Frequently Asked Questions
Why choose Perol Chico?
At Perol Chico the horses always come first. Our horses are our most valuable assets and their well-being and good health are 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. We buy tons of chopped and high-quality alfalfa from farmers in Arequipa (about 350 miles away!) to ensure a nourishing and continuous food supply for our horses during the dry season. Apart from feeding the 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 only 8 months a year.
The Peruvian Andes may not be the most ideal place to run a professional riding establishment, but we believe it is one of the most beautiful places in Peru for trail riding.
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?
Because they are superb trail horses. They are agile, not too big, not too small, have stamina and offer an incredibly smooth ride. 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 some of the very best Peruvian Paso horses from strong working lines. All our horses are registered at the National Peruvian Paso Horse studbook association (ANCPCPP).
What is the rider's weight limit?
To ensure the welfare of our horses there is a strict rider weight limit of 85 kg / 13.5st / 187 pounds (dressed for riding).
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 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 in more detail 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 ‘very experienced’ riders who found it hard to adapt to a different riding style. What is important is that participants feel confident on a forward-going horse and that they are in control at all paces in the 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, always with soft, gentle and guiding hands.
Contact us if you are not sure about your riding level - we are happy to arrange some private riding lessons before the ride to boost your confidence.
How big are the groups on your rides?
Safety is crucial, so the maximum group size for all our rides is kept small, at only 6 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 has scheduled departure dates and is usually booked well in advance. Other rides have flexible departure dates and are subject to availability. Bookings are placed with shorter notice, so they often have smaller groups.
Can you ride a horse to Machu Picchu?
No, you can not. The state-owned Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is an integral part of Peru’s national protected areas system and enjoys protection through several layers of a comprehensive legal framework for cultural and natural heritage. The boundaries of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu are clearly defined within the protected area (several thousand acres). Horses and pack animals are not allowed on the Inca trails in this area.
When is your riding season?
During the rainy season, from mid-November until mid-March, no multi-day rides are offered because the trails high in the Andean mountains can become too slippery and dangerous. The safety of horses and guests always comes first at Perol Chico. December and January are usually the wettest months in the Andes. Peru's seasons are the reverse of those in the northern hemisphere. Summer in Peru is from December to February. Winter is from July to September. During the daytime, the temperature hardly fluctuates in summer or winter. Only at night, the temperature drops in wintertime.