Info.

Here are other activities in and around Ecuador that may be of interest: Equitours, Horseback Riding, Ride Andes, Horseback Riding, Horseback Riding Chimborazo, Horseback Riding, Parque Jerusalem, Horseback Riding , Horseback Riding Around Quito and Green Horse Ranch.

04 Sep 2012

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