Charreria (Mexico)

Name of sport (game)


Name in native language


Place of practice (continent, state, nation)



The subjugation of Mexico by the Spaniards meant a change in the way of life of the Meso-American peoples, as the conquerors brought with them new elements including firearms and horses.
In the second half of the 16th century and at the beginning of the 17th century, stock-breeding quickly developed in the territory of New Spain, and in the 17th century, it became an important element of the economy. In the second half of the 18th century, Mexican ranches became important centres both in the centre and in the north of the country. This development forced the use of horses for work, which over time led to the development of Mexican equestrian. As a consequence, it resulted in the need to organize horse breeding as livestock, as well as a service system, including systems for controlling this breeding, caring for animals and marking them. Cowboys, who marked the animals and shoed them with the right horseshoes, were responsible for most of this work. Often, these activities required the involvement of many people, which is why cowboys from other haciendas often came to help with these duties. The end of the joint work was an opportunity to celebrate and enjoy, hence these meetings sometimes transformed into large celebrations. At that time, they competed in horse riding, because participants were riders from other haciendas or ranches. Meetings and competition allowed to break with the monotony of everyday work. Various competitions were invented, such as capaderos (coleaderos), tusaderos and other types of horse competition.This is how the beginnings of Mexican charro looked like.

In the 18th century, in a country with such a vast territory as Mexico, hacienda and ranches increased production, moreover, joint meetings, interrupting boredom with everyday work, became an important element of the life of the community, contributing to the creation of a common identity and the development of principles of coexistence in one society. This is how the charrería tradition was created.

At first, men used clothes and accessories that came from Spain, but over time Mexican riders began to shape new habits related to the practice of Mexican riding, as well as the daily work of hacienda. Clothes were sewn from solid cowhide leather or suede because this material is more resistant to damage. People started to wear breeches. There are also silver ornaments, which are a characteristic element of clothing even today. The term charro began to be used to designate this style.

The horse riding was shaped in the same way, acquiring originality and creating a peculiar riding tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. A good example of this process is, for example, a Mexican saddle designed and constructed to be adapted to the specifics of cowboys' work in keeping cattle herds in order. Hence, there were such elements of saddle that allowed transport and use of long ropes (lasso), which cowboys used at work. Therefore, a different way of driving forced the use of unique solutions and differs from those used by the Spaniards (e.g. spurs or stirrups also have a different design). In addition, it should be noted that over time, traditional ornaments for decorating, as well as original fabrics, i.e. sarape, cincho and mantillas, made of materials and designs from different regions of the country began to be used.

At the end of the 19th century, during the historical period called Porfiriato (1877–1910), landowners extended their possessions while expanding the areas of animal husbandry. There were more and more workers dealing with cattle breeding, for whom the use of a horse in their work was very important. Among them were those who began to perform charras as a show, with a desire to make this their profession. The popularity of these shows allowed them to deal only with what they were paid for, just like travelling actors. These "commercial" performances concentrated mainly in cities, where cowboys showed their skills, acquired in everyday work in guarding cattle herds.

At the end of Porfiriato, the charro tradition ceased to exist. Horse racing, theaters, magazines and other "modern" entertainments were more popular. Charrería was close to oblivion, also due to the time of revolutionary armed struggle, when it was not practiced because of the conflict. At the end of 1921, after the end of the war, activities began to support the state in its efforts to return to Mexican customs, traditions and art. It is at this time that the National Association of Charros, A.C. is established, whose task was to create the statute and regulations that served as the basis for the organization of charrería throughout the country. The Nacional de Charros constitution meant the "revival" of the charro and charrería traditions.

From the 1920s and 1930s, the charro became one of the symbols of the Mexican image. There were, however, many misunderstandings between representatives of various charros, including those treating this custom as a commercial show, not related to the true charro tradition.

In 1933, President Abelardo L. Rodríguez institutionalize charrería as a "national sport".
"Charrería, Mexican Equestrian Tradition" was registered in the National Inventory of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mexico on March 4, 2014. This inventory is administered by the National Council for Culture and Arts and is available on the Cultural Information System website: 



There is a placed order of nine events that always start with the charros and escaramuzas horse parades.

The arenas where the charreadas take place are called “lienzos charros”. There are usually two separate areas that the lienzos take place: The first arena “manga or lienzo” is 66 yards (60 meters) by 13 yards (12 meters) and adjacent to the main arena (used for racing). The main arena called “ruedo” is round with a diameter of 44 yards (40 m) and here the main competition takes place there, the recent constructions have been totally covered in Ruedo and Lienzo, to allow the practice with special climatic environment (rain, high humidity) that make more difficult the use of the ropes.

