2023 Endurance Race on Criollo Horses in Brazil – Compete with Gauchos!

Criollo horses with typical gaucho gear in a marcha resistencia competition
Riding into the sunrise on a Criollo Horse in Brazil
The first ride of the day usually starts very early so the riders can enjoy some beautiful sunrises.

Imagine if you had the chance to race on horseback in the Naadam against the locals in Mongolia?

The “Marcha de Resistência” is one of the LONGEST endurance competitions in the world. It takes place every year for competitors in Brazil and a few other South American nations. The event takes place over 15 days during the winter and covers 750 kilometers. Gauchos race their highly trained Criollo horses in order to secure breeding rights for the horses which proved extraordinary endurance and stamina. 

2023 Updates

In 2022 our first client Sarah completed and won 2nd place in the gelding class with Almirante. See what she thought about the whole experience here.

Sarah is receiving her prize for placing 2nd in the gelding class in the 750km endurance race - the Marcha
Prize giving ceremony with Sarah, who won 2nd place in the gelding class. Photo credits: Fagner Almeida

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Exclusive for You

We are offering the opportunity for international riders from around the world the chance to come to Brazil and ride a criollo horse in the traditional style. You will be up against the local gauchos in their most prized competition. 

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a tourist event or a riding holiday. This is a rare chance to ride in an ACTUAL endurance competition on a criollo horse which has been conditioned and prepared especially for this event. The Marcha race does not cover 750 kilometers worth of terrain. You will be riding out from the same venue in the village of Jaguarão each day and will be required to follow the rules and regulations according to the event. You must help prepare your own horse each day twice a day and accompany your horse in each stations vet check.

The endurance race on Criollos - the Marcha - takes place in Brazil in Winter. That means it can be very cold and wet. This is not a tourist ride at all.
The Marcha takes place in winter in Brazil. The weather can get tough! Photo credits: Fagner Almeida


Our mission is to promote equestrian sports, particularly endurance riding and the “Marcha de Resistência”.


Our vision is to offer top-quality horses which are well trained in endurance, and fit and able to complete the Marcha. We will provide the best horses to people who are interested in competing and qualify through our application procedure.

  • We want that the competing riders worries are to compete and to not have to focus or worry about anything else. That’s why we offer airport pickup and drop off (in Brazil). You only have to show up! (And ride 750 kilometers in a traditional gaucho saddle, of course.)
  • No other ultra-resistance equestrian competition offers the chance to compete in equal conditions with the locals.
  • We offer the opportunity of getting to mix into a unique local culture as one of the Gauchos, during your stay at the Brazil-Uruguay border. We can guarantee there will be plenty of Asada’s (Barbeques) and a party or two to celebrate! *You better be ready to eat a lot of meat!!!*
Criollo horses with typical gaucho gear in a marcha de resistencia competition
Up for the challenge.


  • We aim to promote equestrian sports while adding value to local culture. Not many women can be seen riding and competing against men in Brazil. We hope that by opening up this race to international riders around the world we will give the local girls the encouragement, motivation and support to get in the saddle!
  • To compete with fair-play and put the animal welfare first. We LOVE our criollo horse breed. We’ve seen their capabilities and hope to share our love for our magnificent breed with the world!
  • Our Motto is the same in the Marcha as it is for any endurance competition: “To finish is to win.” You will not win any prize money (there are awards however should you place). This event is not meant to be won at the expense of others or our horses, but to revere and honor the amazing endurance capabilities of the horses!
Competitors in the Marcha riding along the road on their Criollo horses
The race takes place on public roads shared by the competitors, spectators and local traffic.

More Information About the Marcha:

The Marcha – “Marcha de Resistência” is a long-distance riding competition, held over 750km, divided into 15 days. Its main feature is that all animals stay, before the race starts, in a farm or “Estância” next to the competition venue, the so-called “concentration”. However, differently of what the name may make you think, the animals will spend this month loose, and eating only grass and drinking water. The aim is that all animals start the race in the most possible equality of conditions. The division of km/day and speed/pace is in the table (link). After each leg, animals pass through a vet-check, observing the same requirements of endurance competitions. According to the vet commission, the horse may be eliminated if it does not attend these criteria. 

