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Gato And Mancha

It all began with a Swiss man’s dream: to ride an Argentine criollo breed horse from South to North America. Linguist Aimé Tschiffely bought two horses from Aónikenk cacique Liempichín of Alto Río Senguer, near Sarmiento. Gato was a 14-year-old dark bay and Mancha, a 15-year-old piebald. On April 23, 1925, this trio set off on one of the 20th century’s most famous odysseys, from Buenos Aires to New York City. They established three world records: highest altitude reached by equines (4900 m / 15,925 ft), coldest temperature experienced (-18ºC / -4ºF), and longest distance covered (16,000 kilometers / 9600 mi). The journey lasted 3.5 years. Gato, Mancha and Aimé were received with full honors by U.S. President Calvin Coolidge at the White House in 1928. Tschiffely wrote a book in 1933 about their adventure, Tschiffely's Ride (The Ride or Southern Cross to Pole Star).

There are statues of Gato and Mancha across from Sarmiento’s tourism office. Another monument, created by Aldo Beroiza, is in Alto Río Senguer, where every April the Festival Gato y Mancha takes place (150 km / 90 mi west of Sarmiento). Mancha and Gato are embalmed in the Museo de Luján (Wednesday-Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Complejo Museográfico Provincial Enrique Udaondo, Calle Lezica 917, Luján, Tel.: 02323-42-0245, E-mail: Entry: $1). Aimé Tschiffely is buried in an adjacent tomb. In honor of these horses, Día Nacional del Caballo is observed September 20.

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