The "Pantaneiro" breed
A unique breed of horse, that has adapted to its environment like no other, the hot and humid lowland and to long distances. The horse of the Pantanal has its origins in the Iberian horses brought to Brazil during the colonial period.
Animals brought into the region have multiplied and formed a breed well adapted to the ecological conditions of the Pantanal. This is the result of natural selection over hundreds of years. Since the establishment of “Fazendas” in the Pantanal, the horse has been truly important in cattle management and as a means of transportation for the inhabitants of the region.
Despite its qualities, the breed came close to extinction due to factors such as diseases and indiscriminate crossbreeding. The work done by institutions such as the Brazilian Association of Pantanal Horse Breeders (ABCCP), established in 1972, prevented the extinction of the race, which today is still in a vulnerable state and requires specific programs for its conservation. Apart for its genetic value, the horse of Pantanal is invaluable for its great utility in the management of beef cattle, the main economic activity in the region.
Sandra Santos, specialist in production and animal husbandry at Embrapa Pantanal (Corumbá-MS), explained that the locals, in Pantanal, recognize the great value of the horse in the cattle deals. "He insists that race is to be preserved with its rustic characteristics of strength and agility to field work. The beauty, for exhibitions, is not the quality most valued by them, "she explains.
Another quality of the Pantanal horse that has been highly valued by breeders is the agility to equestrian events, such as endurance and reins, with some champions already in local and national competitions. "If with a still small number of animals have already achieved this status, in the near future, with more farmers and animals, this will be even better."
In the four annual auctions specialized for this breed - Campo Grande and Corumbá, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Poconé and Cuiaba, Mato Grosso, the prices achieved by some animals have hit record highs. At the auction in Cuiabá, in July 2010, the mare Herança and the stallion Debochado, stars of the opening of the sopa opera 'Paraiso' were sold for R$ 148,000 and R$ 64,000 respectively. Rising prices show a promising market and a great chance for the conservation of the breed.
There are currently about 5,000 horses registered in the Pantanal pure ABCCP, with more than 130 developers located in 21 subregions. The estimated total number of horses in the Pantanal is 100 thousand, which reveals a large number of crossbred animals, also according to Sandra Santos.
In Nhumirim ranch, 160 kilometers from Corumba, there are currently 73 registered animals. There, the results of research into breeding and health, together with the underlying technologies are transferred to farmers for conservation and improving the quality of the breed.
The main threat to the Pantanal horse today still is anemia, which prevents the registration of infected specimens in the association. "It is important to prevent and control the disease with good management practices and research in health," says the researcher. She explains that tought proper management and exams are expensive "I believe this recognition and appreciation of race in terms of economic, historical and cultural interest will generate a greater market and leverage the Pantanal horse."