What is Mexican charreria and how important is it?

Charreria is an art and discipline that arose from equestrian activities and cattle raising traditions. The state of Hidalgo is considered "the cradle of charreria".

What is Mexican charreria and how important is it?
Charrería of Mexico for the world. Photo by Edgar Moran / Unsplash

Charrería is the practice of horseback riding in the national style and the various forms of jaripeo. It is also one of the most representative Mexican traditions of culture; it exalts the courage, fearlessness, and manliness of the charro; the brio and stamina of the horse, framed in a feast of music and color.

All the charro exercises that are practiced today had their origin in the countryside, with the tasks of domestication and breeding of cattle; that is to say, they were developed with livestock, which required the skill and bravery of the man of the field to perform the work proper to the trade.

Charreria was catalogued as a sport, thanks to the Agrarian Reform at the beginning of the 20th century. The main protagonists and precursors of Charrería were the landowners who migrated to Mexico City and Guadalajara, consolidating large associations to maintain the tradition and popularity; the most important ones are the Asociación de Charros de Jalisco A.C., Asociación de Charros de Morelia A.C. and Asociación de Charros Regionales de La Villa A.C.

Organized Charrería is still in force in Mexico and its activities are presented in different Lienzos or Rodeos located in Mexico City and in the interior of the Republic, in which training sessions for public competitions or charreadas are held, allowing spectators to admire the skill of the show in 9 Suertes ("9 skills").

The 9 suertes are divided into the following performances: the Calada de Caballos, Piales en el Lienzo, Coleadero, Jineteo del Toro, la Faena de la Terna en el Ruedo, Jineteo de Yegua, Manganas a Pie, Manganas a Caballo, Paso de la Muerte.

Charreria is an art and discipline that arose from equestrian activities and cattle raising traditions. The state of Hidalgo is considered "the cradle of charreria".

It is worth mentioning that the character of a charro or horseman is his traditional clothing with iconic wide-brimmed hats such as the Andaluz, "De piloncillo" and 4 Pedradas; chaps, one-piece charro booty, piteados, openwork or chiseled belts, and the pachuqueña.

The typical costumes are divided into Faena, Media Gala, Gala, and Etiqueta, which are accompanied by the reatas; the best is originally from San Miguel Cuautitlan, Jalisco, and are made of lechuguilla and ixtle (maguey fiber). The horse is characteristic of this sport and the most used breeds are the Criollo and the Cuarto de Milla, the saddle used is the Albarda.

Mexican Charrería, Intangible Heritage of Humanity: UNESCO
Mexican Charrería, Intangible Heritage of Humanity: UNESCO

The woman also participates in this sport and is called Escaramuza. Their clothing is genuine, as it is characterized in 3 classes: the Adelita, China Poblana, and Charra de Etiqueta (suede garments) and consists of a shawl in "X" or long, charro hat of 4 stones, "calzonera" and one-piece boots. For all kinds of events, the classic evolution of the Mexican woman is composed of a blouse, skirt (beaver or skalgarejo), shoes, shawl, bottom, and boots. The accessories used are necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. The hairstyle should be a low chongo or two braids and a hat should be worn.

One of the antecedents of the charro costume was the clothing of the "chinacos" (guerrillas who fought against the American troops in the War of Intervention of 1847) and later there was a mixture between the typical Mexican costume and the English riding costume during the times of Maximilian. The first charro was Ponciano Díaz Salinas, cousin of Porfirio Díaz.

The charro's suertes

To talk about the "Suertes" in charreria is to talk about a charreada, where you can see the development of the 9 suertes that are considered competition.

Píales en el lienzo

A stroke of luck in which a horseman throws his reata or lasso at the legs of a mare in the middle of a race to stop her pace.


Consists of following and lowering a steer over a maximum distance of 60 meters.


A charro troop in which the woman participates actively with a set of equestrian exercises performed at a gallop by a group of eight members, dressed as charras or adelitas.

Jineteada de toro

It consists of removing the bravery from a bull by riding him until he does not stand up anymore.

Terna en el ruedo

A set of three bulls enter the ring to dominate a bull with their ropes tied one by the head and the other by the legs, to knock it down.

Jineteada de mare

It consists of taming the mare by riding her until she no longer gets up. This is a very lucid and very popular event and provokes a lot of noise from the public.

Manganas a pie

It is to execute the art of the floreo de reata, lassoing the mare's legs running around the ring, and finishing by knocking her down.

Manganas a Caballo

Floreo de reata while the handler is mounted on his horse and knocks down the saddle head.

Paso de la Muerte

It is characterized by pulling the sighs of the public and jumping from a tame horse to a brute mare, all this running around the ring.

El Jarabe Tapatío

At the end of the charra fiesta, the jarabe tapatío is a sample of the original flavor of a charreada, it is not a kind of skill, but it does tell us of a fiesta that culminates with the participation of all.

Charrería clothing

Charrería has distinguished itself by preserving the costumes of its participants; it is one of the pillars of tradition. To dress as a charro is to dress as a Mexican. In the current charro costume there are 4 types:

Traje de faena is the most usual for all competitions.

Traje de media gala is more ornate, however, it is also used for competitions.

Traje de gala can be worn on horseback, but it is not used for the execution of tasks.

Traje de gran gala o etiqueta is the most elegant of all, it is used on very special occasions but never on horseback.

Families are immersed in this celebration generation after generation, charrería is an inherited discipline. Learn more about charreria and be sure to attend the events that are being organized in Mexico.