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 breed.
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 with cattle.
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.
Founded in 1923, the ACCC has the goal of insuring the conservation and the development of the Criollo breed in Argentina and abroad. The activity of this organization is to maintain the validity of the breed standard by inspections and morphological competitions, to research for the amelioration of a rustic horse, docile and long-living, through Functional Tests that emphasize the necessary ability for work in the country.
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