Zuleta, a world acclaimed South American eco lodge, is as famous for its horses and horseback riding in Ecuador as it is for its history and hospitality. Andean horseback ridding has been a Plaza family tradition for over one hundred years, and today Zuleta reflects this equestrian affinity by boasting one of the most exclusive stables in Ecuador.
The breeding at Zuleta started right after the Second World War, when Galo Plaza brought to Ecuador a spectacular Quarter Horse from the famous King Ranch in Texas (www.king-ranch.com), named Pleasant Venture, son of Bold Venture. This stallion was crossed with the mares and as his blood was strong, the out-coming foals retained many Quarter horse qualities. The stallion who followed was a beautiful Pelé, a son of Pleasant Venture and Mincha, a Thoroughbred Race horse. More thoroughbred influence came from Cordobés, a pure Throroubred stallion owned by Luz Plaza, not in terms of quantity, but his few foals were truly great and had some international success in jumping competitions.
In 1975 the first Andalusian Stallion was added to the existing stock, which was now a mixture between Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse. His name was Espartero and he changed the blood line of the Zuleteños significantly. As Zuleta´s horses where difficult to handle and easy to excite fast runners up to that date, the Andalusian influence made them noble, gentle and calm. Making the horses perfect for horseback riding vacations in Ecuador. Espartero had a great blood line which produced some remarkably pretty foals, lots of which were sold to clubs in Quito for dressage – this turned Zuleta into a renowned breeding stable in Ecuador.
Breeding during these times, though not pure bred animals, produced strong and intelligent horses, nice movers and on top of this animals beautiful to look at. So when Esparteros daughters reached breeding age, the family decided to add more Andalusian blood, and Alvaro Ponce bought bright white Diamante from Costa Rica. He and Esmeraldo, another white, great looking Andalusian from Spain made the Zuleteños what they are today: Gentle, noble looking and reliable riding horses who are able to perform well, but who also offer an absolute beginner a pleasant and safe ride. Through decades of dedication, the Plaza family has managed to make Zuleta’s horse perfect for horseback riding in Ecuador.