Rational Dressage is a harmonious technique designed to bond the horse in rider into a single unit. Throughout the world, a trend is emerging in equestrian circles toward the adopting psychological philosophies to tame horses, and Horseback Patagonia is no exception. Rational dressage aims to create a bond of respect between humans and animals.

Traditionally, the horse in Chile has been a great work companion for the human being, and also a life partner. Nowadays, many trainers are beginning to recognize the wisdom of techniques developed by the native peoples, these are known as “Indian Dressage” and the derivative of that is “Rational Dressage”.

This technique creates a bond of trust and harmony with the animal. Rational Dressage is a taming system that is used to achieve the horse’s meekness and acceptance of the rider through non-coercive methods.

The technique was developed through historical study of how the native peoples interacted with horses and their living and work environment. As a result, there has been a resurgence of these methods in the equestrian community that recognize the horse as an especially sensitive living being: “a faithful mirror of human intentions and emotions.” In nature, horses are herd animals and they instinctively seek a leader.

Rational Dressage takes advantage this proclivity for social hierarchy and seeks to gain the trust of the animal such that the tamer becomes the horse’s guide or leader. Through rational dressage, one can also gain knowledge about how a horse think and acts.

Rational taming methods involve unmounted work, where the tamer is below the animal. Mounting occurs only after enough meekness is achieved, to the point where the horse perceives mounting as an act of friendship. We refer to this as “binomial bonding” where two different beings merge to form a single functional entity. Violence and force are never used and it is prohibited to touch the animal other than in a friendly peaceful manner. To extend the tamer’s reach we use a stick and cloth, this simulates the a human’s arm and allows us to tap or “tickle” the animal in a gentle fashion.

The whole philosophy is contrary to that of the traditional horse breaking techniques used by the Huasos or Gauchos, where they would insert a bit in the horse’s mouth, and coerce the horse by pulling on the

bit, or starve and whip the horse in a palenque. This makes the disposition of the animal fearful, and if fear underlies the relationship between horse and rider, the horse is less safe to ride.

Therefore, at Horseback Patagonia we use rational dressage techniques on all of our horses, which gives them confident and tranquil dispositions that they will pass on to our guests.

Our Activities

Single Day Program
Our guests will spend a day getting to know the horses, they will learn how to treat them, so that rider and horse can bond and function in a self-sufficient way. This method is known as “rational dressage” where horse and rider form a working relationship based on mutual understanding, respect and friendship, and then harvest vegetables in our garden for a farewell dinner with the family …
Two-Day Outing
During two days our guests will meet the horses, they will learn how to treat them, so that rider and horse can bond. This method is known as “rational dressage” where horse and rider form a working relationship based on mutual understanding, respect and friendship and then apply what they have learned riding through the Futaleufú valley ….
Espolón Valley Odyssey
For more experienced riders and outdoor enthusiasts, we offer a five-day trip through the remote and spectacular Espolón Valley. The valley is located in the heart of the Andes of Northern Patagonia and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and glaciers. During the trip we will cross numerous rivers and lakes exploring virgin native forests and pristine landscapes …