Here we must warn, that unlike other long-distance races that exist, the difference of this is that you will be competing among, or against the locals. Marcha is considered not only a competition, for it is a breed selection test. 

Competitors of the 750km endurance race on Criollos - the Marcha de la Resistencia in Brazil - let their horses drink during the race to keep them hydrated
The competitors are responsible to keep their horses hydrated and sound during the whole competition. Photo credits: Adriana Pires Neves

The Origins of the Marcha de Resistência

The first Marcha was held in Uruguay in 1951. Supposedly, the Marcha mimics the long distances in all weather conditions that a working horse must endure in the Pampas. The idea goes back to 3 breeders, Júlio Leon, Eduardo Ibarra and Alberto Gallinal. Since the beginning each horse competing in the marcha covers 750km (approximately 466 miles) within a time frame of 15 days. In Brazil, the first 750km marcha was held in Alegrete, in 1991. The Brazilian Federation of Criollo Breeders (ABCCC) organizes all the competitions for Criollo horses in Brazil. Only recently the first woman ever won a national Marcha competition in Brazil! Next to the national competitions, the International Federation of Criollo Breeders (FICCC) is hosting international championships (including a marcha) every 4 years in its member countries: Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay. Until now there were three FICCC Marchas held in Brazil: 1996, 2007 and 2019.

A marker for the 15km checkpoint in Marcha de la Resistencia in Brazilthe
A checkpoint during the race

The Criollo Horse

The Criollo is a breed that has undergone a tough natural selection process for more than 400 years. It is an offspring of horses that were left in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina (more or less at the same time) by the Spanish and Portuguese settlers. Criollos are very tough and rustic horses, capable to remain all day under the saddle and working with cattle. Nowadays, the breed can be divided in two major bloodlines: the Chilean bloodline, which is the most successful at competitions like Freio de Ouro, reining, cutting, etc; and the endurance bloodline, which comes from Uruguayan La Invernada farms, Brazilian Cinco Salsos, and ancient Argentinian, Uruguayan and Brazilian bloodlines. Endurance Criollos are almost a different breed if you look at them. These bloodlines are present in 100% of all Marcha winners.

Flooding on the road during the marcha - the Criollo horses have to step through the flooded area
Heavy rain during the competition can create additional obstacles on the way

One of the most important Argentinian bloodlines is El Cardal, from Emilio Solanet who was the re-founder of the Criollo. A famous adventure was made in the 1920’s by the swiss rider Aimé Tschiffely. He lent two criollos from Emilio Solanet and rode them from Buenos Aires to New York. You can read his adventures in his book, Tschiffely’s Ride.

Interview with our first international competitor Sarah

What did you think about the race?

It is very difficult to summarize 15 days of riding in one short and sweet quote.  Having participated in many other international multiday races, I can say this was a truly different experience. Being able to compete with the gauchos instead of other international riders was incredibly humbling and confidence building all at the same time.  The race is pure competition, you are heavily watched, and the degree of difficulty comes not from the terrain or the horses, but the ability to find peace in your own mind.

What did you think about the horses?

These horses are truly incredible. You have to experience them to believe that they are not just capable of completing the race, but get stronger every day.  I felt very safe with my horse the whole time, and when the competition picked up, he turned from a childs pony into a proper racehorse.

Sarah is passing a way marker during a 750km endurance race - the marcha - in Brazil.
Sarah. Photo credits: Fagner Almeida

What are your thoughts in general about the reception?

I was worried how I would be received as the first international rider, I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform well so that the gauchos would welcome me and look forward to welcoming more international riders.  However, the pressure was all self inflicted! Everyone was very excited for me to be there and THEY felt the pressure of impressing me.  Once we got that understood, we had a good laugh. While the language barrier was difficult for me, everyone picked up a few phrases in either language and a favourite seemed to be “Let’s Go Sarah!”. It was so encouraging!

What did you think about the gauchos?

There is so much to be learned in watching these fabulous horsemen care for and compete their horses.  In this race, I got to see how it was really done instead of watching international riders try to figure it out. If you come in with an open heart and without ego, you can come away with so many new skills and the ones you already have improved. They have the perfect balance of love of their horses and competitive spirit.

