Horseback Riding for Beginners in Ecuador
A great way to explore Ecuador’s stunning nature is on the back of a horse. There might just be a small problem: some people (like me for example) are not experienced riders. We may have some difficulties to completely trust an animal twice as huge as themselves. But no worries, I survived and so will you.
A few weeks ago my colleagues and I went to a beautiful Hacienda near the Cotopaxi National Park, called Hacienda El Porvenir. One of the main activities you can participate in is Horseback Riding. After my last devastating and embarrassing riding experience in Argentina almost two years ago I wasn’t too eager to hop on a horse again. But I have to admit that from the beginning the horses made a really good impression on me. They looked healthy and well cared for, and weren’t too big. To my surprise I managed to get on my horse at the first try. The traditional warm clothes you get, protect you from the cold you can sometimes feel in the altitude. Although they are really warm you feel (and look) like you could have starred in a Star Wars movie as a version of Chewbacca.
Anyway, I can definitely recommend the Horseback Riding Tour in this amazing area. You can decide if you want to go riding for 1, 2 or 6 hours or up to several days. Together with a guide you make your way through the páramo – the typical landscape of the Ecuadorian Andes – to a lookout from where you have an impressive view of the Cotopaxi, the world’s highest active volcano. At least if you get your horse to stop in the right moment at the right spot, you can enjoy the vastness and tranquility of the National Park. Do the tour in the morning when chances are better to spot the summit. Besides the Cotopaxi you can also see some other volcanoes on your way, for example the Sincholagua, the Rumiñahui and, if weather permits, the Cayambe in the distance. When your horses, now your best friends, bring you back to the Hacienda, you get served a delicious Canelazo. Drink to your survival, to the reliable horses, to a successful day and to Ecuador’s beautiful nature.
If you cannot get enough of riding after this experience, there are many more possibilities to explore this beautiful country on horseback. Check out for example the opportunities at the Pululahua crater or the Antisana volcano. In case you are tired of riding, just continue your journey on your own two feet, which is at least as amazing as on a horseback.