Frequently Asked Questions
Why Perol Chico?
At Perol Chico the horses always come first. We live and work with them. The horses are our most valuable assets and their well-being and good health is of vital importance to us.
Feeding and taking good care of horses in this part of the Andes is an expensive undertaking. There is little or no rainfall for seven months of the year, during which time good grazing and quality forage is scarce. Perol Chico buys tons of chopped alfalfa from Arequipa (about 500 miles away!) to ensure a nourishing and continuous food supply for its horses during the dry season. Apart from feeding our horses only the very best, they are continuously being trained and taken care of, every single day of the year. During the wet season (mid-Nov. through mid-March) the trails high in the Andes can become too slippery and dangerous, making our riding season in the Andes limited to 7 months a year.
The Peruvian Andes may not be the most ideal place to operate a professional riding outfit, but we believe it is the most beautiful place to ride.
Due to the above-mentioned limitations, we keep our equestrian business and the size of our herd small, as this is paramount to providing only the best possible care for our horses.
Our continuous striving for quality and excellence has earned us the reputation of being the best horseback riding operation in Peru.
Why Peruvian Paso horses?
The answer is simple: because they are the best all-round trail horses. For centuries they have been bred and selected in Peru to perform as exceptional travel horses; able to cover long distances, year after year. To those unfamiliar with the breed, the Peruvian Paso horse (PPH) is often associated with horses competing in the show ring or showing off in parades, but the PPH has always been a working and travel-horse above anything else!
Perol Chico is proud to have purebred Peruvian Paso horses from strong working lines and preserves these bloodlines through an ambitious breeding program, always with the help of like-minded breeders and friends. All our horses are registered at the National Peruvian Paso Horse studbook association (ANCPCPP).
Mountain or Criollo horses in Peru are in general smaller, less spirited and move slower than Peruvian Pasos. They are tough and their small size and small hooves are of great advantage on narrow and difficult mountain trails, but because of their size and light build, they are not suitable for riders with a weight of more than approximately 60 to 65 kg. This is not a limitation for most Peruvians living in the mountains but it is for the average rider coming from the Western world.
What is the rider weight limit for your rides?
To ensure the welfare of our horses there is a strict rider weight limit of 85 kg / 13.5st / 187 pounds (dressed for riding).
Do you offer half or one-day rides?
We don’t offer short half or one-day rides, sorry. Please allow me to explain.
We spend many years of training and hard work before our horses are ready for the trails. We teach them to be responsive to very subtle riding aids; we build up their muscles, spare their mouth, give them confidence and make them happy to work. We train them carefully and in a specific, well planned and consistent way.
There are many different styles of riding (and training), but in general, they are all based on patience, consistency and conditioning.
If a horse is ridden often in different ways, it will soon get confused, frustrated and bored. For this reason, we include on all our rides enough time to introduce and explain our style of riding and instruct our guests on how to ride, and how not to ride, our horses. We also take our time to explain the concept of 'collection', evaluate riders’ abilities to match them with the right horse and provide them, if needed, with practical and constructive tips to improve their riding skills or change undesirable habits. Taking our time to do all this prior to a ride, allows us to keep our horses well-trained, responsive and above all, happy. Most client's expectations of a short recreational day ride, i.e. more time on the trails, we can not meet so we don't offer it.
Can we gallop on your rides?
Rides in the Sacred Valley are at high altitudes and there is little oxygen in the air. Our horses are in excellent shape and well adapted to high altitudes, but their lungs and heart still have to work very hard to recover after a gallop. More speed means that more oxygen is required by the horse. If you were to try run up a hill at these altitudes, you would experience how difficult it is, and the recovery required after only short distances.
Gallops are fun on flat terrain, but high in the Andes nothing is flat. Overall, there will be occasions where we speed up just for fun but in general, the terrain and the altitude don’t offer good conditions for long and fast gallops. Riding high in the mountains on difficult terrain requires more technical riding skills, which is fun and a challenge as well.
In our blog 'High Altitude Rides' we explain with more details the impact of high altitude on horses.
What level of riding skills should I have for your rides?
Our rides are suitable for intermediate to advanced riders. However, this is not always set in stone. On some rides we have had less experienced riders who did amazingly well and we have had ‘very experienced’ riders who found it hard to adapt to a different riding style. What is most important for us is that participants feel confident on a ‘forward-going horse and that they are in control at all paces in open countryside; that they can ride with a straight, deep and balanced seat (flexible in the hips) and that they are able and willing to ride and control a horse with subtle riding aids. So no yanking on the reins but riding from your seat, and always with the soft, gentle but controlling hands of a maestro.
Contact us if you are not sure about your riding level - we are happy to arrange some private riding lessons for you prior to the ride.
How big are the groups on your rides?
Safety is crucial and so the maximum group size for all our rides is kept small, at only 7 riders. Two experienced trail guides always accompany the rides for extra safety. We also have a backup team and a 4x4 vehicle to support the ride.
Our most popular ride, the 11-day Sacred Valley Ride, and our special coastal expeditions have scheduled departure dates and are usually booked well in advance. Thus our Sacred Valley ride easily fills up to the maximum group size. Other rides have flexible departure dates, are subject to availability and are booked on shorter notice, so they often have smaller groups.
Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any question or want to know more. We are happy to answer all your questions.
Chopped alfalfa forage