Name of breed: Mangalarga Marchador
Country of origin: Brazil
Breed origin: Mangalarga Marchadors are an Iberian breed of horse that descended from Lusitano stallions and Barb mares. The Baron of Alfenas began breeding his imported Lusitano to the mares on his farm (primarily Barbs) which resulted in a smooth-gaited, attractive horse which the baron called Sublime. He then sold some of the Sublimes to a friend who had a farm called Mangalarga. People began noticing these attractive, smooth-gaited horses and began calling them Mangalargas.
Distinguishing features: Valued for their beauty, intelligence, disposition and smooth gaits, Mangalarga Marchadors are also noted for their endurance and versatility in a number of disciplines. This breed of horse has four gaits: walk, canter and two natural, ambling gaits. The first one is the marcha batilda, where the feet move diagonally in a manner similar to dancing the fox trot. The second gait is known as the marcha picada which is a four-beat lateral gait, similar to a stepping pace. The picada, which means ‘light touch’ in Portuguese, is usually smoother and more comfortable because the movement creates very little vertical momentum. What’s important to realise is that the Mangalarga Marchador does not trot, instead it simply moves from either walk or marcha straight into a canter.
Modern day Mangalarga Marchador: There are over 350,000 Mangalarga Marchador’s registered in Brazil today, in addition to those registered abroad. Europe actually has the greatest population of this breed of horse outside Brazil.
If you are lucky enough to join us for a globetrotting adventure in Brazil, you may have the chance to ride one of these beautiful horses on your horse riding holiday.
Image credit: Summerwind Marchadors