Monday, May 05, 2008

Argentine Criollo Horse - Full Article

Article by Hardy Oelke

It is difficult to imagine a horse with more endurance than the famous Argentine Criollo breed. This native horse of Argentina descends from the horses of the Iberian conquest.

When parties went to explore and conquer South America, horses were shipped to the river Plate from Iberia, and as in all the Spanish and Portuguese conquests, they brought the toughest, hardiest horses they could. Conditions were tough on such voyages with insufficient food and water. Many horses died or were unable to regain health. Whether it was the primitive characteristics that cropped out under the wild conditions in the New World, or whether some of the shipments were of rather primitive Iberian horses in the first place, fact is that until fairly recently, the Argentine Criollo and the Criollo in general, bore a considerable resemblance to the ancient Sorraia wild horse of Portugal and Spain (zebro, or encebro).

During long campaigns with Indians, many horses escaped or were turned loose. Also after destruction of Buenos Aires by Indians, many horses were driven into the wild. Natural selection resulted in physical hardiness and the survivors became the progenitors of the Argentine Criollo breed.

In Argentina summers are very hot but winters are severely cold. During seasonal migrations or drought, the wild horses were forced to travel hundreds of miles. Several explorers who ventured far out into the Pampas left records of the tremendous herds of wild horses, seen some two centuries after their ancestors had gained their freedom. The wild horses were known as Baguals, and some herds numbered into the thousands.

Many long rides of astonishing distances have been taken on Argentine Criollo horses...


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