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El Caballo Azteca Breed Description

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Breed Organization

Western Horseman

Native Country
Mexico/United States of America

Other Names

Adult Height
14.2 to 16h

Adult Weight

General Description

Head: Average length, rectangular shape, preferably straight nasal profile though subconvex and subconcave are accepted (not accepted are convex and concave or heavily dished profiles). The head is fine and lean, dry or scarce in flesh with well defined bones and profiles beneath the skin. Heavy heads are not desirable. The ears are medium size, mobile and well placed. The ideal separation between the ears is of approximately the same length of the ear. A front view of the ears displays some perfect arcs formed by the outer edges, and the inner edge shows a sharp neckline near the apex or tip. A profile view shows a light curve from front to rear. Neither small, large, narrow, close together, semi-mobile, bent, open nor wing ears are accepted. The eyes are large, expressive, lively and keen with the placement well down from the ears. They are black or dark brown, triangular in shape, with no sclera visible. Horses with small, pig, bulging or colorless eyes are not accepted. The forehead should be broad so that eyes and ears are well separated from each other. The profile should be be straight or slightly convex or concave. The forelock springs from between the ears and is formed by a lock of long, fine, silky hair with a cuneiform implant. The muzzle is medium-sized with thin, firm, mobile lips. The chin should be firm and well defined. It should not be round but should form a quasi-straight angle at its tip. The nostrils are oval in shape, mobile and wide so the horse can inhale the air needed for it to carry out its function satisfactorily. Neither round nostrils that imply an Arabic influence, nor long nostrils implying too b a Spanish influence are desirable. The jaw is moderately developed and should have enough separation so that you can fit a closed fist in between. It should be b, well defined, with the jaw or plump cheek more developed in full male horses. The large jaw of the Quarter Horse and the small jaw of the Spanish horse is not desirable.
Neck: The neck should have a broad base where joined with the trunk and should be much finer closer to the point of join with the head. It should be medium in length, with a mild crest or accumulation of slight fat at the mane's region, slightly arched at its upper edge and with a slight inflection around the third and fourth cervical vertebra. The profile of the underside should be straight. It is adorned with a fine, abundant, silky mane, medium to long in length. It is smoothly joined with the withers at the upper border and shows perfect union with the trunk, revealing the armpit and chest. Horses with thick or short necks, or with an excess of fat or fallen at the crest, are not accepted.
Withers: The withers should be broad, slightly muscled, well defined and sloping gently into the back. Manes frequently cover a large part of the withers. Horses with high withers are not desired since this is a feature of Thoroughbred horses. Flat, low or round withers are not accepted as these are not useful for holding a saddle in place.
Shoulders: Shoulders should be set well apart, forming a 45 degree angle at the join with the shoulder blades to allow for proper placement of the forelegs resulting in increased security in any situation.
Chest: The chest should be fairly broad and well muscled. Pigeon breasted and very narrow chests are not acceptable.
Back, Ribs, Girth, Belly and Loins: The back is straight, short and b, the ribs are arched, the girth is deep and full, the belly is medium, and the loins are full.
Croup and Tail: The croup joins smoothly into the back and is well muscled, broad and b showing distinct division. Tail insertion is medium to low, and is abundant with long, fine silky hair.
Limbs and Hooves:Limbs have muscular upper parts, slender medium to long cannons, riding pasterns (45 degrees), and hooves that are hard and well proportioned.
Coat: Coat is silky with all colors allowed except pinto, paint, appaloosa and albino. Abundant mane and tail from medium to long in length.
Height: Males: 15.0 to 16.1 hands, Females: 14.3 to 16.0 hands
Movement Fast, strong, graceful, agile, possessing slightly elevated action, excellent tracking and ease of hindquarter engagement and collection. The harsh desert environment ensured that only the strongest and keenest horse survived, and it was responsible for many of the physical characteristics distinguishing the breed to this day.


Azteca--the Azteca horse-- was developed in Mexico in 1972 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. Aztecas are bred to a phenotype using very carefully controlled crosses among Andalusians, Quarter Horses and Criollos. The Association and the Government of Mexico have done considerable scientific research to develop this phenotype and to determine the main characteristics that each of the contributing breeds bring to produce the phenotype.

The Azteca is now the National Horse of Mexico.


Noble, intelligent, docile, willing, joyful, with appreciable cowsense.


Because of the breeds that make up the Azteca, they are known for their athleticism. They have been seen in competition in western riding events such as reining, cutting, team penning and roping, as well as English riding events such as dressage and other events such as polo and bullfighting. They are also used for pleasure riding.


Due to the nature of different breeds involved there is no specific health information available.

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