The Chilean horse is one of the oldest registered horse breeds that are developed in the Americas, although many people outside South America don`t know anything about the breed. It is native to Chile and descended from the Spanish horses in the early 16 century. Precisely, the breed is originating from Peru around 1544 when the famous breeder Rodrigo Gonzalez Marmolejo began breeding equines, giving accent to the quality of the breed.
He dedicated his life to horse breeding and formed the first farm of Chilean horses. Through the centuries they have utilized as war mounts in the 16th century, as parade horses, pacers and trotters in the 17th century, as a working animal and mostly for the use in the Chilean rodeo, a world known event where speed is a quality above the strength.
The Chileans needed a horse that will be used in every purpose tough and brave enough to confront with other aggressive cattle in a war, to have an even temperament so it can be highly trainable, but still saving the energy for work at the fields. Round-ups in the 18th century made herds have a capacity of no less than 7000 head. Cattle were castrated and branded, which resulted in a rise of the talent that the Chilean horses already possessed. During this period mares were used in threshing teams of 50- 100 animals.
They had to walk in circles on the wheat grain on a hard surface. That demand required sure footedness and enormous energy. If an animal slip on its knees it would immediately be sent to slaughter. These hard workers at the same time were one of the best rodeo horses Corralitos of that particular time. The Chilean rodeo is distinguished from the rodeos in other countries. The goal is to chase cattle by a team of two riders and two horses in a crescent-shaped arena called medialuna and earn points.
The riders are called Huasos Chilean cowboys and together with their horses are riding laps around the half-moon arena and trying to stop a calf. During the 19th century, Chile had the most influential breeders. They introduced a greater selection at the Chilean horse for speed and defined the characteristics of the breed. In this period, the mechanization grew and the need for thrashing mares extinguished.
On the other hand railroads and automobiles also limited the use of horses for transport. That`s why the breeders are concentrated to save the grace of the Chilean horse and increase the popularity of the Chilean rodeo.
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