Friday, March 26, 2010

Los Charros of San Miguel de Allende

Los Charros, Mexican Cowboys, are known for their expertise in horse riding and roping skills.

Like the rodeo culture in the west, "La Charreria" (the Mexican Equestrian Culture) extends beyond horses and riders. It is a national sport that includes tailored suits, elaborately adorned sombreros and handsome, hand tolled saddles. Many times there are beautifully woven serapes that have been handed down through generations in which El Charro has either attached to the saddle during his performance or worn as a cape.

The origin of La Charreria dates back to when Spain colonized Mexico and the struggle between the Spanish and the indigenous people. The Spanish had a competitive advantage during their conquest in that they had brought horses over with them. The Mexican was restricted in riding horses and any violations might have been death.

As change in the country evolved, it became necessary for the Mexican to ride; during wartime, to herd cattle and train horses. They rode bareback dressed in deer hides but eventually learned to weave serapes and make saddles. Over time, La Charreria was accepted. In 1889, the famous charro and torero (bullfighter), Ponciano Diaz, captivated audiences in Spain where he combined exhibitions of La Charreria and bullfights. Five years later, he held an exhibition in New York City and then Paris. It has since become a tradition of La Charreria to travel to foreign lands for exhibitions.

After the Mexican revolution in 1920, many horseman moved to major cities in Mexico and theses societies were formed. La Charreria became a national sport.

Charros of the future!

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