Mangalarga Marchador Article and Photos Copyrighted - see credits below
The Mangalarga Marchador is possibly the most popular breed in Brazil. The breed was developed in the 1740’s ,and since that time has gained in popularity, spreading throughout Brazil.
The foundation sire of the breed was Sublime, an Alter Real stallion gifted to Gabriel Franisco Junqueira by the then Emperor of Brazil. The stallion Sublime was the descendant of two horses brought from the Portuguese breeding farm Coudelaria Alter Do Chao, during the invasion of the Iberian Peninsula by Napoleon’s troops. The stallion was crossed with Andalusian, Criollo and mostly Spanish Jennet mares. The Spanish Jennet breed was prized as a fast, smooth ambler.
The crossing of Sublime to these mares produced the first animals with the basic characteristics for which the present day Mangalarga Marchador horse is knows docility and smooth gaits, with a cadenced rhythmic gait called the marcha batida or marcha picada. These horses also had endurance. The first herd of such offspring were called Sublime horses.
The origin of the name Mangalarga comes from the hacienda that awakened interest among local ranchers who began to buy the horses. The early Mangalarga Marchador horses popularity spread since in the age of travel by horseback there was noting better than a horse possessing both endurance and such pleasant, easy-riding gaits. This comfortable ride came from the characteristic gait, the marcha, a four beat lateral gait. Unlike the Peruvian Paso, the Mangalarga exhibits no termino in its gait. An Association of Breeders was formed in 1949. The Spanish Jennet is gone, the Mangalarga is pure with no crosses.
The Mangalarga Marchador is a beautiful horse of classic Spanish conformation and charm. The gait is remarkable fast and smooth, a gait in which the horse moves its feet alternately laterally and diagonally with moments in which triple support can be verified.
If the horse is marching on level ground at a normal rhythm, the tracks of the two hind feet will cover or pass slightly beyond the tracks of the front feet.
When the horse places the feet diagonally and with moments of triple support, the gait is called the marcha batida. If the horse moves the feet laterally and separately and also has moment of triple support, it is called the marcha picada. The horse neither trots nor paces, naturally going from the smooth marching gait into a canter.
The Mangalarga Marchador is of medium structure, strong and well proportioned, with agility, vigor and soundness. The skin is fine and smooth. The coat is smooth and silky, as is the mane. This horse has an active but very docile temperament. The head is triangular (not concave) with a large, flat forehead tapering to a small fine muzzle; straight profile and large, dark eyes which are set wide apart and display much energy. The ears are proportional to the head, mobile, parallel and well set, erect, with tips turned inward. The nostrils are large, dilated and flexible.
The neck of the Mangalarga Marachador is arched and well muscled, with ideal insertion into the body. The withers are well defined, high and prominent; the chest is deep, long and muscular. The back is of medium length, straight and muscular; the loins are short and straight. If the distance from the back to the loins is of lesser or equal distance to the length of the croup, it is a sign that the horse possesses excellent conformation.
The shoulders are long and sloping and muscular with a wide range of movement. The forearms, thighs and legs on both outside and inside are muscular, with forearms and legs being long and straight, with short cannons
Mangalarga Marchador horses are outstanding in work with cattle, in sports, in functional trials performed as part of the official calendar of the breed association, or in cross country horsemanship. The breed is extremely docile and is often ridden by children. The horse has been exported to American, Italy, Spain, Germany and other Latin American countries.
All photos of the Mangalarga Marachador at work and at play are courtesy of the American Mangalarga Marachador Horse Association. All photos are copyrighted, with individual photos credits given below the photos: