Criollo: Horses of Argentina


Criollo horses
Eduardo Amorim, via Flickr

Horses are an important part of culture and working life in Argentina. Colin Lowther and Liz Waid look at the celebrated Argentina horse: the Criollo horse.

Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Colin Lowther.

Voice 2 

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

It is celebration time in Bragado, Argentina. People eat meat cooked over a fire. They wave flags and play games. One game is a horse competition. Herds, or groups, of horses compete in this game. Each herd has one horse that is the leader. To play the game, many people lead their herds into a large space. The herds mix together. The horses separate from their leaders and other herd members. But each lead horse wears a bell that makes a special noise. The horses begin to move around. Each horse is looking for his own leader. After some time, all of one herd finds each other. The complete herd wins the competition!

Voice 2 

This herd game is one of many events at the Fiesta Provincial del Caballo. The Festival is five days long. People of all ages come to this festival to celebrate an important part of their culture - the Caballo criollo. This is a special kind of Argentinian horse. Today’s Spotlight is on Criollo horses in Argentina.

Voice 1 

There are many kinds, or breeds, of horses in South America. The most famous breed in Argentina is called the Criollo. These horses are a mixture of other horse breeds. The Criollo breed began in the 1500s. Spanish explorers came to Argentina by ship. They brought horses from Spain along with them. Some of these Spanish horses escaped from their owners. These wild horses lived on the open, flat lands called the Pampa. Over time, they also bred with horses from Spain, England, Portugal and France. This mixture became the Criollo horse breed.

Voice 2 

In 1923 the Criollo Breeders Association started. They made rules about which horses could be called Criollo. This breed is well known for their strength and speed. They can also survive in difficult conditions. They can live in freezing snow and in extreme heat. They also do not need to eat or drink very much. Criollo horses have the best endurance of any breed in the world. They can run for very long distances without stopping.

Voice 1 

Every year, the Criollo Breeders Association holds a race for purebred Criollos. This race is 750 kilometres long. It tests the endurance and strength of the Criollo horses. But there is a famous story about Criollo horses. In this story, the horses travelled much farther. Shelley Ganguly tells the story of Aime Felix Tschiffely from Switzerland:

Voice 3 

“In 1925 Aime Tschiffely took a very long journey. Tschiffely was not an experienced horse rider. But he was very interested in history. He wanted to show the strength of Criollo horses. So he rode from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Washington D.C. in the United States. This trip was over 10,000 kilometres long. Tschiffely rode the same two Criollo horses for this whole journey. One of these horses had red and white spots. His name was Mancho. The other horse was brown and named Gato. These Criollo horses were not considered very beautiful. They did not have a lot of training. But they were strong and very intelligent. They were also very loyal - Tschiffely did not even have to tie them up at night. The Criollo horses carried him through many dangerous places. They even crossed through the Andes Mountains - the longest mountain range in the world. And after three years, Tschiffely, Mancha and Gato arrived in Washington D.C. Mancha And Gato are now famous in Argentina. They are a heroic example for the Criollo breed.”

Voice 2 

Although Criollo horses are most well-known for endurance rides, people also use them for other activities. Many people use Criollo horses on cattle ranches. These large farms raise cows on the pampa. Ranchers raise and sell their cattle for meat. But it takes too long to walk across these large ranches. Many cattle owners use horses as a fast and dependable way to travel.

Voice 1 

Criollo horses are also useful for herding the cattle. Ranchers use them to guide the cows, making the cattle move in the right direction. Horses are even used as security on ranches. Ranchers tie a horse at the edge of the ranch property. This horse is the night guard! It will stay awake so the ranchers can sleep. It will make noise if there are any problems.

Voice 2 

Ranchers live very closely with their horses. They ride them every day. They must feed and take care of them. They often form close relationships with the horse. Enrique Garialde  lives in Chacobuco in Argentina. He has worked with horses for more than 50 years. Garialde is an expert in taming horses. He trains wild horses so that people can ride them. He says that it is very important to have a close connection with the horse. Garialde told the Global Press Journal:

Voice 4 

“The horse has to obey you. It has to know you. And that takes a lot of time and care. If the horse wants to smell me or wants to push me, I have to let it. You have to make yourself on the same level as it.”

Voice 1 

This sort of connection with horses is an important part of life for many Argentinians. Eduardo Martínez is a bricklayer. But his real love is for horses. On one wall in his home there are many pictures of his horse named Pampero. There are also many decorations that the horse used to wear. Pampero was hit by a truck and died. Martinez told reporter Bettina D´Alessandro that he still misses his horse:

Voice 5 

“That was the best horse I had. He lacked only the ability to talk. All of the neighborhood kids rode on him. Before burying him, I cut the hair of his tail to save it for myself as a memory.”

Voice 2 

From festivals, to work, to play, Criollo horses are an important part of Argentinian life and culture. Some people ride horses in competitions such as the rodeo. Others, like ranchers, use them in their every day work. There are other people who simply love horses and ride them for fun.

Voice 1 

What animals are important in your culture? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish. net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 2 

The writer of this program was Rena Dam. The producer was Nick Mangeolles. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Criollo: Horses of Argentina’.

Voice 1 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Do you like horses? Have you ever ridden a horse? Are horses part of your country's culture?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
vien
said on October 30, 2014

thanks , this article is very interesting

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on February 14, 2017

I like Horses.
God bless you