Thanks to J for sending this in.

The best way I can describe this video: to my eye, the riding is a blending of dressage, reining, and cutting.  Imagine cantering in a 10 M (not a typo) circle with no reins and full collection, with any step off the circle immediately noticeable.  Throw in some spectacular rollbacks right back onto the 10M canter circle, and you’ll see why I think it’s worth watching.  When evaluating the horse’s carriage, remember this is not dressage as we know it.  What do you think?

Jesus Morales.  I don’t know if the voice over announces the horse’s name, can someone translate for us?

The first video is the flashiest in some ways, as it’s a performance.

The second video is a working ride, during daylight: you can see the movement more easily.  Less flash, a steadier build to an impressive finale.

13 thoughts on “Garotcha

  1. Most of the horses used for this work are breeds built to carry their heads up and in like that. It is technically behind the vertical but as you can see the horse isn’t impaired by it. He has a high-set neck and is probably suppler than most through the poll. Andalusians and Lusitanos (and a lot of fancy carriage breeds) are built so they can carry their heads that way and still breathe.
    Not sure why they would want that. Maybe to keep the eye above the bull? Or it just looks cool? Also, it is easier for a horse to maintain that kind of collection with the nose way in- a horse won’t step ahead of his nose, a trainer once explained to me. So you only want the neck down and head out if you want a long stride.
    Fascinating videos, thanks for posting them!

  2. The horse’s name is Alcon, I think, or Argon. Amazing work (although I agree with the concern about the vertical) and the announcer is talking about Don Jesus’ work as an artist with his horse, bringing back the spirit of the campo, or ranch. My spanish is not good enough to get much more… Too many technical terms.

  3. All I can think of is myself trying this and being impaled by the pole!

    It’s an amazing ride in terms of what he is doing with the pole and no hands, but I don’t like where the horse’s head is during the collected work. Seems completely behind the vertical to me, most of the time, for a fairly long time. Looks magnificent when he’s stretched out fully near the end.

      1. Boy, I was freaked out there: I put up a video of a horse behind the vertical?? Yup, I did. The walk work he’s totally cranked and behind the vertical. Grrrrrr.

        Watching the canter, to my eye, he seems on the vertical, and at the hand gallop slightly ahead of the vertical? (Doesn’t mean I’m right!) Despite what it looks like to me, he was definitely too cranked for my taste, at all gaits. 🙂

        Honestly, my favorite video is the one in the comments section that Jackie B added. Beautiful. Much better horsemanship than the ones I found. I think it’s the same guy…

    1. Glad you all liked the video I posted. The person who posted it to YouTube has several other videos (some from the same event) I think you will also enjoy. There’s a video of a black Lusitano stallion that I also drool over.

      I have another bookmarked video showing amazing equestrian skills, but I hesitate to share it. Why? It’s bull fighting. Probably not a spoiler to tell you the bull dies and it’s a bit bloody. But the horse is simply stunning. Canter pirouettes inches ahead of the charging bull! Jane – your call, since it’s your blog. Do you want to see it?

      (note – I am ambivalent about bull fighting. On the one hand it’s not humane. On the other hand it’s a traditional sport and if it were banned that breed of cattle would become extinct quickly. There’s no entirely good choice there.)

      1. Hmmm. I’m not a fan of bull fighting. I love the bullfighters who do acrobatics to get out of the way, that seems a much more humane form of proving your skills. Horses, people, and bulls get gruesomely killed in the traditional version. However, I also have seen some videos of horses in bullfights that are *amazing*.

        I think I’d rather leave it? People can look it up for themselves if they like? Readers, would you like JackieB to post the link in the comments (not the video pls, just the link) We alternate between autocracy and democracy here. 😉

  4. I love the 2nd video. I’ve had it bookmarked for a while now. No hands! Awesome! (Though I wonder if his head his cranked back to much, looks a bit extreme to me. But I’m not a dressage person, so not a competent judge.) I don’t remember the horse’s name but I recall he’s a Hispano-Arab.

    Here is a video of Working Equitation. This is what I wish I could do – it’s like trail and dressage with a bit of games for good measure. Extra bonus – in most vids of this sport they are riding in bull-fighting saddles. Oh I covet one of those! Enjoy!

    1. I LOVE this video, thank you for sharing it. That’s my kind of sport! That horse was having fun, definitely not cranked, and moving beautifully. If I had to label it, I’d call it the Extreme Dressage Horse Race. (A take off of Craig Cameron’s Extreme Cowboy Race, which I confess, I watch with envy.)
      I too felt the horse’s head was a little cranked in the videos I posted, even though it wasn’t behind the vertical.

      I’m assuming the reins were hooked onto the saddle, as he rides hands free…

      Any upper level dressage riders want to comment?

      1. I’ve watched the video many times. I think the reins are attached to his belt. (kids and Jane – do not try this at home!) Made sense to me – he could communicate some by moving his body.

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