Title: Gauchos | The Wild Rough Riders of South America Visit the Arena of the Wild West

Periodical: The Road

Date: July 1, 1892

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Some Remarkable Feats of Horsemanship.

A MORE unpromising day could scarcely have been selected by the directors of Buffalo Bill's Wild West in the International Horticultural Exhibition for the performance of the South American Gauchos from Buenos Ayres, who put in a first appearance on Thursday, the 23rd ult., at Earl's Court. Rain, rain, rain had been falling incessantly the previous night and during the greater part of the day, and had not an improvement in the weather taken place the exhibition would have been seen at its worst. Fortunately, however, the sun looked in during the afternoon, and the soil in the neighbourhood of Earl's Court being of a gravelly nature, the ground soon dried up and, therefore, the heavy and steady downpour did not seem to affect either the attendance of specially invited guests and public, or the success of the performances. Deeply interested audiences since the opening day have been attracted to what may now be without doubt called the home of cosmopolitan horsemanship.

THE ROAD rejoices that at length there has been offered an opportunity, never before attempted in this country, of making a close study of horsemanship as practised by races and types of the world's most celebrated horsemen. In addition to the always exciting competitions between Cowboys, Indians, Vacqueros and Cossacks, we have now had the opportunity of seeing some genuine and serious riding by the far-famed Gauchos from the Llanos of the Argentine Republic. We have had our attention called to the original testimonial given by Mr. Daniel Kingsland, known as one of the largest dealers in Argentine horses, who certifies that, having been commissioned by the proprietors of the Wild West Show to procure a number of the wild and untamed horses from the Pampas of the Argentine Republic, he succeeded in landing, ex. ss. Zaiate, a shipment of ninety-six handled horses and fifteen wild portros, which had never been broken or touched, with the the exception of being lassoed once for the purpose of putting their headstalls on for shipping. These horses, we were told by the same authority, were procured some 200 leagues south of Buenos Ayres, and they are all aged and have been running wild since foaled until shipped.

The interest promoted by such an announcement as this naturally induced the representative of THE ROAD to accept the invitation forwarded, and there can be little question that the visit was well worth paying. It is not alone to those who take an interest in horsemanship that this performance has an attraction, for there can be but little question that to the ordinary student of "human progress, of racial peculiarities and of national characteristics," as one of the arena officials graphically put it, the Gauchos are a subject of investigation as remarkable as anything modern history has shown us. It may be pointed out that the Gaucho differs in many respects from the other rough riders of the only partially civilized sections of the earth. He is the product of a peculiar scheme of existence, and of savage conditions of life, that obtain in no part of the world save on the Llanos of South America and the Prairies of the North. The Gaucho should be described as a near approach to the mythical Centaur. Like that fabulous being, the Gaucho spends the greater portion of his life as part and parcel of his horse, and he is associated with the wild equines of the Pampas in even a more intense degree than any of the equestrian races. In no other part of the world has man been so completely dependent on the horse as on the South American plains. The pampas without horses would be, for the uses of man, as an ocean without ships or boats. This, we are instructed, is the reason why the Gaucho breed of centaurs is the natural growth of peculiar surroundings.

Anyhow, more perfect horsemanship than that exhibited by the Gaucho it would be quite impossible to witness. He is seen at his best, perhaps, in the stirring scene frequently to be witnessed in pursuit of a herd of wild animals, or a flock of ostriches, while in handling the "bolas" which consists of a number of raw-hide thongs, fastened to a central thong, and with an iron ball at each of the ends, the magnificent seat of the rider is again in cause of wonderment and admiration. If we do not see all this at the Wild West, we are shown quite sufficient to cause us to admit that as a graceful and accomplished horseman, the Gaucho takes the palm. As a new kind of amusement, at any rate, we ought to feel very much obliged to the proprietors of the Wild West Show for giving us what has never yet been offered in the way of entertainment or instruction—namely, a Congress of the world's rough riders. There is no bunkum or humbug about these men, at any rate, and as each rider is put upon his metal he naturally shows to the greatest advantage of what he is capable. Moreover, London is the only place which has been favoured with this kind of exhibition.

Many will doubtless be sorry to notice the announcement that the engagement at Earl's Court is the "positive farewell, absolutely final, of this ethnological exhibition." We have seen announcements of this kind made before which, however, have not always been acted upon. Let us hope that in this instance a similar course will be followed. To those riders and lovers of horses generally who have not yet had an opportunity of witnessing this remarkable exhibition, we would say that a more favourable opportunity for studying different kinds of rough riding has never yet been afforded, and will probably never be afforded again.

Title: Gauchos | The Wild Rough Riders of South America Visit the Arena of the Wild West

Periodical: The Road

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody Collection, MS6, MS6.3778.137.01 (1892 London)

Date: July 1, 1892

Topics: Congress of Rough Riders

Keywords: American Indians Bolas Cossacks Ethnology Exhibitions Gauchos Horsemanship Horsemen and horsewomen Indians of North America Scrapbooks Traveling exhibitions Wild horses

Places: Buenos Aires (Argentina) Earl's Court (London, England) London (England) Pampas (Argentina)

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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