Mangalarga Marchador breed information
Mangalarga Marchador horse general information
COLORGray is prominent, but chestnuts, blacks, bays, buckskins, duns, palominos and pintos are also represented. Albinos, cremellos and perlinos are not allowed to be registered.
SIZEBetween 14.2 and 16 hands with most horses averaging 15 hands.
WEIGHTBetween 850 and 1100 pounds.
ORIGINIberian Peninsula and Brasil.
USESIn North America, the Marchador is being used as a ranch “cow” horse and as a trail horse. It is competing or training in endurance and long distance riding, dressage, reining, team penning, extreme trail classes, eventing, mounted archery and mounted shooting.
TEMPRERAMENTThe Marchador is bred to be a working horse and as such, they are smart and quick, but also focused on the job at hand and sensible.
Mangalarga Marchador description
The Mangalarga Marchador is a beautiful horse of classic Spanish conformation and charm.
The general appearance of the Mangalarga Marchador is characterized by medium structure, strong and well proportioned, with agility, vigor and soundness. The breed is light with fine, smooth skin. This horse has an active, but docile temperament.
The legs are muscular on both the outside and the inside, strong, long and straight, with short cannons. They have strong tough hooves and do well “barefoot” in many terrains.
The Head and Neck
The head is triangular (not concave) with a large, flat forehead tapering to a small, fine muzzle: straight profile. Large, soft, dark eyes which are set wide apart and extremely vivacious. The ears are proportional to the head, mobile, parallel and well set – erect, with the tips turned inward.
The neck, arched and well muscled, is in proportion to the head, with ideal insertion into the body. Withers are well defined, high and prominent, with good insertion into the neck and back.
The Chest and Back
The chest is deep, long and muscular and not prominent; the back is of medium length, straight and muscular; the loins are short, straight and well proportioned; 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 hindquarters are symmetrical, well proportioned, and muscular; the croup is slightly sloping and long. The tail is set at a medium height, with a short, fine dock pointed down, but slightly raised when the animal moves, very elevated when excited.
Mangalarga Marchador history
In 1807 Napoleon invaded Portugal, forcing Portugal’s Royal Family to flee to the Portuguese colony of Brazil. They took their best horses with them from the Royal Alter Stud Farm. Napoleon was after horses for his army. One young stallion named “Sublime” went to the Baron of Alfenas, owner of the Brazilian breeding farm, Campo Alegre. The stallion was bred to local gaited mares of Spanish Jennet and Barb blood and produced offspring with a smooth rhythmic gait.
The horses, all descendents of Iberian imported stock, were selectively bred in Brazil for over 200 years. In 1949, the first breed association was formed in Brazil to promote the breed, the ABCCMM.
The first Marchadors arrived in the US in the early 1990’s with Brasilian families moving to Florida. More importation occurred during 2001-2006 providing much of the foundation breeding stock that is in North America today. In 2005, the US Mangalarga Marchador Association (USMMA) was founded to provide a registry and to ensure the quality of the breed.
Mangalarga Marchador fun facts
The Mangalarga Marchador’s two special gaits are “marcha picada” and ‘marcha batida”. Both are four beat gaits and provide moments of triple hoof support. The picada is a lateral gait and the batida is diagonal. Personal preference and riding terrain determine which one is better. The Marchadors all possess a wonderful canter, which does not disturb their natural marcha.
In Portuguese, picada stands for a light touch and of the two marchas, the marcha picada is a bit smoother. It is a broken pace and therefore creates little vertical movement. The gait can be sustained for long periods of time, allowing the rider hours of enjoyable riding with little discomfort. The timing of footfalls is similar to the paso llano of the Peruvian Paso Horse.
In Portuguese, Batida (BA CHEE DA) means to hit and describes the gait considered to be a broken trot. This gait, unlike a trot, shows very little suspension (all the legs in the air) as the horses are always in contact with the ground. This creates stability and smoothness. The longer and more frequent the moments of triple hooves support are, the more comfortable the gait will be. On flat ground, performing the batida at a normal speed, the hind foot overreaches the track of the forefoot on the same side, adding to the smoothness of the ride.
In Brazil, all Marchador horses must undergo an inspection by the ABCCMM breed inspectors to be approved for permanent registration and breeding, a process similar to PRE Andalusian horses and European warmbloods.
The U.S. Mangalarga Marchador Association is dedicated to maintaining the breed’s purity and high standards. We invited the ABCCMM’s inspectors (trained as vets and judges) to travel the U.S. to inspect our U.S.-born Marchadors. This was the first inspection ever performed outside of Brazil! Since that first visit in 2005, there has been an inspection again in 2008 and one planned for 2010.
Horses must be three years old or older and are inspected for conformation, gait and temperament. Approved horses are branded with the horseshoe M brand of the ABCCMM.