Name of breed: Azteca Horse
Country of origin: Mexico
Breed origin: First developed in Mexico in 1972 from a blend of Andalusian, American Quarter Horse and Mexican Criollo bloodlines, the Azteca horse breed then spread to the United States where the American Paint Horse blood was added.
A man by the name of Antonio Ariza Canadilla was instrumental in the creation of this horse breed which is now officially recognised as the national horse of Mexico. He used imported Andalusians, crossed with Quarter Horses and Criollos and began to breed the foundation horses of the Azteca breed at Rancho San Antonio. Early on in the Azteca’s history, breeders realised the need for a unified breeding program in order to produce horses that met the required characteristics, so the Azteca Horse Research Centre was created at Lake Texcoco, and in partnership with breeders they developed the phenotype of the breed today. The first official Azteca was a stallion named Casarejo.
Distinguishing features: The three foundation breeds of the Azteca horse are the Andalusian, American Quarter Horse and Mexican Criollo, chosen to produce a breed that combined athletic ability with a good temperament and certain physical characteristics. The stallions and geldings usually stand between 15 and 16.1 hands high while the mares are slightly smaller at 14.3 to 16 hands high. Azteca’s are well-muscled horses, with a broad croup and chest as well as long, sloping shoulders. Their gaits are free and mobile, with natural collection derived from their Andalusian ancestry. Azteca horses are also found in all solid colours, although gray is the most prominent.
Modern day Azteca: Because of the breeds that make up the Azteca, they are known for their athleticism and have excelled in competition in Western riding events including reining, cutting, team penning and roping. Their natural collection (thanks to their Andalusian ancestry) also sees them do well in dressage.
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