cattle rancher colombia llanero

German photojournalist Oliver Schmieg, founder of Mucura Images, a photo agency dedicated to covering Latin America through daily life and news reportage, traveled to the plains of eastern Colombia, where he encountered a skilled horseman herding cattle near Yopal, Casanare.

Extending from the Eastern cordillera to the Orinoco Basin, the Colombian llanos, cover four departments – Meta, Casanare, Vichada and Arauca. The Llaneros, who herd livestock across vast plains, lead largely solitary lives in incredibly isolated terrain, not unlike the Gauchos of the Patagonia.

The Colombian cowboys are connected to land and history. Thanks to their skill with horses, they were able warriors and played a key role in helping win the War of Independence from Spain. Willing to fight for land, the Llaneros joined the ranks of Simón Bolívar’s cavalry, guiding the Liberator across difficult Andean terrain. The cowboys of Colombia represent tradition throughout the centuries, and little has changed in the present.