About Mangalarga Marchadors: Riding The Wind
We’ve always loved the look of Spanish horses. With the Mangalarga Marchador, you see the ideal come to life: the pride in the carriage, the uplifted forehand with the arched neck and vertical profile, the sculpted faces, the balanced conformation where the feet and the joints fit the horse’s weight and bulk, the light-stepping, floaty way of going. Compared to the other North American breeds descended from Conquistador horses, with a Mangalarga Marchador, you get the best that the Spanish heritage produced, but leaner, cleaner, faster, freer, and, of course, gaited. Nowadays, there are 350,000 of these horses in Brazil, where they are that nation’s main cattle horses, but also get used for horse sports ranging from dressage to endurance to hunter/jumper to polo. The name, “Mangalarga Marchador” translates as “long-sleeved or long-armed marcher”. The name is apt, but leaves out that “Mangalarga” also refers to one of the pivotal ranches in Brazil where these horses were cultivated. Around 1814, the Portuguese king fled Napoleon and Europe to set up anew in the then Portuguese colony of Brazil. Along with several Brazilian ranchers who governed estates as large as some American states, the king devised and executed a breeding program to create the ultimate traveling horse. He crossed the Alta Real stallions he brought from Portugal, akin to modern day Andalusians, with native Brazilian mares (descendants of Conquistador horses, including Criollos, Andalusians, Barbs, and the gaited Spanish Jennets.)
Among the foundation sires of the breed, there was a particular stallion, now remembered as “Sublime”, who especially epitomized the smooth grace, untiring heart, and Spanish elegance that the breeders sought. Sublime’s get dominated subsequent generations, so much so that these horses, the first Mangalarga Marchadors, were also known as “Sublime” horses. In the 1920’s, the stud records of the different estates were converted to a formal registry. To this day, the purity and integrity of the breed in Brazil is maintained by DNA records, by up-to-the minute genetic science, and by one of the largest, and most respected inspection programs, such that only individual horses that pass the tests for gait, morphology, and temperament can be registered. The tradition continues in the United States, by virtue of the close cooperation between the Brazilian registry and the United States Mangalarga Marchador Association (USMMA.) We had our first national tour by Brazilian inspectors in 2005. This year, Americans representing our breed registry, the USMMA, went to Brazil to begin training to become inspectors qualified to function in Brazil or the U.S.
Mangalarga Marchadors first came to the U.S. through the auspices of some Brazilian families (like the Guerra’s of Miami), who brought their own horses over in the 1990’s. Importation proceeded as the breed became known for the quantum leap in athleticism and talent that these horses provide over other trail horses and gaited breeds. At about 15H and 1100 lbs, they are larger than most South American gaited breeds. Mangalarga Marchadors demonstrate two subtle 4 beat gaits, silky smooth, and supremely energy efficient. They can gait for hours, heedless of the terrain, on supple joints made to go forever. Years ago, the Guinness Book of World Records honored the Mangalarga Marchadors for the longest endurance ride, 9000 miles criss-crossing South America on the same horses. In the United States, Mangalarga Marchadors marched in the Rose Parade in Pasadena in 2001, exhibited their exceptional intelligence and willingness for noted T-Touch trainer, Linda Tellington-Jones, gaited away at regional conferences such as the Equine Affaire in Los Angeles (2003) and the Western States Equine Expo in Sacramento (2006), and competed in the cavalry drill at the Calgary Stampede, in Canada (2006). Our own stallion, Ninja de Sao Joaquim, strutted the Spanish Walk and other dressage movements before thousands at the Fiesta of the Spanish Horse in Burbank, California in 2005. At Rancho de los Cielos, we know gait and we love the trail. Come to us to ride the Ferrari of equine all terrain vehicles, the Mangalarga Marchador.