Individual charros finish Suertes (10 particular tasks for male teams) in a specific order: cala de caballo, piales en el lienzo, colas, jineteo de toro, lazo de cabeza, pial de ruedo, jineteo de yegua, manganas a pie, manganas a caballo and paso de la muerte. Usually a group of charros from a specific city creates a team and accumulates points together, between six and 12 persons participate in each team. The points awarded in each Suerte depend on the technique of the person or team and the animal. A good charreada score is between 250 and 300 points, an excellent one scores more than 350 points. In the case of professional charrerias, there are three judges who announce the results of performances, in particular, Suerte by the microphone. Just as any sport, there are clearly defined rules for scoring points. For example, each person can participate in a maximum of three Suertes. Some parts of the competition are individual; others require teams consist of up to five players. Hundreds of charrería rules cover everything from animal assessment to charro skills.

Women teams are conformed by eigth persons, they have to follow a rutine of 12 specific movements in group, called “escaramuza charra”. The participation has to be done in less than eight minutes, and the results will depend on speed, technique, horse control, synchronization, and their equal uniform (charra or adelita suit) of the members of the team.

From 1933, charrería gained considerable popularity. When the Confederación Deportiva Mexicana was created, which initiated the establishment of the Federación Nacional de Charros. Then the organization adopted that the competition would consist of ten parts, or Suertes, which are played in the following order:

- Cala de Caballo - horse training show includes, among others gallop, trot, stopping the horse, turns, change of position walking forward and backward. Charro demonstrates his ability to control the horse at a gallop, stop on its hind legs and back. This competition requires extraordinary communication skills between horse and rider.
- Piales en el lienzo - a lasso grip on the horse's hind legs to stop him or slow down the race (not overthrow).
- Coleadero (Colas) - involves catching the bull's tail while running, putting your leg over the tail and knocking down the animal.
- Jineteo de Toros - the rider must stay on the bull's back as long as possible.
- Terna en el ruedo - demonstration of using the lasso while sitting on a horse. Two successful lasso (lazo de cabeza and pial de ruedo) throws should be made between the three charros: one with a loop around the head or horns and the other around the hind leg of the running cow so that it stays under the control of the thrower.
- Jineteo de Yeguas - staying on a brumby horse or bull until it stops.
- Manganas a pie - demonstration of using the lasso standing on the ground, then throwing the lasso on the horse's legs and stopping him. Causing a horse to fall is punished by a fine or suspension of the competitor.
- Manganas a caballo - demonstration of using the lasso when the rider is on a horse and in the last part casting the lasso on the forelegs of a speeding horse and stopping him.
- Paso de la muerte - changing a horse in a full run without using a saddle. The rider switches to another horse in full run and only keeps to the horse's mane until he stops.

rope riata charro horseshoe

An important element of charrería is Escaramuza Charra, a set of exercises performed on a horse, accompanied by rancher music. Groups of at least 8 girls / or young women dressed in Mexican style, mount in a feminine style horse (on the side); they usually appear after colas and before jineteo. Young women, adelitas or charras, perform precise techniques at high speed, demonstrating courage, riding skills, teamwork and a feminine style of riding.

The real stars of the event are horses. Most of them are Aztec or Andalusian because charro requires a horse that is not too tall, but sufficient to be able to catch the bull and horse by the tail that is fast and strong enough to keep up with the bull. The horse must be calm enough to allow the use of a rope (lasso), but it must be agile and fast at the same time. The Mexican horse is bred as the ideal horse for charro.

Participants of Charra (Las charreadas) always start with a parade during which the group's banner is presented, accompanied by la “Marcha Zacatecas” (national charro hymn). Rancher music is also performed during the march.

At the end of Chorready (charreada), at least one pair of charro and the woman participating in the show is dancing Jarabe Tapatío, traditional Mexican dance.

The charro costume is recognized as a "national costume". It varies depending on the circumstances; the most commonly used costume is Faena, there are also Media Gala, Gala and Gran Gala costumes. Las escaramuzas (Escaramuza female participants) use the costumes of Rancher and de Charra, leaving China Poblana for special occasions.

Unlike the large national charrerías, smaller events that take place in Jaltemba Bay, for example, do not always contain all of the above, probably due to the smaller number of participants ( is just a brief example, not common).


Current status

Charrería is one of the best known and most practiced sports in Mexico. It takes many different forms, from spontaneous and informal (usually in rural areas) to professionally organized in larger cities. Charrería is a great celebration of all those gathered: unique costumes, music, dance, tequila, beer and of course enormous emotions associated with the competition. Because whole families participate in this festival, the atmosphere is truly friendly. Charrería is not just a sport, it is a way to spend time together, build relationships and cultivate a Mexican identity. It is a living history resulting from experience, shared values and traditions.

Concluy el Campeonato Nacional Mexicano de Charrera 2019Concluyó el Campeonato Nacional Mexicano de Charrería 2019


Charrería always treated the horse in a special way. In ancient times he was a companion in war, and often a valuable weapon because the very presence of riders caused the escape of the opponent. So the horse was not only for work. Charrería had a special influence on the way the horse was treated because it created a special relationship between the animal and the owner or master. Each horse has different personal characteristics and in Charrería it was noticed and appreciated. So the horse began to play an important role.

