The “Criollo” , or “Crioulo” , is the native horse of Uruguay , Argentina , Brazil and Paraguay. It may have the best endurance of any horse breed in the world next to the Arabian. In fact, due to the criollo’s low basal metabolism, it may be a better long-distance horse than the Arabian in prolonged races over a week in duration with no supplemental feed. The breed, known for its hardiness and stamina, is most popular in its home countries.

The word “criollo” originally referred to human and animals of pure-bred Spanish ancestry that were born in the Americas, or, in Portuguese “crioulo”, to animals or slaves born in the Americas. In time, the meaning of the word would simply come to refer to native breeds of the Americas.

The criollo is a hardy horse with a brawny and strong body with broad chest and well-sprung ribs. They have sloping strong shoulders with muscular necks, short and strong legs with good bone structure and resistant joints, low-set hocks and sound hard feet. The medium to large size long-muzzled head has a straight or slightly convex profile with wide-set eyes. The croup is sloping, the haunches well-muscled, and the back, short with a strong loin.

The criollo is tractable, intelligent, willing and sensible. Criollo horses average 14.3 hands high, being the maximum height for stallions and geldings of 14 to 15 hands high. The difference between the maximum and minimum height for mares is approximately 2 cm . The line-backed dun is the most popular color, but the breed may also come in bay, brown, black, chestnut, grullo, buckskin, palomino, blue or strawberry roan, gray and overo colors.

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