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Patagonia’s Gauchos: The Cowboy Way (Photo Essay)

by Andrea on April 7, 2011

Since we were trying to avoid the rain at Torres del Paine, we headed over to the stables near the Hotel Las Torres to watch the gauchos prepare the horses for the winter.

lasso Patagonias Gauchos: The Cowboy Way (Photo Essay)

The tourist season was ending so it was time to prepare the horses for winter.

gauchos chilenos Patagonias Gauchos: The Cowboy Way (Photo Essay)

new shoes Patagonias Gauchos: The Cowboy Way (Photo Essay)

An important task is to remove some of the horseshoes.

shoes off Patagonias Gauchos: The Cowboy Way (Photo Essay)

good horse Patagonias Gauchos: The Cowboy Way (Photo Essay)

Some praise and attention is in order for the horses, of course.

gaucho patagonia chile Patagonias Gauchos: The Cowboy Way (Photo Essay)

nutrients Patagonias Gauchos: The Cowboy Way (Photo Essay)

After the shoes are removed, each horse received some nutrients.

not a happy horse Patagonias Gauchos: The Cowboy Way (Photo Essay)

This horse was quite feisty and it took a lot of work to get her into the stall. Maybe she liked her shoes? I can relate…

john horse Patagonias Gauchos: The Cowboy Way (Photo Essay)

John bonded with this one.

free1 Patagonias Gauchos: The Cowboy Way (Photo Essay)

The purpose of the preparation was to let the horses go free to roam and graze for the winter.

Have you ever watched cowboys at work?

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{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Kyle April 7, 2011 at 6:36 am

Look how scared the guacho looks when the horse reared up…you’d think he’d be used to it by now!

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Andrea and John April 8, 2011 at 1:48 am

Haha, he was yelling a lot at the horses in Spanish – I didn’t really know what was going on =)

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Laurel April 7, 2011 at 9:09 am

What an interesting look into the cowboy side of life. My grandfather and uncles are farmers, although I’ve never really gotten into the cowboy side of things. It always looks more exotic when it’s not in your own country.

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Andrea and John April 8, 2011 at 1:50 am

I’ve never been into it either but I really enjoyed our time watching these guys – I have a lot of respect for them seeing how hard they work.

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Caz Makepeace April 7, 2011 at 7:13 am

I loved these photos.One of my dream things to do is spend at least a week on a ranch. It would be so much fun.

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Andrea and John April 8, 2011 at 1:49 am

Thanks so much, Caz. I reckon it would be totally. Surely you can do that in Oz at the jackeroo and jilleroo schools?

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Julia April 7, 2011 at 10:30 am

Great photos! What a unique way to spend a day. Loving the caption for the feisty horse! Haha

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Andrea and John April 8, 2011 at 1:51 am

Thanks so much, Julia! =) This was the first time I’ve photographed people and animals together so it was a really special session for me. That horse was wild!

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emilyinchile April 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Aww, I loved these guys! We saw them when we were there, since we stayed at the refugio just down the road, and I wished we’d had time to go for a ride.

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Andrea and John April 8, 2011 at 1:52 am

Oh how cool that they were the same guys – so friendly! I’ve never ridden a horse, actually but would love to try it sometime…

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South America Me April 7, 2011 at 12:22 pm

What great photos. Love them!
I wonder how hard it is to round them all up again once winter is over.
Rob W.

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Andrea and John April 8, 2011 at 1:52 am

Thanks so much, Rob! I was wondering the same thing, haha =)

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Erin in Costa Rica April 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Cool photos! Interesting process, the horses here in Costa Rica don’t get a season off since the weather is nice year-round.

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Andrea and John April 8, 2011 at 1:55 am

Thanks, Erin! Awww, sad…everyone deserves some time off

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Cathy Sweeney April 7, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Spending a day with gauchos — how cool! Interesting story. I’ve never had an up close experience watching cowboys work — but would like to.

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Andrea and John April 8, 2011 at 1:58 am

I hadn’t either before, Cathy – certainly an eye-opener! I love horses but really know nothing about them.

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Christy & Kali April 7, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Awesome photos! And that rope bridle in the second photo looks really interesting.

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Andrea and John April 8, 2011 at 1:55 am

Thanks so much, guys! =) Yeah, noticed that too…think it’s just temporary for moving the horse but not sure

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manonthelam April 8, 2011 at 2:18 am

Great pix! I’m in Alberta, so lots of cowboys (and cowgirls) in these here parts. A good friend owns a dairy farm so I’m more used to being around cows though. :>)

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Andrea and John April 9, 2011 at 2:18 am

Thanks! =) we’re much more used to seeing cows as well, haha

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Debbie Beardsley April 8, 2011 at 3:03 am

The pictures are great! Patagonia looks even more wonderful that I previously thought. Must have been a great experience spending time with the gauchos.

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Andrea and John April 9, 2011 at 2:20 am

There is certainly more happening in Patagonia than we thought. Lots of estancias (ranches) down here so it is certainly part of the life. Thanks!

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Peter Heck April 8, 2011 at 2:28 am

Awesome photos you guys!! I love horses and riding, this would have been such a blast to experience! I really would like to spend some time on a ranch and learn all about the life.

