the Criollo horse !
Discover the history and the origin
of the Latin American creole horse.
To better appreciate and understand the
breeds of each country in this vast continent, you may wish
to consult the pages dedicated to these attractive creole
This brief resume of th history
of the horse from the pampa can seem insufficient to satisfy
completely your curiosity. That is why two new pages will
permit you to enrich your knowledge of the history and the
origins of the Criollo Horse.
The pre-historical period
evokes the apparition and the extinction of the horse in America
and more precisely in the South of this continent.
The historical period
starts with the spanish conquest of South America. The text
explains the surviving of the iberical horses that will allow
the apparition of a new equine breed, the Criollo breed.
two pages are available in the complete version of justacriollo.com.
Origins of the Criollo horse of
The creole horse (Criollo in
Argentina) of Latin America is a direct descendant of the horses
brought to the New World in the time of Christopher Columbus by
the Spanish conquistadores during the 16th century, most notably
by Don Pedro Mendoza, founder of the city of Buenos Aires.
Many of his war horses escaped
or were abandoned, and quickly returned to a wild state, in an ideal
environment for their development. These were Portugese, Barbe and
Spanish (particularly Andalouses) horses, who transmitted their
blood and their principal morphological characteristics to the Criollo
During four centuries, the
Criollo breed adapted to the environment of the open plains of South
America, which lead to a severe natural selection. This adaptation
to the living conditions permitted the Criollo to develop its reknowned
qualities of resistance to disease and drought.
First the Indians, then the
Gauchos, turned the Criollo into their mode of transportation, their
hunting or working companion, and their partner in games. Since,
the Criollo has always been the horse of the Gaucho for his work
Secretaria de turismo
Its hardiness is the pride of Criollo breeders,
who organize competitions of endurance over distances up to 750
km (465 miles) covered in fourteen days. The horses are heavily
loaded (110 kilos, or 245 lbs, of rider and saddle) and feed only
on the grass found on the region covered. The horse who finishes
the competition without being eliminated by the judges or the veterinarians
will have lost weight, but appears just as energetic as the first
day of the contest.
At the end of the last century, the introduction
of European and North American stallions brought about a degeneration
of the breed. A rigorous selection lead by a handful of interested
breeders lead to the reconstitution of the breed, which was admitted
in 1918 to the Argentine studbook.
Today, in almost all the countries
of South America, breeds descending from the Criollo are raised
and protected. Argentina claims the Criollo horse the closest to
the breed standard.
Criollo horses in the wild
Criollo horses photographed at
4400 metres of altitude in the Páramo de Cotopaxi (Ecuador). Wild,
they are the descendants of Spanish horses that became adapted
to the altitude and the cold climate.