Dates for 2023

TBA (End of June 2023 – Beginning of July 2023)

Arrival: Porto Alegre Airport (POA)

Drive to Jaguarão (389km)

Marcha: 15 days

Departure: Porto Alegre Airport (POA)

Riders must arrive at least one day before the start in Jaguarão, because it´s the day they catch the horses, shoe them, etc., so this is when you get to know your horse. You will NOT be allowed to ride your horse before the start of the race as per the rules of this competition. Every competitor must ride their horse for the first time after the horse’s rest at the start line.


The competition will be held in Jaguarão, a historical city that is the Marcha’s cradle.

Riders are going both directions on the road close to a turning point
Riders meeting each other close to a turning point.

Limited Entries:

This year we will be offering only FIVE horses to international competitors. This is because we want to offer you a real chance to finish and possibly placing in the top and winning an award! We are providing OUR personal competing horses, so we trust that they will take you to the finish. The results in 2022 were very good, as Sarah with Almirante got 2nd among the geldings class, and Bolicheiro completed. He, being a very young horse, was entered as a test.

Training the Horses / Preparing for the Marcha:

The horses which typically compete in the Marcha are not young. They are mostly mares which have been racing in endurance competitions for years and years. Breeders select only top quality horses and train them for competitions so they can secure breeding rights for their mares. Because of this, many of the riders do not want to risk their horses welfare and are aiming mainly to finish. However, there will be plenty of competitors looking for the win. 

The Marcha - a 750km endurance race in Brazil - is all about stamina. But if you want to win, you need to race too.
Going for the podium. Photo credits: Fagner Almeida

This means that prior to the horse’s “concentration” (or rest period leading up to the Marcha) a LOT of training, fitness and work goes into the horse to build their stamina and condition before the race. These horses are VERY well trained. They are ridden with long reins and neck rein. They are used to being ridden every day on the estancias and the gauchos essentially LIVE IN THE SADDLE. 

You will have a horse which is comfortable to ride and is bred, trained and conditioned to finish an event of this magnitude. Having said that, we cannot guarantee a finish, as with any sport or physical activity there is always a risk. If your horse get’s injured and does not pass the vet examination, you will be eliminated. 

Hot Showers, Good Food & Icy Hot Patches

This race is not about speed! There are only a few stages which are speed based. Instead, you have set times and paces for your horse each day which you must meet. The first week is set with very comfortable paces so you have time to get to know your horse and the team while having fun attempting to sign language and chat with the locals while on horseback! 

Although it is a stamina test for the riders, you will be in a hotel and have access to a hot shower at the end of each day. You will also eat DELICIOUS food on a daily basis and have time in the afternoons for a short siesta if you choose. And not to mention your crew members will happily carry all of your handy pain killers, icy hot patches (or booze if you prefer!) at the start and finish of each days ride. You will also get used to drinking the hot mate drink (a traditional tea) which is passed around and shared to help keep you warm and give you a little caffeine boost!

heavy rain during the competition tests riders and gear
Heavy rain challenges the riders and their gear

Interested Applicants Requirements:

  • You MUST be an experienced rider and in good physical condition to be able to compete in this event. 
  • As we have LIMITED SPACES we can ONLY accept the best applicants. Please include a description of yourself in your application and why you think you are the best person for this experience. We will contact you after receiving all applications to begin the interview process. 
  • All applications are due by December 15th, 2022
  • Please email us a PDF document with your details attached. (Form Below)






Weight (kg): (DISCLAIMER: The minimum weight for the rider and tack is 95kg, so this information is MANDATORY. You will be asked to be weighed with all your riding gear at the start and finish of the race and we need your EXACT weight in order to help you in advance with adequate extra weight if needed, and train the horse so it is used to carry it)


Riding experience: 

Picture of you riding:

Short Description of Why You Should Be Chosen for this Event: 

Which horse, if any, on our team do you prefer: (Horse Info Below)

Crewing for the Event: (Non-Riding Option)

Not sure you want to be compete right away? Or you came in too late and all the horses are booked? You can come and crew for us! Get the flavor of the Marcha without all the suffering! Although you will be helping riders with preparing their horses, we will have local crew members on site to help you and teach you how to do things “like a gaucho.”