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Andrea and John April 9, 2011 at 2:19 am

Thanks so much, Peter =) we actually know very little about horses and really enjoyed this as a first-time experience

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Sarah Wu April 8, 2011 at 2:55 am

Interesting photos, love the way you shot them,

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Andrea and John April 9, 2011 at 2:19 am

Thanks so much, Sarah! =)

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Natalie April 8, 2011 at 5:38 am

Fantastic pictures. You have just reminded me that there is a horse safari place near here. Might take a drive up today. Would you believe I have never been there!

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Andrea and John April 9, 2011 at 2:22 am

Sounds really interesting…horse safari? I’d love to know more…

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Turkey's For Life April 8, 2011 at 5:47 am

They’re great photos! Whenever I come into this site, you’re either caught up in lots of rain, or trying to avoid rain. :) Are you not having much luck with the weather?
Julia

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Andrea and John April 9, 2011 at 2:24 am

Haha, well we’ve been in the rainy season lately in Chile but before that had pretty good luck with the weather in New Zealand. The last few days in Argentina we have had fantastic weather. Just Torres del Paine had awful weather for us

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Jade April 8, 2011 at 9:15 am

Great photos- i love that I feel like the one horse is staring right at me. kinda spooky, kinda sweet.

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Andrea and John April 9, 2011 at 2:24 am

Thanks, Jade…I know which one you mean, I just LOVE the look on that horse’s face. So sweet =)

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Sophie April 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Nice photo essay, guys!

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Andrea and John April 9, 2011 at 2:26 am

Thanks so much, Sophie!

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Randy April 8, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Great photos! The third one from the bottom is my favorite; it’s classic.I also really dig the gaucho in the beret and wool sweater. He reminds me of a mad beatnik poet.

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Andrea and John April 9, 2011 at 2:27 am

Thanks so much =) He was a character, haha!

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Bluegreen Kirk April 8, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Nice photo essay im not sure about being the on who has to change the horseshoes though. Just curious but what do horses do in the wild without horseshoes?

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Andrea and John April 9, 2011 at 2:28 am

Eat, drink and chill I suppose. Not sure but I was really wondering how they keep warm…

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Nicole April 9, 2011 at 2:22 am

Beautiful photos, love how they tell the story. So cool you got to be there for the end of the season transition! :)

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Andrea and John April 9, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Thanks so much, Nicole! It was a very lucky surprise, indeed =)

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Laura April 9, 2011 at 4:46 pm

These are some gorgeous photos! They really capture the feeling of Patagonia and the gauchos – so cool you guys got to spend time there!

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Andrea and John April 9, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Thanks so much, Laura =) We really enjoyed Patagonia; flying up to Bariloche this afternoon for a few more days and then that’s it. Taking some great memories with us, of course

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Sonya April 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Beautiful photo essay of Patagonia and cowboy culture!

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Andrea and John April 10, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Thanks so much, Sonya!

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Akila April 11, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Wow – gorgeous photos! Love the whole feel of the gauchos with their horses.

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Andrea and John April 12, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Thanks so much, Akila! We really enjoyed watching them; we’d never seen anything like that before

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Michael Figueiredo April 11, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Beautiful photos of such magnificent animals! :)

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Andrea and John April 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Thanks so much, Michael. Horses really wow me – I don’t have any experience with them so maybe the mystique is part of it

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Mara Gorman April 11, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Love that guy with the beret and goatee and the Prince Valiant hair!

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Andrea and John April 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Haha, they were all characters but he had an especially interesting look =)

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Anonymous April 12, 2011 at 2:06 am

these are gorgeous you two! so lush and beautiful subjects to snap for. i have seen cowboys at work- in argentina at mar de ajo. i found it really meditative- so totally relaxing to watch and hope to do more of it here in the states on my cross-country trip. :)

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Andrea and John April 12, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Thanks so much, Lorna! I’m sure you’ll find plenty of cowboys along your travels. Something tells me they may look a little different, though =)

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roy | cruisesurfingz April 12, 2011 at 2:48 am

Wow, and here I thought cowboys was a North American thing :)

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Andrea and John April 12, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Haha, I suspect the culture may be a little different but who knows!

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Kelsey Freeman April 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Actually, American cowboys evolved from Spanish/South American vaqueros and gauchos!

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Andrea and John April 13, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Had no idea about that, Kelsey! Thanks for filling us in…very interesting

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Kelsey Freeman April 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Nice shots! Great, warm lighting, there.

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Anita Gray April 14, 2011 at 4:14 am

Love horses. These photos capture their strength and spirit. Like the beret on one of the gaucho’s heads too!

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Andrea and John April 14, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Thanks so much, Anita! We saw a few berets on gauchos and guides in Patagonia – must be the fashion! =)

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Katrina April 17, 2011 at 7:13 pm

I used to train horses, so I love seeing how it’s handled in different cultures. Well, provided it’s with love and respect. And these horses look very well cared for, so this was definitely a treat. Thanks for posting! :)

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Andrea and John April 18, 2011 at 11:44 am

There definitely seemed to be love there. We really enjoyed watching them. Thanks for commenting =)

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Andrea and John July 11, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Thanks so much, Madhu! =)

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Angie July 28, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I love this post.  Great photos and so interesting to see the gauchos at work!

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Andrea and John July 28, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Thank you so much, Angie! It’s one of my favourite posts so that means so much to me. We loved watching them work – they have to be so patient!

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Federico August 14, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Great photos, very descriptive of what was going on!

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Andrea and John August 14, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Thanks so much Federico! =)

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