Photo Credit: © Pablo Betancourt
5 June, 2007
A HORSE riding opportunity of a lifetime following Charles Darwin’s route through the remote Andes Mountains has been launched by youth charity The Prince’s Trust.
The Trans-Andes Horseback Challenge provides riders with the opportunity to take on a unique equestrian experience and raise money for disadvantaged young people across the UK.
The six-day challenge takes place from February 1-10 2008 and will see riders trek more than 150km on horseback across the stunning landscape of the snow-capped Andes mountain range, from Mendoza in Argentina and to the Chilean capital of Santiago.
Accompanied by a team of local “gauchos” (horsemen), participants will experience “cabalgata” or traditional horseback trekking. They will ride with western-style saddles and bridles and negotiate steep climbs, rugged terrain and remote mountain passes, crossing rivers and camping out under the stars each night along the route. The itinerary follows one of Charles Darwin’s expedition trails and passes breathtaking ravines, ancient volcanoes and hot springs, as well as taking in the diverse flora and fauna of the region.
With up to eight hours a day in the saddle at high altitude (up to 4,500m), participants need to be confident riders and have a high level of fitness - committing to follow a comprehensive training schedule in the months leading up to departure in order to prepare for the intense physical demands of the journey.
Endurance GB rider Fiona Fairhurst took part in the first Andes Challenge earlier this year. She said: “Although for me the horse riding itself wasn’t most difficult part of the challenge, this is certainly no trek up the Brecon Beacons – the Andes are the second highest mountain range in the world – the scenery is jaw-dropping and the route is tough.
But the challenge is far more than just an amazing riding experience. Being away from everyday life in an environment like this allowed everyone to learn something about themselves and their lives. On a mountain, miles from anywhere, you are just concentrating on surviving, but everyone pulls together and the team spirit created is remarkable.”
The Trust’s Challenges aim to raise £500,000 over the next year to help thousands more young people across the UK to realise their potential and turn their lives around.
For more information or to sign up on the Trans-Andes Horseback Challenge call 020 7543 1370 or visit www.princes-trust.org.uk/andes.