Criollo Horse

Criollos are small horses with a compact build. The back is long but strong, while the neck is short. The chest is broad and strong. The Criollo is well muscled and has extremely hard hooves. As the perfect size for thoroughbred criollos (Criollo definitivo), a height between 1.40 m to 1.48 m is preferred, but smaller and larger horses are also used. Non-purebred criollos, i.e. H. Horses that correspond to the Criollo type, but whose origin is uncertain, are called Criollo mestizo.

Breed Characteristics and Appearance

The Criollo – what kind of breed is it?

The Criollo is one of the small horses.

What is special about a Criollo?

Criollos are very robust, resilient, persistent, and intelligent small horses. In order to maintain their performance, they take a performance test (Mancha) in their homeland, in which they have to cover 750 kilometers of riding distance in 14 days under tough conditions. Breeding associations in other countries sometimes carry out similar tests.

How big is a Criollo?

These horses can reach heights between 1.38 m and 1.50 m.

What is the life expectancy of a criollo?

Criollos can live up to 30 years, sometimes even older.

What coat colors are there on the Criollo?

Criollos can come in all colors. Mostly you can find gray falcons, yellow falcons, foxes, brown or pin-haired grays.

Traits of Temperament

Are criollos also suitable for beginners?

Even if the Criollo has a friendly, nervous, reliable, calm, and intelligent nature, it is still a workhorse. His urge to perform and to do so with enormous perseverance should always be taken into account. If you are a beginner and unsure how to properly train, employ and move such a horse properly, you should definitely get support. This horse wants to work with its human. Undertrained should be avoided.

What are the behavioral and essential characteristics of a Criollo?

Criollos are particularly characterized by their tough, persistent, and resistant nature. They are bred for work and want to live it out with their people. Due to its balance, strong nerves, friendliness, and enormous surefootedness, the Criollo is ideally suited for long excursions, hiking, and endurance rides.

Origin & History

Where did the Criollo originally come from?

The Criollo originally comes from Argentina.

What were criollos bred for?

The criollos are descended from Iberian horses that were brought from Spain to Argentina by its conquerors from the 16th century onwards. After the departure of the Spaniards, the horses went wild and over the centuries developed into resilient and very robust horses. They were used and bred by the local gauchos for cattle work.

Care, Health, Diseases

What should you watch out for when caring for the Criollo?

A Criollo is a very sturdy horse, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need grooming. This breed enjoys regular brushing and grooming. Visiting the vet should also be on the to-do list. Criollos are known for their hard hooves, which makes shoes a rarity.

Are there diseases or hereditary diseases typical of the breed in the Criollo?

The Criollo is considered to be very resistant and tough. Breed-specific diseases are not known. However, improper posture and inappropriate feeding can cause metabolic disorders and obesity. Above all, a lack of exercise and lush green meadows can lead to this. Some horses that are imported from South America can, depending on their region of origin, be prone to illnesses here in Germany, such as sweet itch.

Interesting Facts about the Diet of the Criollos

What should you watch out for in terms of feeding times and the amount of feed?

Criollos are used to barren and meager pastures from their homeland. Our pastures in this country, on the other hand, often tend to be very lush. That is rather unsuitable for a Criollo. You should therefore rather switch to hay and straw. However, criollos don’t need a lot of that either. The same goes for concentrates. The only thing you shouldn’t skimp on is mineral feed. Minerals and vitamins should be fed as needed.

How often should the Criollo be fed?

A Criollo gets by with little food. You should offer roughage and mineral feed, but only in dosed proportions and according to actual needs. It’s best to give the roughage in small portions throughout the day.

Activities with the Criollo

Which sports are suitable for the Criollo?

Criollos are persistent, strong-nerved, agile, and robust horses that were used for cattle work and are still used today. You can therefore continue to use them for this job. It doesn’t matter whether you are on the go in your leisure time or prefer to play western sports. Your Criollo is included. Due to their stamina, these horses are also ideally suited for hiking and long-distance rides. Since they do not have expansive gaits, dressage is not their great strength.

How much exercise does a Criollo need?

This breed of horse was and is still today, used to work on cattle. Criollos’ work is in the blood. You want to be busy and moved. Do not underestimate this eagerness to work. The persistent and resilient nature of a criollo enables long excursions or trail rides. With their quick perception, criollos are also easy to deal with cognitively.

Consideration before Purchasing

Where can I buy a Criollo?

Once you have decided on this breed, ask yourself whether you would like to have a foal, a yearling, or an adult animal. Do you want a thoroughbred Criollo? Take your time to think about which animal is the right one for you. You can purchase your horse from various breeders or have it imported. It should be noted, however, that such a long journey means a lot of stress and strain for the animal.

Where can I find riding participation for a Criollo?

Criollos are very robust, have strong nerves, friendly, willing to work, and intelligent. They like working with people and want to be challenged. A Criollo is an ideal party for riding participation who wants to work a lot with the horse and is also able to do so in a timely manner.

Upbringing and Attitude

Is a Criollo right for me?

If you love long rides, hiking, or endurance riding, a Criollo is a perfect choice. With his stamina, strong nerves, surefootedness, and friendliness he is a particularly pleasant companion. In addition, there is his quick perception and intelligence, which also make him look good at circus lessons.
If you are more of a western fan, a Criollo will suit you as well. After all, its origin lies in cattle labor. Despite its positive characteristics, you should not underestimate the strong will to work with a criollo. He loves and loves working with his people. You should be able to offer him this.

How do I hold a Criollo?

Criollos are sturdy horses that like to be kept sturdy. You can cope well with both heat and cold. A year-round stay outside is not a problem for them. However, you should provide them with a safe shelter that is dry and clean and offers protection as needed. Of course, contact with conspecifics should also be guaranteed.

How much space does a Criollo need?

If you keep a Criollo outside all year round, you will need adequate space. In addition to pasture, there should be a paddock, a sand place, or something similar. The shelter should also offer enough space.

How do I transport a Criollo?

Since this breed is not very big and very heavy, you can transport a Criollo very well in a horse trailer with a suitable towing vehicle.

Interesting, Worth Knowing, and Extras

Why are criollos so popular?

Criollos are popular because of their robust, tough, nerve-racking, and friendly nature. They enjoy working with their humans and show enormous perseverance. They are ideal partners for hiking or long-distance rides. Since they were and are bred for cattle work, they have an innate “cow sense” and are very agile, they are also very suitable for the various western riding disciplines.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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