Rigo and his son Angelo ride together in a Chilean rodeo.
Angelo is Rigo’s second son and usually his partner in local rodeos, which they sometimes win together. This is against hot competition as it is a popular local sport. Angelo is an excellent horseman and talented Chilean rodeo rider, always confident and trustworthy as a guide as well.
Horse Riding Chile is a family business where most of our guides are sons or cousins of Rigo, our head guide. Angelo often helps his father with our one day rides and also camping trips. The importance of family ties in this small valley of the Cajon del Maipo goes beyond working relations into leisure time. Rodeos are central to Chilean life in the countryside, enthusiastically followed by rich and poor. Some have claimed that it is a more popular sport than football in Chile outside the towns. It has been an especial pleasure that Angelo, who started riding in rodeos when he was 14 years old, has turned out to be so good at it. He has become, with Rigo, one of the customary winners or high rankers in the results. Good horsemen are not always good rodeo riders. It takes a special ability, not just to ride superbly, but to be able to ‘attack’, to turn the steer at the right moment. Cries of ‘ ataque, ataque’ come from the crowd. This sounds fierce but the action is to push the steer into the side of the ring – padded at this point – with the chest of the horse, so that it turns and runs the other way. The attacking horse has to be galloping sideways (specially trained for this action) in order to keep the steer close to the side of the ring as further out the riders would lose control of it. Chilean rodeos are an exercise and demonstration of skill in handling cattle. They are not bucking bronco events, although the riders sometimes do that afterwards for recreation.
Chilean rodeo rider
So to be a Chilean rodeo rider takes more than normal good horsemanship and we are delighted that several of our guides have this skill and enjoy the sport.