Crossing rivers on horseback in the Andes
In the Andes in late spring and early summer the rivers are full of snow melt and running high. The riverbed is full of stones and boulders smoothed by glaciers melting through the ages and the horses have to tread with great care. Crossing rivers on horseback is exciting and adds to the sense of adventure, although we do not ride in those places until the rivers have dropped in summer.
The arrieros select the crossing places carefully, with the inherited wisdom and personal experience from working up here with cattle and horses all their lives. These rivers are crossed on some of our day rides in the mountains and also on a camping expedition on horseback
The horses are very footsure, and the only hint of danger is when an arriero carefully places his horse downstream of the visitor crossing the river.
This is in case of a stumble or fall, when he will be there to prevent any problem, or catch someone should it become necessary. Crossing rivers on horseback looks easy but as you ride across you realise that the horse is having to tread very carefully over the stones in the riverbed and that the water though not very deep is fast flowing.
In several of our photos the guide can be seen either placed like that or carefully watching the visitor’s horse as it crosses with him. You can be confident that the arriero guides take very good care of you.