  • Transfer from Porto Alegre to location of the Marcha and back
  • Accommodation during Marcha
  • Food (some of it is provided by the Marcha commission) and drinks, except alcoholic.
  • Horse: Feel free to choose your preference in advance. The costs include the training, shoeing, vetting, and transportation of your horse to and from the competition. It also includes the cost of your groom and jockey who is in charge of getting your horse fit for the competition.
  • Horse Tack: All saddles and equipment for the horse will be provided (brushes, hoof pick, bridle, traditional saddle, sheepskin, etc.)
  • Race entry (the Criollo association provides the vets and stewards since this is an official breed event).
  • Crew – although we are offering opportunity for people to come and crew for our team, there will be a local crew to assist you and help show you and your international crew members the correct way of preparing your horse in the traditional tack.
  • Driver and interpreter throughout the event. The majority of the competitors and staff of the Marcha DO NOT speak English. (Portuguese is the main language, however sometimes Spanish is also understood.) Because of this we will provide a translator to help you when you feel like sign language just isn’t enough!

NOT Included:

  • Flights to and from Porto Alegre
  • Visa (many countries do not need a visa for Brazil, if you are staying less than 3 months)
  • Insurance
  • Accommodation in Porto Alegre or any of the main flight hubs (São Paulo and Rio), if needed. 
  • Other Personal Equipment
    You do not need a GPS, since you leave and arrive at the same place every day. A cardio (Garmin, Polar or similar) is recommended so you can easily stick to the pace of the controlled speed loops. 
  • Clothing
    Please assess weather forecast before you embark. In June/July, it is cold. It is wintertime in Brazil so you need to bring a good coat and a raincoat. You can always go shopping for the gaucho clothing and buy a poncho, during your stay. As a foreign competitor, you do not need to use the gaucho outfit to compete, but we can be your “personal stylists” if you want to.

Meet the Horses:


Well, as they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and it was just by chance (or call it fate, who knows???) we discovered Boemia’s son, Bolicheiro. He was doing roping and was offered to us. Getting to ride and train him since last year was really a gift, and we could think of the younger verson of Boemia. She is now in foal to a famous La Invernada stallion, coming end of September! Not a promise anymore, for he finished the Marcha in Quaraí, but we can say he has the same good gaits as his mother, good pulse and plus, is a very calm horse, steady on the trail, even though he’s only 6! Other than Marcha, we went to a 30km ride last year and he did very well, completing in 8th.

A Criollo gelding named Bolicheiro


Almirante is already a Marcha finalist, and he is a horse that we admired when he was galloping along us in the 2021 Marcha. He achieved 1st place among the geldings. We heard he was being offered and went to test him, and we got to like him even more! He has also smooth but powerful gaits, and is as tame as a pet!

A criollo gelding named Almirante

Falta Invido

After testing our stallion in some endurance rides (he was vice-champion of 30km on last year´s Criollo´s endurance season), we decided to offer him for 2023 Marcha. Very solid horse, and you won´t notice you are upon a stallion, except when you ask him to move, and he can do it at top speed! Smooth gaits, good manners (very respectful of the ladies because he obeys his rider first). And plus, since it is not common to have stallions on the race, you may start with a prize already!


Ever dreamed of being on board a Ferrari??? Your time has come! But this one runs on 4-legs instead of wheels. She has the speed, energy and comfort of the vehicle, add to this the sheer stamina and power, and off you go! Not forgetting to mention that this one has the spice, so if you like forward horses, this is your horse! She has also an impeccable bloodline of endurance champions: her mother never lost in a row of ten 80km competitions. We believe that in the Marcha she won’t disappoint you. If you’re in it to win it, Ferrari is your girl. 

Criollo mare Ferrari - side
Criollo mare Ferrari - front

Meet the Paranoia Team

Members of Team Paranoia mounted on Criollo horses
Team Paranoia

Adriana Pires Neves

Adriana is a veterinarian, university professor and researcher in the field of equine reproduction. She has been addicted to endurance since 2014. So far, she has raced distances of 20km to 60km in three states of Brazil, always being placed. She completed her first Marcha in Aceguá (2018), arriving 18th among 64 competitors, with her horse Paranoia; in 2019, at the FICCC Marcha, was 9th with Buena Sorte. Notice that in both occasions the animals were running their first Marchas! Buena Sorte has now completed her FEI qualifying and ready to go to 100km rides, but she is living in São Paulo state, so we may not be bringing her back for another Marcha (but who knows???). In 2022 Adriana completed the Marcha sharing the mount of Bolicheiro with Henrique. Adriana is the founder of Paranoia Team and has the will to introduce the Marcha in the international long-distance race scene.

