We look at Mexico's rich equestrian traditions...
Mexico’s history and culture are deeply entwined with horses, most famously through the charro so often portrayed in Western films from Hollywood’s golden era.
Dressed in their distinctive sombrero, heavily embroidered jacket and tightly cut trousers, the charro cowboys were brave and highly skilled horse riders, tamers and herders in real life as well on the movie screens. They became national heroes for the part they played in fighting landowners in the Mexican War for Independence in the early 19th century.
Horses remain important to Mexican life, with the charrería (similar to Western riding) considered the national sport, as highlighted by its addition to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in 2016. Mexico also enjoys impressive participation rates in the FEI-recognised disciplines and has achieved notable successes over the years.
Let’s take a closer look at Mexico’s equestrian culture…
The Azteca breed is the national horse of Mexico, and they are the stars of the show in the charros competitions that are similar to the rodeos seen in the US.
Officially recognised as recently as the 1970s, the Azteca was the first breed to be developed in Mexico. Veterinarians, breeders and government officials came together with the target of developing a breed that would resemble the Mexican Criollo of Spanish descent which played a rich part in the country’s history though not native and nearly extinct today.
The Azteca is comprised of Andalusian, American Quarter Horse and Mexican Criollo or Criollo.
They are known for their athleticism and good temperament and are widely used in competitions, although rarely seen in ‘English’-style disciplines.
The Mexican Sport Horse is a recent creation that owes much of its success to Mexico's La Silla and La Escondida breeding programmes. The most prominent CCDM (Criadores de Caballos Deportivos Mexicanos) horse is Babel, the partner of Patricio Pasquel, who is currently ranked in the world’s top 50 in Jumping.