Escaramuza will be a featured event at June's "World Series of Team Riding" at the Texas Rose Horse Park. The sidesaddle sport combines, beauty and skill with the proud history and tradition of Mexico.
Super Ride XII: International Festival of the Equestrian Arts will feature a very special all-female event, The World Escaramuza Challenge, that focuses international attention upon an equestrian tradition with deep roots in the history and culture of Mexico.
Since its introduction in 1953 (where both girls and boys participated), Escaramuza, a sport contested in sidesaddle, has grown dramatically from within the centuries-old charreria tradition of Mexico. The unique albarda saddles used in Escaramuza are related in their underlying design to sidesaddles that have evolved over many centuries in Europe and in North Africa. Escaramuza has dramatically changed Mexico's charro culture from an exclusively male dominated environment into a sport that is notably more 'family oriented'.
In 1991, Escaramuza - which draws its name from the Spanish word for skirmish - was officially recognized by the Federacion Mexicana de Charreria (FMCH), the organization founded in 1933 to govern the different charro associations that emerged in the years following the Mexican Revolution (1910 - 1920). The World Escaramuza Challenge will be conducted over two days (June 20 and 21) under the rules of the federation.
Through their active participation in battles against Mexican government forces, female soldiers were a vital force during the years of the revolution. The popular corrido (narrative folk song) "La Adelita" has been adapted in many forms. It is said to have been inspired by a Durangan woman who joined the revolutionary movement at an early stage of the conflict, and supposedly fell in love with Francisco I. Madero (1873 - 1913), a revolutionary leader - and later a martyred President of Mexico (in office from November 6, 1911 to February 19, 1913).
The venerated Adelitas, or "women of the revolution," continue to influence and inspire today's Escaramuzas.
In competition, the Escaramuza perform a structured routine of twelve (12) specific exercises, that can be performed in any order. Each exercise has predetermined value based on the level of difficulty. Each routine has a maximum score of approximately 350 points. Each presentation also includes two (2) "puntas" - with a mounted rider transitioning from a stand-still at one end of the arena into a full gallop, and then into a sliding stop. The quality of this reining movement is evaluated, and the distance of the slide measured. These points are then added to the total team score.
Escaramuza teams are composed of eight (8) riders. Teams may select the traditional full-skirted Adelita style dresses or a fitted skirt and jacket ensemble inspired by the standard charro attire. The Adelita is a longsleeved, wide-ruffled dress, tight at the waist and bodice. Hats, rebozos and other appointments must be identical in style, detail and color.
The family structure is an important and often unique component of Escaramuza. Many groups are composed of family members and close relatives. Mothers, daughters, nieces and cousins are commonplace in competition teams. Grandmothers often act as dress designers, seamstresses, mentors and role models.
The sport is beautifully profiled in the excellent PBS documentary, Escaramuza: Riding From The Heart, produced by Southern California based Pony Highway Productions.
"Working with a variety of progressive organizations, event organizers, HRTV and our partners at SportsQuest International, our aim is to bring Escaramuza and the other team oriented disciplines to the forefront in much the same manner that the PBR tour has brought bull riding out of the confines of the American rodeo and created its own unique identity within the consciousness of sports fans in the United States and internationally. From humble beginnings, this too will grow..." says Super Ride Executive Director Gary Bonner. "This is a sport that beautifully showcases horsemanship, teamwork and family. It richly deserves a place on the international stage".
"The Super Ride Organizing Committee is to be applauded for its willingness to try new things, and to reach out to many different cultures", says Cynthia McMillian, a California based educator. "I am delighted to learn that highlights of this event will be broadcast nationally in the United States and other countries. This is a BIG step forward for Escaramuza!"
Scheduled to judge the World Escaramuza Challenge is the distinguished equestrienne, Araceli Ortega. Currently the FMCH's National Coordinator for Escaramuza in the United States, Ms. Ortega has been active in the sport for many years. As a rider, she participated on teams that won state and regional championships and represented the United States internationally at the prestigious Congreso Nacional Charro in Mexico. Through her riding school in Southern California, she has shared her passion for Escaramuza with many girls. Prior to her appointment as the National Coordinator, she worked for over 15 years as an FMCH certified judge, traveling to competitions in all areas of the country. She continues to train and help teams throughout the US. Currently residing in San Diego, California she and her daughter, Isabella, remain active members of Las Golondrinas, who perform many cultural exhibitions promoting Charreria and Escaramuza.
Highlights of Super Ride XII: International Festival of the Equestrian Arts will be included in a special edition of "With Equestrian Tact: The International Video Magazine of the Equestrian Sports" licensed in North America to HRTV.
Super Ride XII: International Festival of the Equestrian Arts will be held June 17 - 21 at the Texas Rose Horse Park, near Lindale, TX (USA). The City of Lindale and the Lindale Area Chamber of Commerce are the event's principal sponsors. Entries close on Friday, May 30.
SportsQuest International, LLC is a privately held multimedia production company specializing in the development and promotion of sports related programming that presents positive, informationally rich themes. Developers and Producers of "With Equestrian Tact...", the company specializes in the coverage and documentation of national and international level equestrian events.
HRTV, The Network for Horse Sports, is a television-based multimedia network dedicated to equine sports. HRTV's programming features horseracing from top U.S. and international racetracks, as well as a wide range of world-class English and Western horse competitions, news, original programming and award-winning documentaries covering the world of horse sports. The live stream of HRTV is available on a subscription basis to high-speed Internet users worldwide at http://www.hrtv.com. In the U.S., the HRTV television network is available via telco, cable and satellite in over 19 million homes.
World Escaramuza Challenge 2014 Prize List (incl. Entry form):