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March 26, 2019 7 min read

The Indians, during the time of the Colony, in almost everything they did were despised, humiliated and judged with rigidity, therefore being the horse a very useful animal in the conquest, they had great esteem and it was not easy to allow the newly conquered, had them, even to tame them, because it was feared that they would discover one of their key secrets in the struggle for the conquest and defeat them.
One of the first authorizations known - because it exists in writing - was granted by the Marquis of Guadalcazar Don Diego Fernandez de Cordova, who gave authorization by order of Viceroy Luis de Tovar Godinez to the Jesuit Father Gabriel de Tapia - procurator of the Society of Jesus - so that 22 Indians, to ride on horseback, and thus be able to care for and graze more than 100,000 head of small cattle belonging to the Hacienda de Santa Lucia, a subsidiary of the Hacienda de San Javier in the district of Pachuca - now the State of Hidalgo -. This happened on November 16, 1619, in the first half of the XVII century...
Already in 1555, second half of the XVI century, the second Viceroy of New Spain, Don Luis de Velasco, had put into use a saddle different from the one used by the Spaniards; thus the first Mexican saddles and the first brakes of a different style, with their own characteristics for the cowboy needs of New Spain.
The Otomí caciques, Nicolás Montañéz; Fernando de Tapia and the instructor Fray Pedro Barrientos, contributed a lot to the foundation of the cacharrería. (Years 1531 to 1555). By that time the saintly man Sebastián de Aparicio, acquired the Careaga hacienda, - between Azcapotzalco and Tlalnepantla, in the State of Mexico -, where he dedicated himself to agriculture and cattle raising, teaching the natives who showed no interest in agriculture a new activity; the taming of cattle and later the taming of horses, even though it was forbidden to do so, because its use was reserved only to the conquerors. Thus arose this new trade that later spread flourishing from the Central Table, to all the confines of the Viceroyalty with the name of Charreria. This exemplary and virtuous man at the age of 71 left the civil activity donating his properties to the convent of Santa Clara in the State of Mexico.
Thus was born the charrería in the haciendas of the states of Hidalgo, - cradle of the Charrería -, Puebla and State of Mexico, extending later throughout the New Spain and flourishing in the Viceroyalty of New Galicia, - current State of Jalisco and its surroundings-.
Subsequently and little by little, Charreria grew, as the use of horses became widespread among the inhabitants of our country, where the landowners and their trusted servants showed off their expertise and skill in handling the animals, consummating useful and valuable maneuvers with courage, bravery and expertise.
In 1880 the professional Charrería had its origin, it was then when the famous "Charro Ponciano" appeared, whose feats we recognize through corridos and songs.
His name was Ponciano Díaz, originally from the Hacienda de Atenco, in the State of Hidalgo - the first cattle ranch that was established in America - he gave great impulse and increase to the Charrería, turning it into a spectacle of bravery and skill worthy of admiration. He combined Charreria with bullfighting, being the first to execute the luck of banderillas on horseback, invented by Ignacio Gadea, another Mexican charro, who belonged to the team of Don Ponciano Diaz, along with Agustin and Vicente Oropeza, Celso Gonzalez, Vicente Conde and Manuel Gonzalez Aragon, pioneers of the current Charreria with whom he went to Spain in 1889, to give an exhibition of Charreria and Bullfighting in the Mexican style.
In 1894 a group of 12 Charros led by Vicente Oropeza met in Monterrey and went to New York for the first time and toured several places in that country with great success. The North Americans gave Vicente Oropeza the title of Champion of Lazo in the world, surprised by the mastery and dexterity with which he floreada and lazaba.
In 1900 there was another expedition of charros to Paris, promoting the art of Cacharrería, who later traveled to Europe with other groups of charros, who returned happy and glorious by the acceptance of what they exhibited.
From then to date, there have been many trips abroad taking this immortal tradition and art. Most of them to countries where there is some tradition related to the use of the horse, among the countries that stand out are: Argentina, Colombia; Venezuela, Chile; United States, Canada, Spain, France and Portugal.
Charrería has been the subject of poets, painters, musicians, historians, artisans and people of recognized culture; all of them lovers of our traditions and roots.
Charrería on the other hand is related to tailoring, hat making, silverware, shoe making, fustería, saddlery, tannery, manufacture of sarapes, elaboration of reatas, ironwork, embroidery and works in pita. So, going into the subject of Charreria, it is interesting even to take it as a topic for a cultural program, at school level because it is a very important historical value.
