Argentina is a nation with a strong history of horses. Horseback riding has played an important part in the history and folklore of this country and continues to be important to the economy. A lively interest is maintained in the nation's history particularly as symbolised by the gaucho. The gaucho stands as one of the best known cultural symbols of Argentina. The first gauchos were 'mestizos', mixed Spanish and native American stock, and today the tough free riding horsemen of the pampas are very much in evidence. It is said that when a gaucho is without his horse, he is without his legs.
The diversity of the land ranges from wild remote areas in Southern Patagonia to the bustling metropolis of Buenos Aires in the North. South of that are the rolling, fertile pampas which are rich in agriculture and sheep and cattle grazing which support most of the population. Moving south you come to Patagonia, a region of cool arid steppes with some wood and fertile areas. The pampas of Argentina are perfect for horse riding and are home to extensive wildlife which you will be able to see from the back of your horse. Most estancias, with their magnificent haciendas and verandahs, still continue today as working farms and the gauchos ride with the herds of prize beef cattle and the polo ponies.
The Argentine Criollo is the result of selective breeding of the feral horses of the pampas and was bred by the gauchos, so this robust horse is today a great source of pride in Argentina. The Criollo is mainly a working cattle horse but is also used for pleasure as it is easy to handle, agile and quite fast. The best polo ponies are bred from Criollo thoroughbred crosses. Polo in Argentina is not just a sport for the rich but is as popular as golf and tennis in Europe. When you ride in Argentina you will get the opportunity to have polo lessons, ride with cattle or just enjoy this wonderful diverse countryside on horseback.
This is a country where Europeans and North Americans can feel at ease and can travel safely. An interest in soccer and some nimble foot skills may be all you need to feel like a local!