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The Argentine Pato

In the Argentine pampas, it is said that horses are like flowers in a garden…

Used for many tasks such as cow penning, driving animals down corridors, catching young calves and during herd marking, the horse is essential in the pampas. Loyal and restless, the horse forms a perfect couple with his gaucho.

The Argentinean way of riding is different than our riding habits. Riders hold reins in one hand while the other holds the whip called guacha. Covered by thick lamb skin, their very comfortable saddle carries its rider during 6 to 8 hours a day before offering him comfort at night time when he lays the saddle on the ground and uses the lamb’s skin for sleeping purposes.

These men used to have a harsh reputation : rough and crude. Considering the habits of the ancient gauchos, it was partly true. They were the first to practice Pato (meaning "duck"), a purely Argentinean game. It used to be that two players of opposite teams of riders had to pull on handles sowed on a bag containing a duck until one of them let go. Then, in a hot pursuit, the losing team chased the players holding the Pato hoping to grasp it. Since it was a ferocious thus dangerous competition, the sport was prohibited in 1882.

In the 1930’s though, along with more organized rules, the sport was brought back to life again. However, in the new version, two teams of four players each try to score by throwing a Pato (now a soccer type ball with a leather harness) in the opposite team’s goal at the other end of a very large field.




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