Charreria was declared "National Sport" by the President of the Republic Don Manuel Avila Camacho, and instituted on September 14 as "Charro Day".
Therefore, it should be clear that Charreria was born in the countryside and regulated in the city, with the first association emerging in Mexico City, with the name "La Nacional" on June 4, 1921. Subsequently, on April 29, 1923, the second association of the Republic with the name of "Club Nacional de Charros Potosinos", now Potosina de Charros in the capital of the State of San Luis Potosi and on August 8, 1923, in Toluca, State of Mexico, the third association of charros in the state of Mexico.
On December 16, 1933 the National Federation of Charros was founded, which was given the double and fruitful task of bringing together all the associations of charros in the country, to organize competitions and develop a common regulation that will unify criteria in the practice of this national sport.
The practice of Charreria is divided into 10 suertes, so called because the success of the execution will depend largely on the will of the beast with which they will be executed, because although there is enough experience, sometimes the animal does not lend itself and these executions are not performed with the expected brilliance and success.
The sport of Charreria is catalogued as one of the most complete because it is practiced outdoors and in it all the muscles of the body are activated at the beginning of the movement of the horse, or when applying the force of power to power with the animals that are being subjected.
The Charros do not receive a salary for acting, although they have to travel great distances to do so, and the cooperation that the public gives to witness a charreada, partially subsidizes the expenses of the same, being that the balance is paid by the members of the team or sometimes the entire association. Therein also lies the nobility of the sport, because they always risk their integrity, from the beginning of their relationship with the horse, who has no word of honor for anything, especially when it comes to temperament. For which it is said that, at the moment of putting the foot in the first stirrup, the most important step to reach heaven is touched, thus shortening the distance between this world and eternity.
It is the only sport in which they can be left to owe points for not executing the suertes well, so that your result could be 0 for not executing the luck, minus the points that accumulate negative as a penalty for doing it also wrong.
Every year competitions are run between the State teams to eliminate each other and have the right to compete in the National Congress, where they will be eliminated among all the teams of the Republic, to select the best teams of the country. Both in the State and National Congresses.
The National Charreria Congresses are highly requested by the governments of the main States, due to the influx of tourism that they generate and the diffusion that is given to an important tradition.
Charreria is considered an Army reserve in the cavalry branch, so in addition to the sporting discipline, there is an obligation to observe certain additional rules to the sport.
In Charreria everything is regulated, even the way to dress, so it is convenient to read something related to the same indicated in the rules of competitions. To dress appropriately, we must keep in mind that the appropriate colors in the practice of Charreria, must be serious colors, are eliminated - definitely - those that are flashy. Never should be seen in Charreria, all light dyes that denigrate or call into question the virility of the wearer.
Currently, the decorations of the jackets should be sober and tasteful, because in these times the simplest is the most modern, except for the suits and pants "cachiruleados" or decorated in meticulous and handmade combination of suede cut with great skill and care, which is a valuable handicraft.
The shirt, when worn with a suit must be clear, Charro style, with bone buttons in the shape of small elongated bobbins, which are called "Tarugos", named after the prismatic pieces of wood that were used in some old floors.
The tie must be in the shape of bows and in serious colors, being red the only color allowed; because it is cheerful and combines with everything.
The shoes must be in one piece and have a flat spurred heel. Browns in their different shades, and grays (the latter are more difficult to combine) using blacks only with black suits, or very dark and preferably when not needed to ride.
To make a long story short, I will only remind you that there are currently five outfits regulated by the Federation, these are: Faenas, Media Gala, Attire Gala, Grand Gala and Etiquette (the latter two are for use in special ceremonies or evening parties)
The least that should be used by those who wish to or practice Charreria, is the Faena suit. This consists of a plain felt or Palma hat, a pachuqueño style shirt with a short or tight collar, military style, charro style trousers, even if they are unadorned, charro style boots, a bow tie in a serious color, spurs and chaps.
In other times there were not so many scruples in the use of charro attire because these activities were developed only in the field, but now the Charro must present himself dressed as best as possible, that is to say with the greatest property, thus preserving the tradition and a uniform personality of category and good taste. And, in this should be careful, because we often see some singers, artists and mariachis, wearing charro costumes that denigrate the Charrería; also use long hair, which is also prohibited by the rules of Charrería, for being anti aesthetic, unhygienic and low personality.

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