A Criollo horse ready to compete in a Brazilian endurance race: the marcha
Adriana and Buena Sorte

Rogerio Kummer (Lelo)

Lelo is a farm administrator who has a long history in the Criollo endurance scene. He started his career back in 2005, winning all categories championships (30, 50 and 80km). Later on, as a breeder, ha had the same success, breeding horses that won all the categories, and also Buena Sorte and Paranoia (in memoriam), two finalists of the Marcha. His stud was chosen as “Cabanha do Ano” (best breeder of year) in 2012. He is also a great mentor and trainer, fostering many young people into the sport, including his three sons.

Henrique Kummer

21-year-old, young but the talent revealed very soon. Started in endurance at 6, winning his first title at 7, in the Criollo endurance category for kids. At eleven, he was already 4 times champion in the category 30A (the one for kids). Then he ran two championships in parallel, the Criollo Association one, and the FGEE (State Equestrian Federation) championship (open for all breeds), at which he won twice controlled speed 30km. From 12 to 15, he was champion of the 30km adult category and champion of 50km from Criollo Association, and also 50km free speed from FGEE. In total he was on the podium more than 50 times! From the 15 until now, due to the studies, he stopped competing, but never stopped riding. He´s doing a great comeback as trainer, having completed two Marchas (Boemia and Bolicheiro) and training his horse, Falta Invido, to win 2021 30km cycle.

Prices for the 2023 Event:


$950 Deposit required when/if your application is accepted

$4,500 Due by December 15th, 2022

$4,500 Due by March 15th, 2023

Total Cost: $9,950 USD

On request, we can design a monthly plan to pay with credit card.

Horse Share:

In the event that two riders are happy to share one horse and thereby compete in only half of the race, a horse share is possible. It is up to the two riders sharing the horse to divide the riding sections based on their own preference and fitness levels and is not up to the responsibility of the organizers. This means that at any time you can choose to sit out while your teammate rides that leg. Locals competing in the Marcha can also have a horse share so you will most likely not be the only competitors in the event on a horse share basis. 

$500 Deposit

$2,500 Due by December 15th, 2022

$2,500 Due by March 15th, 2023

Total Cost: $5,500 USD

*As there are limited number of horses, horse share will only be offered in the event that there is a free horse available from Full Competitors and that another Horse Share participant is on the wait list.

Crew Member: (Non-Rider)

$500 Deposit

$1,700 Due by December 15th, 2022

$1,700 Due by January 15th, 2023

Total Cost: $3,900

Refund Policy

Since the majority of the fees is to cover horse training expenses, we can refund up to 20% of your paid fee. You have the option to insure it or name another rider to replace you and pay the remainder.


  • Must bring your own riding gear, however we can take you to a local shop in Brazil to purchase any local riding gear you might wish to wear. (Ponchos, bombachas (riding pants), rain ponchos etc.) 
  • Remember that it is WINTER in Brazil during the event! Bring WARM CLOTHES!!! 
  • Although a helmet is not required, we recommend you wear one, however it is at rider’s own risk. 

Reminder: All applications are due by December 15th, 2022. Please email your entry to Krystal at: krystal@equestrianadventuress.com

We will notify you after all applications have been accepted and begin the interview process between November 15th-20th. Deposits for accepted entries must be paid before December 1st or your place will be filled to the next selected applicant on the waitlist.

Published by Krys Kolumbus Travel

Krystal Kelly is a California girl on a Quest to see every country. She is a professional equestrian adventuress and has worked internationally with horses since 2010. Since then she has worked at professional competition and riding stables in Egypt, Italy, Romania, India and Bhutan! "I love travelling and I love horses and I am very blessed to be able to do both of my passions for a living!" She now has her own company, Krys Kolumbus Travel where she strives to empower women to travel and provides resources, tips and online courses to encourage women to travel SOLO to unique destinations. www.kryskolumbustravel.com www.krystal-kelly.com

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