Breed Organization Information
International Azteca Horse Association
c/o Donald M. Caskie
R. R. 2 Paris, Ontario
Canada, N3L 3E2
About the Breed
The Azteca is the National Horse of Mexico and is the first breed to be developed in Mexico. Until recently the majority of horses in Mexico were descendants of Spanish horses, such as the Galice?o, or imports from Spain or Portugal. The Spanish horse has always been favored in Mexico and the Andalusian was the foundation of the new breed.
Breeding the Azteca began in 1972 by crossing the Andalusian and American Quarter Horse, and some crosses were made between Andalusian stallions and Criollo mares. Early on, some of the leading breeders realized that systematic, scientific breeding was necessary and that the whole process would require a demanding inspection system. Allowing individual breeders to operate completely on their own produced such a variety of types of offspring that there were an insufficient number of common denominators on which to base a new horse breed.
Several considerations were foremost in the minds of the Mexican breeders when they were forming their ideal type of horse they were to call "Azteca." The horse needed to meet the needs of the charro (Mexican gentleman cowboy) who performed intricate reining moves as well as work well with cattle and other horses. The horse should follow in the tradition of the horses brought over by the Spanish Conquistadors to Mexico and should be unique and clearly identifiable as "The National Horse of Mexico."
Individual ranchers in Mexico and the Azteca Horse Research Center located at Lake Texcoco developed the phenotype of today through extensive scientific research. The overall approach was designed to produce a horse with excellent physical performance abilities including balance, good lateral movement, speed, agility endurance and power, intelligence and the desire to work with humans. It was to have an attractive overall appearance similar to some selected descendants of the horses of the Conquistadors, courage, "flash" and heart.
The first Azteca, a stallion named "Casarejo", was born in 1972 at the Centro de Reproduccion Caballar Domecq at Texcoco, Mexico. He was the result of a cross between the Spanish stallion, "Ocultado" and the Quarter Horse mare, "Americana". Since then, the breed has developed by a careful combination of carefully controlled breeding, a rigorous inspection system and ongoing scientific research on all aspects of Azteca breeding and standards. Performance, conformation, temperament and appearance criteria were evaluated by comparing the offspring of various crosses including different foundation breeds as sires and dams and various bloodlines. Each of the combinations possible from the breeding of sires and dams from the three contributing breeds (Andalusian/Lusitano, Quarter Horse, and Mexican Criollo) plus the multiple generations of Azteca Horses had to be evaluated by tracing the development of the offspring into adulthood. Bloodlines may be crossed back and forth in many combinations, as long as the resulting offspring are always six-eighths or less of any one breed. The purpose of producing this breed is to combine the qualities of the Andalusian with those of the Quarter Horse, which was also founded on Spanish blood. There has always been interplay between the expectations for the horse and the actual results of the breeding program. The ideal phenotype evolved through a careful blending of genetics, biomechanics, aesthetics and equine social psychology.
El caballo Azteca--the Azteca horse-- was developed in Mexico through the combined efforts of Casa Pedro Domecq (particularly Antonio Ariza Ca?adilla), Centro de Reproduccion Caballar Domecq, Asociacion Mexicana de Criadores de Caballos de Raza Azteca, and La Secretaria de Agricultura y Recursos Hidraulicos. These organizations have been responsible in Mexico and, until recently, in the rest of the world for maintaining breed standards and the course of the future development of the breed.
In November 1992, in Texcoco, Mexico, the International Azteca Horse Association was created to further the development of the breed on a worldwide basis. At the same time, regional affiliates were developed. For Canada, it is the Azteca Horse Association of Canada (AzHAC) and for the United States, it is the Azteca Horse Association of the United States (AzHAUS).
The worldwide Registry for Azteca horses is maintained by the Asociacion Mexicana de Criadores de Caballos de Raza Azteca (The Azteca Horse Association of Mexico) for The International Azteca Horse Association. This is the only organization approved by the developers of the breed and by the Government of Mexico to register Azteca horses and to legally use the name "Azteca". Currently, there are about a thousand (1000) Azteca horses listed with the International Azteca Horse Association, including horses residing in such places as Mexico, Central and South America, United States, Canada, and Spain.
The Azteca horse was developed in Mexico in 1972 by combining the best traits of Andalusian, Quarter Horse, and Criollo bloodlines. A phenotype was created and all Azteca horses must conform sufficiently to the phenotype. Azteca horses must not have more than three-quarters of the blood of any one of the three foundation breeds.
The Azteca is an attractive warmblood horse, found in all horse colors, only solid colors are permitted. The head is lean, elegant and aristocratic with a straight or convex profile, expressive and intelligent eyes and small, pricked ears. The neck is well muscled and slightly arched. The withers are high; the back is fairly short and straight; the croup is broad and well rounded; the chest is deep and broad and the shoulders long and sloping. The legs are well muscled and the feet are hard and well proportioned. The main and tail are long and flowing with a medium low tail set. The male Azteca stands between 15 to 16.1 hands while the mare stands between 14.3 to 16 hands.
The Azteca is a very versatile high performance horse. It excels at activities that require intelligence, spirit, agility, power, strength, elegance and style. The Azteca is accomplished at Classical riding (alta escuela, haute ecole, high school), doma vaquera, la garrocha, dressage, bull fighting (rejoneo), reining, cutting, team penning, cattle roping, polo and pleasure riding.
In November 1992, in Texcoco, Mexico, the International Azteca Horse Association was created to further the development of the Azteca horse breed on a worldwide basis. At the same time, regional affiliates were developed.
The worldwide Registry for Azteca horses is maintained by the Asociacion Mexicana de Criadores de Caballos de Raza Azteca (The Azteca Horse Association of Mexico) for The International Azteca Horse Association. This is the only organization approved by the developers of the breed and by the Government of Mexico to register Azteca horses and to legally use the name "Azteca."