Breed Name: Mangalarga Marchador
The Mangalarga Marchador averages between 14.2 and 16 hands in height and weighs between 850 and 1100 lbs. Although grays predominate, chestnut, black, bay, buckskin, palomino and paint horses are also present.
One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the Marchador is its gait. It is remarkably fast and smooth, a gait in which the horse moves its feet alternately laterally and diagonally with moments in which triple support can be verified.
If the horse is marching on level ground at a normal rhythm, the tracks of the two hind feet will cover or pass slightly beyond the tracks of the front feet. When the horse places the feet diagonally and with moments of triple support, the gait is called marcha batida. If the horse moves the feet laterally and separately and also has moments of triple support, it is called marcha picada.
The reason for so much preoccupation with the marcha, indicated by the name of the breed is that this gait in unique in the world. The famous Spanish Jennets have died out, and the Marchador is probably the purest surviving remnant of that breed. No other breeds have been crossed into the Mangalarga Marchador. Due to the triple support it exhibits, the marcha gives a very comfortable ride with little friction. The Mangalarga Marchador neither trots nor paces, naturally going from the smooth marching gait into a wonderful canter.
The most popular and widespread horse in Brazil is the Mangalarga Marchador, which developed in 1740. Joao Francisco of Portugal settled in Brazil at the hacienda Campo Alegre, where the Marchador horses began to emerge. Francisco adopted the surname Junqueira to designate his native city. One of his twelve children, Gabriel Francisco Junqueira, the Baron of Alfenas, is credited with the expansion and development of the breed. His friend, Dom Pedro I (1798-1834), Emperor of Brazil and son of Joao IV of Portugal, gave him an Alter Real stallion named Sublime.
The stallion Sublime was the descendant of two horses brought from the breeding farm Coudelaria Alter do Chao in Portugal by Dom Joao VI during the invasion of the Iberian Peninsula by Napoleonic troops. In Brazil, Sublime was crossed with mares of the hacienda Campo Alegre: Spanish Jennets, Criollos and Andalusians. Most of the Spanish horses used at the hacienda in launching the breed were the famous Spanish Jennet, known to be a fast, smooth ambler. The offspring of Sublime produced horses with the characteristics of the present-day Mangalarga Marchador horse: docility and smooth gaits, with a cadenced rhythmic gait called the marcha.
The Mangalarga Marchados are very versatile. As with many Spanish breeds they are good cattle horses. They are known for setting the Guinness Book of World Records endurance ride of 8,694 miles in 1994. A perfect trail horse, they could also excel in other disciplines that require agility, stamina, speed and a sound mind.
Training of this breed is facilitated by its intelligence, and uses for the breed are unlimited. In work with cattle, in sports, in Brazilian functional trials, or in cross-country horsemanship, the Marchador is outstanding and is obtaining excellent results in comparison to other breeds. This breed is extremely docile and is commonly mounted by children.
In Brazil, the ELITE books recognize Mangalarga Marchador horses that were champions and who also produced champion horses. The ELITE BOOK 8 represents the top shelf. Only 66 horses have entered this book. However, the ELITE book is fairly recent in its origin and many of the great founders of the Mangalarga Marchador breed are before its creation.
Some recent famous horses:
Herdade Capricho — Son of Herdade Cadillac and Herdade Alteza (who were more significant in the Marchador history, but before the creation of the ELITE books), this striking bay stallion is an ELITE 8 champion sire.
Malibu da Santa Terezinha — ELITE 8. Born in 1982, an imposing grey stallion with a floating movement to his step, Malibu was the leading sire in Brazil for many, many years. He sired 789 Mangalarga Marchadors during a time when AI was not commonly used.
Moleque Tabatinga — ELITE 8. Moleque was a National Champion at shows in Brazil from 1980 as a young grey colt to 1986 as the Senior Champion and Champion Sire in the same year. It is his sire Tabatinga Cossaco who is one of the founders in the Tabatinga line, but again, before the ELITE books.
Seiko L.J. — ELITE 7. A blue-black National Champion stallion who stamped his progeny with his looks and often his color. Seiko was the stallion who finally put an end to Malibu’s reign as leading sire in Brazil. Carvao L.J. an ELITE 8 horse, is his sire on both sides.
Breed Association: US Mangalarga Marchador Association