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Posted on February 26, 2021
As we turn the page of our In The Saddle calendar to March, we delve into the deep canyons and sparkling waterfalls of southern Brazil.
We still have some calendars left, so it isn’t too late. If you would like to receive a copy just complete this form – there is only postage to pay.
This month’s image was taken during the Canyons & Waterfalls ride in Brazil, it shows French guest Cecile, with her mount Colorado.
Beautiful bay Colorado, is a well-bred Criollo who is very agile and has plenty of stamina. His tack includes a typical gaucho saddle, which consists of a basic frame, layered with leather, fabric and sheepskin. Riding in South America means adapting to a slightly different position, but once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll fall in love with the relaxed style and all that sheepskin!
The March calendar picture shows the Lageado das Marrecas waterfalls, in Rio Grande do Sul.
Rio Grande do Sul is Brazil’s southernmost state. In contrast to the rest of the country, in the south there are four distinct seasons. It seems curious to those used to chillier climes, but many Brazilians often seek out the cooler weather in this part of the country for a holiday and a retreat from the heat.
Rio Grande do Sul features some of the most dramatic and beautiful scenery anywhere in the world. This is a land of stunning canyons, impressive mountains and bottomless waterfalls.
During the Canyons & Waterfalls ride, you explore the high plateau of Rio Grande do Sul – a lush area of rich grassland and araucaria forest. Rolling upland pastures are interspersed with deep dramatic canyons and from the top you can see almost all the way to the coast. Another big attraction is the waterfalls – you’ll see five from horseback during the ride. The one at Lageado das Marrecas is not the biggest or widest, but is a firm favourite with guests because it’s fun to take the horses into the water for a paddle and a drink.
This part of Brazil not only has markedly different landscapes and climate, it also stands out historically. In the 1820’s, Rio Grande do Sul had strategic importance as the region on the frontier between the Spanish and Portuguese Americas. Immigrants from Italy and Germany were invited to develop the land and serve as a buffer against Spanish insurgency. But they didn’t create plantations like elsewhere in Brazil. Instead they based their economy on small family-owned farms – a legacy that continues today. These pioneer farmers became fiercely independent; a strong regional identity emerged and the south became known as the ‘land of the gaucho’.
Today the inhabitants of rural Rio Grande do Sul still go about in traditional dress. Its gauchos can be recognised by their dresscode – bombachas, linen shirt, poncho, felt hat, boots and spurs.
Gauchos are the cowboys of the South American pampas. Found not just inthe state of Rio Grande do Sul, but also Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, a gaucho would not be complete without his Criollo – a horse that is as legendary as his master.
Criollos come from early Andalusian horses brought to the Americas by conquistadors. These horses were closely related to the Spanish Barb, which had Moorish origins. Standing between 13.3hh and 15hh, Criollos are characterised by a strong compact body, broad chest and sturdy hindquarters. Their endurance and agility mean they are ideal for covering long distances, and first-class mounts for cattle work. They are tough little horses, with good resistance to disease and an easy-going temperament.
Going off the beaten path on the Canyons & Waterfalls ride is the very best way to experience Rio Grande do Sul’s incredible scenery and traditional gaucho culture.
If you’d like to learn more about riding in this part of Brazil, then please call us on +44 1299 272 997 or email email@example.com