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Last Update: 06 Aug 2010
Riding Holidays | Uruguay
Uruguay may be one of the lesser well known South American countries but it has much to offer horse riders with lovely scenery and a suprising amount of culture with interesting old cities and rural towns with lots of history. It has been a well kept secret full of wonders, making it a great choice for a Uruguay horse riding holiday. The country is located in the east of South America between Brazil and Argentina.
There are adventurous trail riding vacations available as well as are a number of ranches and estancias in Uruguay that take in guests for a few days or longer. Visit a coastal estancia for interesting horse riding through the Banados del Este Bisophere reserve, a UNESCO world heritage site. Explore forest, palm groves and beaches from horseback. These horse riding vacations are designed for quite experienced riders, happy at all paces on a well trained, responsive horse.
A major attraction are the Criollo horses, decendants of the Carthusian horses brought from Spain in the 17th century. These horses have been closely tied to the history of Uruguay from its very beginnings. Criollo horses are bred with different traits from horses of many South American countries. The Uruguayan Criollo horse is renowned for its impressive strength, stamina and speed. Agile and loose gaited, it can travel over long distances for long periods of time with no adverse effects. You ride in a local ‘western’ type saddles with a sheep skin over and the horses respond to neck reining.
The culture of the gaucho is strong and the most heartfelt values of the gaucho are very much alive in Uruguay; courage, rural skills and knowledge, horsemanship, genuine hospitality and chivalry which is why in Uruguay the term ‘gauchada’ is used to describe a good deed or an act of kindness. It is a privilege to ride alongside your gaucho guides and they are happy to share their knowledge and stories with you as you ride.
You can even try your hand at polo in Uraguay, by staying at a horse ranch near Jose Ignacio. Have horse riding lessons and hacks out through the local countryside, combined with polo instruction and chukkas.
The weather in Uruguay is variable, but you can expect warm spring and autumn temperatures, although some days can be cool (especially early in the morning or at night) and there is also the chance of rain. The best months for riding holidays in Uruguay are between October and April. Average temperatures during the riding seasons are a low of 54º F and high of 74º F.