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

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?

69 comments

  1. Comment by Kyle

    Kyle Reply 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!

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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 =)

  2. Comment by Laurel

    Laurel Reply 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.

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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.

  3. Comment by Caz Makepeace

    Caz Makepeace Reply 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.

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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?

  4. Comment by Julia

    Julia Reply 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

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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!

  5. Comment by emilyinchile

    emilyinchile Reply 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.

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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…

  6. Comment by South America Me

    South America Me Reply 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.

    • Comment by Andrea and John

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

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

  7. Comment by Erin in Costa Rica

    Erin in Costa Rica Reply 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.

    • Comment by Andrea and John

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

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

  8. Comment by Cathy Sweeney

    Cathy Sweeney Reply 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.

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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.

  9. Comment by Christy & Kali

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

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

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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

  10. Comment by manonthelam

    manonthelam Reply 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. :>)

    • Comment by Andrea and John

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

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

  11. Comment by Debbie Beardsley

    Debbie Beardsley Reply 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.

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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!

  12. Comment by Peter Heck

    Peter Heck Reply 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.

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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

  13. Comment by Sarah Wu

    Sarah Wu Reply April 8, 2011 at 2:55 am

    Interesting photos, love the way you shot them,

    • Comment by Andrea and John

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

      Thanks so much, Sarah! =)

  14. Comment by Natalie

    Natalie Reply 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!

    • Comment by Andrea and John

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

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

  15. Comment by Turkey's For Life

    Turkey's For Life Reply 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

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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

  16. Comment by Jade

    Jade Reply 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.

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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 =)

  17. Comment by Sophie

    Sophie Reply April 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Nice photo essay, guys!

    • Comment by Andrea and John

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

      Thanks so much, Sophie!

  18. Comment by Randy

    Randy Reply 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.

    • Comment by Andrea and John

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

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

  19. Comment by Bluegreen Kirk

    Bluegreen Kirk Reply 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?

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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…

  20. Comment by Nicole

    Nicole Reply 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! :)

    • Comment by Andrea and John

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

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

  21. Comment by Laura

    Laura Reply 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!

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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

  22. Comment by Sonya

    Sonya Reply April 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Beautiful photo essay of Patagonia and cowboy culture!

    • Comment by Andrea and John

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

      Thanks so much, Sonya!

  23. Comment by Akila

    Akila Reply April 11, 2011 at 3:16 pm

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

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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

  24. Comment by Michael Figueiredo

    Michael Figueiredo Reply April 11, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Beautiful photos of such magnificent animals! :)

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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

  25. Comment by Mara Gorman

    Mara Gorman Reply April 11, 2011 at 11:05 pm

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

    • Comment by Andrea and John

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

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

  26. Comment by Anonymous

    Anonymous Reply 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. :)

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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 =)

  27. Comment by roy | cruisesurfingz

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

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

    • Comment by Andrea and John

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

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

    • Comment by Kelsey Freeman

      Kelsey Freeman April 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm

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

    • Comment by Andrea and John

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

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

  28. Comment by Kelsey Freeman

    Kelsey Freeman Reply April 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Nice shots! Great, warm lighting, there.

  29. Comment by Anita Gray

    Anita Gray Reply 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!

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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! =)

  30. Comment by Katrina

    Katrina Reply 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! :)

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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 =)

  31. Comment by Andrea and John

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

    Thanks so much, Madhu! =)

  32. Comment by Angie

    Angie Reply July 28, 2011 at 12:45 pm

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

    • Comment by Andrea and John

      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!

  33. Comment by Federico

    Federico Reply August 14, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Great photos, very descriptive of what was going on!

    • Comment by Andrea and John

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

      Thanks so much Federico! =)

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