Peru on Horseback
by Lyn Odom-Cherenzia


Ooooooh Peru. Oooooohhh, Peru on horseback! Have you always dreamed of that perfect vacation that includes dinners, dancing, ranch tours, and of course horseback riding? Well since 1994 Cheryl Aldrich of Raintree Peruvian Horses and Tack has been taking horsemen and women to Lima, Peru, for the ultimate "horse vacation". There are 3 separate trips with 2 separate packages. On two of the tours, you go on a Cabalgata or trail ride, each tour going to a different area of Peru. This is a riding tour through the Andes, down the lush green country lanes of town seeing native people in their traditional dress, moving on through the burros and bicycles of the towns down to the Pacific coastline populated with Sea Lions. Along the way as the group meanders through Peru, they visit the many Archeological sites that the Incan culture left behind. You do all of this wonderful sight seeing from the back of the smooth gaited Peruvian horse. Now don't get the idea that this is a "survivor" kind of trip. This is a first class luxury tour for sissies, although if you are a die-hard rider more hours in the saddle can be arranged. Fluent in Spanish, Cheryl's relationship with the Peruvian horse owners has proven to be an exciting and different kind of business friendship. Wonderful parties are thrown at their ancient haciendas with fabulous food, dancing and of course Peruvian horses. About 3 to 4 hours a day is spent on horseback with the rest of the time divided between comfortable hotels, 3 big meals a day, touring interesting sights, or perhaps having a massage or sipping a drink by the pool. Riding tours cost $3000 and include all hotel, airfares, and meals.

"People from all over the world have traveled with us," says Cheryl. Australia. Wales, France, England, Germany, and Canada are some of the countries that our riders hail from and many riders are sitting a Peruvian horse for the first time on our trail rides. The average age for the tour participants is 52 with a few babies in their 40's and 30's. Single travelers are common on the trips and although everyone starts out as strangers that changes in rapidly. "Our tours become a group of friends going to visit other friends who lend us their horses to ride out in the countryside away from all the "tourists".

The National Show Tour is a nine-day ten-night tour that includes the National Peruvian Horse Show in Lima, Peru, and ranch tours with dinners hosted by the ranchers themselves. On the National Show Tour, you spend Sunday on a tour of Lima, Monday through Thursday at the show. Friday and Saturday you tour ranches, riding, eating and dancing and seeing the Host Ranch's horses. On Sunday, you return to the show grounds for the finale exhibition and closing ceremonies. The cost for the National show tour that includes airfare, hotel, and many meals cost $1995.

Cheryl has been involved with Peruvian horses for over 30 years. She is part owner in a 3rd generation tack factory with Alberto Barrena who produces the "Cadillac of Peruvian Saddles". The tack factory tour is included in the National Show Tour. The saddles are handmade with amazing workmanship in leatherwork and braided rawhide accessories. Every saddle and bridle is customized costing anywhere from $875 to $2000 and this includes everything that goes on the horses back.

A native to Kentucky, Cheryl made her home in Texas "because of the climate and people". She met her husband Dave Johnson at a Peruvian horse show and what was once a hobby for them turned into a business of saddle making and horseback tours to Peru. Back in the states, you can visit Cheryl and Dave's RainTree Tack Store in Poolville, Texas, just north of Weatherford. There you will find the beautiful RainTree Saddles as well as several Peruvian horses for sale. Cheryl, who has been a judge of Peruvian horses for many years, screens horses that are available for sell on consignment and training is offered for horses and riders. If you are interested in getting to know the Peruvian horse and their unusual tack, RainTree Tack & Peruvian Horses is a good place to start. And if you want to road test a Peruvian horse, what better way than to go to Peru with Cheryl and spend a week riding them.

For more information on either tack, horses or tours to Peru on horseback contact Cheryl Aldrich at 817-657-0257 or visit raintreetack.com


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