I was lucky enough to be taken to an amateur race meet known as a ‘Cuadrera’ in the province of Corrientes, which lies in the north of Argentina. Most of Corrientes is swathed in knee-deep water meadows with sandy, white bottoms and paddocks rich with grass. Corrientes has over 350 species of birds, which is more than 30% of the total birds one can see in Argentina.
A straight sandy road acted as the racetrack and there were no officials, finishing line or barriers in sight. The jockeys were mounted on thoroughbred cross Criollo horses and their saddles were commonly a piece of foam secured by a girth. I noticed some jockeys chose to ride without stirrups. In the midst of the races there was a yearling auction, a traditional card game called Truco was being played and a mouth-watering asado (an Argentinean barbecue) was being cooked.
Fernando, my Argentinean host, explained that a ‘Cuadrera’ is a real social event for the country people and typically the race is over 400 metres. The race attracts a variety of horse owners from Estancia owners who breed Thoroughbreds to gauchos who enter young horses that have shown potential. I had a punt on one of the races and doubled my money.
These photos were taken on a Canon film camera with colour slide. I love the grain and saturation of colour that this film creates.