The image with which the Mexican is most often associated is charro. This image is identifiable worldwide and is considered typical of Mexico, despite the cultural and ethnic diversity that characterizes the Mexican nation.
Charro is, therefore, an element building identity rooted in the historical past.
Especially since family tradition in Mexico was usually built on three pillars: sport, culture and social relations. That is why in such a model of inheritance of tradition, charro has become an important element of social and family tradition. As a consequence, charro is also an important and lasting pillar of building a social and cultural identity in a new, constantly changing reality. Charro and charra are based on the ethical and moral values of the Mexican family, that is why this traditional sport is so important, understandable and close to Mexicans.

The charreada event is complex and consists of many different elements of social and cultural significance: costumes, horses, sports skills, crafts as well as music, charro slang, sayings and specific language constructions. All this is the sum of long preparations, painstaking training sessions during which current generations share their knowledge with new ones, as it has been done from generation to generation for many years. Charreada is, therefore, a great place and a great opportunity to pass on traditions and values to new generations and all participants of the event.

On the other hand, one should not forget that charrería involves a significant number of representatives of various economic and social sectors: horse breeders and cattle breeders, producers of feed for horses and farm animals, carriers of horses and farm animals, veterinarians, blacksmiths, craftsmen of saddlery, equipment, textiles, embroideries, manufacturers of harnesses and other items for horses, music groups, traditional tailors, seamstresses, shoemakers and many other people.

The rules for de man and women competitions are stablished by the Federación Mexicana de Charrería, (National Federation of Charreria), this organization controls more than 1,300 associations, in the 32 states of Mexico and 13 states in the United States of America (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Washington), enrolls more than 23,000 people, competing in different categories for both, male and female teams: 1) dientes de leche 2) infantil “A” 3) infantil “B” 4) juvenil 5) mayor and 6) libre, each category has every year its own National Championship, in the Free (Libre) Category, the annual enrollment for Mexico is 1,200 charro teams (male) and 750 escaramuzas teams (female), including EUA teams.

charro mariachi mexican mexican hat


Federación Mexicana de Charrería A.C.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel.: + 52 (55) 5709.4838
Fax: + 52 (55) 5709.4838
Isabel La Católica Nº 108,
colonia Centro Histórico
Delegación Cuauhtémoc,
C.P. 06080, Ciudad de México
Federacin Mexicana de Charrera logo

Asociación Nacional de Charros
Address: Av. Constituyentes 500, Col. Lomas Altas, México, D.F.
Telephone number: +
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Asociación de Charros de Huichapan
Calle Francisco I. Madero SN, Barrio El Calvario, Huichapan, Estado de Hidalgo, México,
CP 42400
Boulevar Valle de San Javier No. 707 4º.piso,
Fraccionamiento Valle de San Javier Pachuca Hidalgo.
+52 771 7196649
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Asociación de Charros de Jalisco
Dr. R. Michel No.577A
Col. San Carlos
Espaldas del Parque Agua Azul,
Guadalajara, Jalisco, México
+52 33 36190315

Asociación de Charros de Polotitlán
Zotitla No. 74 Col. Abdias García Soto Delegación Cuajimalpa México D.F. CP. 05583
+52 55 58122175
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Asociación de Charros Regionales de San Juan del Río
Vicente Rivapalacio No.12 CP 76800 Col.Centro
San Juan del Río Qro.
+52 427 488 2054
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Asociación de Charros de Morelia
Av.Camelias y Virrey de Mendoza s/numero
Col. Felix Ire
Michoacán, CP.
+52 55 3333 6773
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Asociación de Charros de la Tuna Alta
Rancho la Tuna Alta, domicilio conocido Unión de San Antonio.
Jalisco, CP 68300
+52 395 7250 275
+52 477 7518 305

Asociación de Charros de la Cuenca del Papaloapan
Lienzo Charro El Tutexpecano, domicilio conocido
San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec
Oaxaca de Juárez, CP 68300
+52 287 875 1229
+52 287 875 0859
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

La Charreria en México -

Charrería en Durango –

Escuela De Charreria Ruben Baez
+52 443 137 4432 

Tradición Charra -

Escuela de charreria "Mi Cuaco"
+52 55 4482 3297
Plaza Cívica de Santo Tomas Chiconautla
55069 Meksyk 

Escuela de Charreria de Hermanos Ortega
+52 477 670 3537 

Unión de Asociaciones de Charros del Estado de Jalisco - 
Unin de Asociaciones de Charros del Estado de Jalisco

Unión de Asociaciones de charros del estado de Hidalgo -
Unin de Asociaciones de charros del estado de Hidalgo

Unión de Asociaciones de Charros del Estado de México -

Unin de Asociaciones de Charros del Estado de Mxico

Muy Charro –
+52 771 567 1875

Charrería Mi Orgullo -

Sources of information

Biblioteca virtual Federación Mexicana de Charrería -

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Cala de Caballo -
Piales -
Coleadero -
Jineteo de Toros -
Terna en el ruedo -
Jineteo de Yeguas -
Manganas a pie -
Manganas a caballo -
Paso de la muerte -