Charros Riding in Mexico

by Hidden Trails 01/03/2012

Story by Jenny at Rancho Mexicana

The term “charro” describes a riding style that has been handed down from Mexican cowboys. They would compete against each other to showcase their skill in ranching, such as riding and roping broncos. Today, charro riding is mainly reserved for entertainment during events known as Charreadas. A popluar recognized event here in Mexico, the Charreada, which basically translates to rodeo, is anoffical sporting event. It is part of Mexico’s living history because it was developed from the life of working on a ranch. Here, the charreada is viewed as a form of a living art. Charro riders, both men and women are allowed to compete in these events; there are nine events for men and one for women. During the Charreada there is a strict dress code for the Charro riders which incorporate colourful costumes with many silver accents, and of course a wide brim sombrero. The Charreada originated with the Spanish Conquistadors, who introduced bull fighting and riding horses in the new world. The Indian and mestizo who worked on the Spanish colonial plantations added their own unique style and contribution to the sport. Charro saddles are different then the common westerm saddle, they have a wider horn which is used to help the charro rider from being pitched off. The saddle is also designed with two back grips that they Charro may use if he needs to hold on while riding a bucking bronco.

The Events of the Charreada 


Cala de Caballo is a reining and training demonstration where the charro rider shows the ability and obedience of his horse. The demonstration of the horse is shown though a talents in the canter, gallop, slide stop, spin on its hind legs as well as backing.

Piales show heeling and roping a horse while the charro rider is mounted on horseback.

Colas is steer tailing.

Jineteo de toro is more commonly known as bull riding. This is where our charro riders show the riding skills by staying mounted on top of a bucking bull until he stops.

Terna en ek Ruedo is an event where a charro team of three uses different maneuvers and techniques to lasso both horns and the hind leg of a bull so that he remains under control.

Jineteo de vegua is where the charro rider must stay on top of a bucking bronco until he stops. The real art of this event is that the charro rider does it all bearback!

Manganas a pie, the charro rider must lasso the fore-leg of a horse while he is on the ground. Note: horse tripping is banned from this event and any charro who attempts this is fined accordingly.

Manganas a Caballo is the same sequence as manganas a pie except this event is done from horseback.

The ninth and final event for charro men is known as Paso de la Muerte or the jump of death. In this sequence the Charro rider must jump bareback from his running horse on to the back of a bronco. There is no tack on either horse and the rider must stay on top until he stops bucking.

The event for women is known as Escaramuza

Ay Caramba! It is the most beautiful aspect of the Charreada. Without this the La Fiesta Charra would not be considered an authentic, Mexican Fiesta. In this event there are eight women clothed in intricately custom handmade dresses. 
Escaramuza is also referred to as the women's mounted drill team. They execute a series of precision maneuvers riding side-saddle and at various speeds It is said by many that the Charro rider is an impotent part of Mexico’s history. They are the warriors of the past who fought for their independence and freedom.

Today they are brave and strong icons of Mexico, whose antics are immortalized in paintings movies and folk songs. 

Many of the Charro demonstrations can be visit during oyur stay at the "Rancho Mexicana - Colores de Mexico".