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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.

Page 107

were adapted only for the tips of boots with long, pointed toes, and were impossible for our feet; our hosts’ stirrups were long, narrow silver slippers. The camaradas, on the other hand, had jim-crow saddles and bridles, and rusty little iron stirrups into which they thrust their naked toes. But all, gentry and commonalty alike, rode equally well and with the same skill and fearlessness. To see our hosts gallop at headlong speed over any kind of country toward the sound of the dogs with their quarry at bay, or to see them handle their horses in a morass, was a pleasure. It was equally a pleasure to see a camarada carrying his heavy spear, leading a hound in a leash, and using his machete to cut his way through the tangled vine-ropes of a jungle, all at the same time and all without the slightest reference to the plunges, and the odd and exceedingly jerky behavior, of his wild, half-broken horse—for on such a ranch most of the horses are apt to come in the categories of half-broken or else of broken-down. One dusky tatterdemalion wore a pair of boots from which he had removed the soles, his bare, spur-clad feet projecting from beneath the uppers. He was on a little devil of a stallion, which he rode blindfold for a couple of miles, and there was a regular circus when he removed the bandage; but evidently it never occurred to him that the animal was hardly a comfortable riding-horse for a man going out hunting and encumbered with a spear, a machete, and other belongings.
  The eight hours that we were out we spent chiefly in splashing across the marshes, with excurisons now and then into vine-tangled belts and clumps of timber. Some