Anyone who knows me knows I love horses. I love everything about horses and now that we’re on this overland journey any opportunity for saddle time or even to see horses is one that I say yes to. After all, we’re actively trying to say yes more on trip and while we’re getting better at it a lot of the yeses are answers to “Do you want another beer?”
Right now we’re staying at the legendary Overlanders Oasis in El Tule, just outside of Oaxaca. As Will and I were out strolling the streets of this little town last Saturday I smelled them before I saw them, and let me tell you that smell is ambrosia to me.
Then we spied the huge horse vans parked on the street. As we got closer I spied a soulful eye and a wavy gray mane, the hallmark of the Andalusian, or the Pura Raza as the breed is called in Spanish. As we walked a bit further I saw the sign for the horse show, taking place that day. My innards went on happy overdrive.
So I went, alone, not sure what to expect. I knew it would be more of a demonstration as opposed to a competition but I was so excited. I bought my ticket, found a seat that would give me good light for photos, and then it began.
Mexico has a long history with horses and fine horsemanship is a valued skill in this country. American Quarter Horses, Andalusians, and Thoroughbreds are the most common breeds found here, but the Azteca is Mexico’s national horse, a beautiful horse bearing all the fine characteristics of the Quarter Horse and the Andalusian. They’re truly magnificent creatures.
So I bought a beer, got my camera setting where I hoped they should be, and the show began. These are just a few of the photos I took on that beautiful afternoon.
This beautiful girl worked her Friesian horse at liberty, using nothing but dressage whips to guide him. It was one of my favorite parts of the Mexican horse show.
This man, also with Friesians, showed some impressive skill as he rode one and drove the other.
This is a classic example of the Azteca horse. Strong, proud, and oh so beautiful.
And this. This is the Marinera. While I didn’t expect to see this at a Mexican horse show as it’s more of a Peruvian tradition I was thrilled. It’s an elegant dance that symbolizes courtship.
Props are often used in la marinera and the scarf is a symbol of their connection.
At the finale, the lady and her suitor bow to each other. It’s such a beautiful thing to watch.
I loved the look of this horse as she was being prepared to work at liberty. Her handler was exceptionally skillful and gentle.
I wasn’t exactly sure what this dance was but it seemed to be Mexican version of the marinera. There were more women dancing with this horse but this woman’s smile and the eye contact she has with the horse felt perfect.
This beauty was standing right by my side of the arena and I couldn’t help but get a shot of his elaborate tack and beautiful mane.
Surprises come in many different forms and my surprise that Saturday was this Mexican horse show. One of the things I love about horses is that horse people speak a common language, a nuanced one of trust, dedication, and strength. I’m really looking forward to more horse connections as we head on down the road.