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The Chilean horse: best breed of the Americas?

Horse breeders look to expand across the continent with the creation of a Chilean Horse breeding association in Brazil.  

Friday, March 02, 2012 Category: Daily life
The Chilean horse is famous for its hardiness and docility. (Photo by Deslízate Naranja!/Flickr) The Chilean horse is famous for its hardiness and docility. (Photo by Deslízate Naranja!/Flickr)

Anyone who’s ever taken a horseback tour through the Andes mountains or galloped across the glacial valleys of Patagonia will tell you - there’s something special about Chilean horses.


But despite the fact that it is the oldest registered native breed in America, the oldest registered stock horse breed in the Western Hemisphere and the only stock horse breed in the world to have maintained a closed registry since its inception, the Chilean horse is still relatively unknown outside its native country.


That, however, looks set to change, with the creation of a professional association of Chilean horse breeders in the continent’s biggest country, Brazil.


“The registration means that we will have access to a horse that we understand to be the best in America,” Gustavo Goulart, director of the recently registered Association of Pure Chilean Horse Breeders of Brazil told El Mercurio.


“We are passionate about them and we are motivated to spread them throughout Brazil.”


Bred over centuries for use in rounding up cattle - both on the ranch and in Chile’s famed rodeos - the horse is characterized by its hardiness and versatility. What really sets this breed apart, however, has nothing to do with its physical attributes, say the experts.


“The Chilean horse was selected over many decades to stand up to the test of the rodeo, meaning that they have a lot of balance, strength and docility. And they are horses that learn easily - they are very intelligent,” said Goulart. “Their biggest virtues lie not in their legs, but in their brains.”


As well as giving a competitive advantage to associated breeders in Brazil, the new organization will also mean a chance for Chilean breeders to begin exporting their animals to the biggest market in the region, and could open up opportunities across the Americas.

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