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Memorial ride honours legendary adventurer

swissride2Fifty-one riders in Switzerland have honoured the memory of legendary Long Rider Aimé Tschiffely, who rode from Buenos Aires to Washington DC in the 1920s.

In doing so in the 1920s, Swiss-born Tschiffely proved the hardiness of the Criollo horses, the native breed of Uruguay.

They are the direct descendants of horses brought to Argentina by the conquistador Pedro de Mendoza in 1535

At the start of the 1900s the Criollos were largely considered worthless. Without Tschiffely and his sponsor, Don Emilio Solanet, many believe the Criollo horses would not have survived.

swissride3Tschiffely began the epic ride in Buenos Aires in 1925 and arrived in Washington DC three years later, his Criollo mounts, Mancha and Gato, serving him admirably.

He decided to transport his horses to New York because of the traffic on the roads, feeling that to ride there would be nothing more than a vulgar publicity stunt.

From there, Tschiffely and his horses returned to South America by ship.

The journey remains one of the greatest horse rides in history. At the time, many considered it could not be done.

The memorial ride, the second in memory of Tschiffely, began in the ski resort of Savognin in the Swiss Alps.

Long Riders from Lithuania, England and Germany came to join the Swiss partipants. They were also joined from Argentina by the son of Don Emilio Solanet, Oskar, and his wife, Theresa.

The ride, the brainchild of Peter van der Gugten crossed spectacular landscapes over the three days.

swissride1And, in keeping with legacy of Tschiffely, a good number of the riders were on Criollo horses.

Photographs and reporting: Pat Bohnert

Read more about Tschiffely’s ride here.

Horsetalk.co.nz

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  1. Finola says:

    Mancha y Gato, your story will live forever !

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