Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mexican Rodeo, part two

Yesterday's post described the events of the National Western Stock Show's Mexican Rodeo. Today I shift my focus to the tack used during some of those performances. Since I claim no particular knowledge of Mexican tack, this post is going to be long on pictures and short on text.

First up, the sidesaddle horses:
I would have loved to get a better look at the saddles, but it was impossible with those big skirts!
Since these horses were part of a drill team, they all had the matching cinches, breastcollars and pads.
The flag carrier, which is usually attached to a stirrup, was buckled to the cinch instead.
I took most of today's photos during the grand finale, at which point I had co-opted a recently vacated seat near the arena floor. As a result, these pictures are sharper than yesterday's and can be enlarged for better viewing.
On to the Charros! This is Jerry Diaz on his Andalusian.
Jerry's Charro saddle is absolutely beautiful! The design is actually stitched into the leather.
Jerry Diaz, again, this time on his roping horse. This saddle is similar to the grey's but looks a little more lived in.
Does anyone know what that piece behind the cantle is? I didn't see anything like it on any of the other horses. Jerry does a lot of standing up roping tricks on this horse, so I suspect it has something to do with that.
Staci Diaz. I think she looks really sharp in her green outfit.
The rest of the Charros had plainer, work type saddles.
Red is a very common accent color and most of the horses wore at least one red tack item.
Several horse had fleece covered breastcollars.
Back view.
Side view.
Close up.
Definitely less fancy than the Diaz saddles!
Bridles tend to be one eared style and very simple. They are often worn over a halter.
Every single horse in the arena was bitted in some sort of a curb bit and had closed, chain reins. Many also had nosebands, with or without a tiedown.
Model horse post tomorrow--I promise!


  1. Very cool! I think I actually like the plainer saddles best :-)

  2. Hi jennifer!

    About the "tiedown" on the horses' bridles. That is acrtually probably a "bosalita" and is there because the back in early "Vaquero" history horses were trained on the bosal first, and then gradually, over a period of years (sometimes 10 or more.. the good vaqueros let their horses tell them when it was time) a bit was introduced so that the horse eventually became a "bridle" horse. The mini "bosalita" is supposed to serve as a reminder of the bosal training to the horse before he becomes a full bridle horse. The thinking was that putting a bit into a young horse's mouth too early ruined the sensitivity of the horse's mouth, therefore the bosal was used. I learned all of this when I was doing research for my "mother hubbard I" set. if one does a search for the "vaquero" way there is a lot more information on it. It is all based on the mexican vaquero way of training a horse but it may just largely be traditional now to use that tiny bosalita with a charro saddle. just my .02 - hope that helps someone :-)

  3. Oh! I and I do see that some of the horses are actually using a 'tiedown" setup.. I just saw a few that had that tiny heel knot on their headstalls and thought that I'd blather on.. LOL

  4. Heather, I used to work for a tack shop that sold a lot of bosalitas as well as all kinds of other traditional handmade tack. You would love that store! The owner is super knowedgeable and my "office" was filled with collector type Western saddles. Heaven on Earth!

    I think you're right that a lot of the Mexican Rodeo horses wore the bosalita type noseband as a traditional (and basically non-functioning) tack piece. However there were some real American style tiedowns in that ring and those weren't just for decoration!

  5. Ha! You posted when I posted. JINX!

  6. Jennifer! More great photos!! Thanks!

    If you want photos of a Charra sidesaddle let me know, I've been collecting them.

    Great info Heather! Thanks!

  7. Vicky, I would *love* to see those pictures. I have to admit that a part of me was hoping someone would fall off so I could catch a glimpse of her saddle (bad Jennifer!).

  8. Melody Snow makes the escarramusa sidesaddles based on pictures I've sent her years ago. The saddles are really cool, and VERY comfortable. You could ride in them all day! It's a big, padded leather seat that's like sitting on an overstuffed ottoman! And when the saddle is properly fitted to the rider and horse, it is darn near IMPOSSIBLE to fall off. My own horse bucked when I tried to ride him with the sidesaddle and I stayed on just fine!

    Yes, their tack, especially the bits, is gorgeous. The workmanship on everything is just astounding! The bits are usually solid sterling silver, and often the curb chain and rein parts are all one length of chain. There was a tack shop about 1/2 mile from the bridge in Cd. Acuna that I used to go buy stuff at when I was in college. I always wanted one of those bits...

  9. Wow!!! That's me in the second picture!! Awwww memories!!! Went to the Denver National Western Rodeo since 1995 - 2011 every single year!!!
    And to the Fort Worth Stock & Rodeo since 1996-2006 i think.

    We had a blast!!

    Escaramuza Charra Las Zapatistas and Las Potrancas and Paso Del Norte from El Paso, Texas. We changed our names 3 times!!