The Freio de Ouro (Golden Bit) is a huge annual competition for the Crioulo breed in Brazil. Competitors and breeders from throughout southern Latin America come together in Esteio, a city in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, for a best of breed competition and associated auctions and expositions. The Crioulo is the main breed found in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, and is also bred in Argentina, Uruguay and Chile (in those Spanish-speaking countries it is called the Criollo). Argentina and Uruguay in particular share a strong horse culture and breed bloodlines with Rio Grande do Sul.
The event ended August 29th with the awarding of prizes to the top mares and stallions.The winning stallion was Pampa de São Pedro. The winning mare, remarkable for her high scores, was Alcalina Maufer.
Crioulos are a stock horse breed, descended from Iberian horses, with a stocky build and incredible agility and speed. Like the working Quarter Horse, they are tested in exercises that derive from ranch work, but are distinct to the southern regions of Latin America. The championship events involve conformation evaluation as well as different under saddle and cattle working tests.
Below are videos of the champion mare, Alcalina Maufer in the final three (and most exciting) tests. First, the "prova de bayard-sarmento" in which the horse does several sliding stops and spins. During the spins the horse has to do exactly two complete turns:http://mediacenter.clicrbs.com.br/templates/playerpopup.aspx?midia=134547&channel=98
Then comes the "prova de mangueira" in which the horse and rider must cut one cow from a pair, hold it away and work it along the arena; then work several individual cows. If the individual cow is working well with the horse, the run is finished by pinning the cow against the padded wall of the ring. If the rider doesn't like the way a cow is working, he'll back off and wait for a new one to be sent in:http://mediacenter.clicrbs.com.br/templates/playerpopup.aspx?midia=134556&channel=98
The final test is the "prova de paleteada" where the competitor works with a partner (Alcalina is the lighter colored horse on the left) to run a cow as it comes out of the chute. Ideally the cow runs very straight and the partners keep exactly even with it, so it is sandwiched between their horses' shoulders until released at the turn:http://mediacenter.clicrbs.com.br/templates/playerpopup.aspx?midia=134558&channel=98
So as not to leave out Pampa de São Pedro, here are his winning runs:http://mediacenter.clicrbs.com.br/templates/playerpopup.aspx?midia=134554&channel=98
You can see more (in Portuguese) at the Canal Rural Freio de Ouro website.