Pantanal Escapes

Discover Brazil's Wild Wonderland

This is a local news segment (in Portuguese) about the Pantaneiro horse, which is an important element of Pantanal culture and is celebrated each year in Poconé's agricultural show every May/June. This includes competitions for the best horses and best riders - plus a rodeo.

Although small, the Pantaneiro horse is perfectly adapted for the Pantanal environment. Its a descendent of horses brought into the region by the earliest Spanish explorers. Some of these escaped and bred - reaching herds which numbered thousands. Their exposure to the environment over a long period of time allowed them to develop resistance to tropical disease and to adapt to life in a semi-aquatic environment (being perhaps the only horse which can graze on grass with its head underwater). These horses were favoured by the Guaicurú indians who were one of very few South American indian tribes to adapt to life as nomadic horse-mounted warriors. Today these horses provide the primary mode of transportation for the region's cowboys and farm workers (as well a tourist rides through the Pantanal).