Last updateFri, 15 Sep 2023 12pm


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Charros: horsemen of tremendous skill

While the North American cowboy was relegated to a series of cigarette ads at the end of the 20th century (usually shown on horseback navigating a swollen river), his Mexican counterpart, the charro, remains a celebrated national symbol. The charro horseman embodies a romantic ideal.

He is both brave and gallant, possessing an elegance in both dress and demeanor. It was once written that the charro should represent the “flowering of all the best impulses of the Mexican.”


The history of the charro is widely disputed among historians. It is generally accepted that during the late 19th century the horsemen came from dusty back-road ranches and into the streets and hearts of the urban centers. City folks not only watched the rope swinging and daredevil riding with interest, they tried it for themselves. People from all walks of life became weekend charros, spawning the immense popularity the Sunday charreada (rodeo) enjoys today.

Some trace the birth of the charro arts back to the Spanish conquistadores. During this time the Indians, under penalty of death, were forbidden to ride horses. The Spanish feared that greater mobility would result in a more successful fighting force, and left the Indians to walk, or eventually, even ride only burros.

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