Mexican Parade Saddle

A reflection of Mexican charrería

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This saddle was made in the late 1800s and resembles that of a medieval armored horse with its skirted back. The saddle, bridle, bit, and sword were made as a set, indicating that multiple craftsmen worked together to execute a cohesive design.

The abundance of embroidered red roses on this saddle makes it especially unique. Called El Piteado, the technique used to embroider saddles is labor intensive. Cactus fiber from Maguey and Agave plants is extracted from the plant, sorted by thickness, then cautiously twisted and composed into embroidery strands. For this saddle, the fibers were then dyed red and green. The motif is drawn on the tanned leather, and then embroidered to match the drawing. 

The saddle is a reflection of Mexican charrería, a tradition that has endured since the Spanish brought horses and cattle to the Americas in the 16th century. The hacienda system of ranching required great horsemanship. Over time, ranch workers adapted unique saddle styles and riding techniques and, by the 19th century, began to organize celebrations for charros to show their skills and compete. This marked the birth of charrería. As the big ranches were broken up around 1900 and more people moved to cities, a need grew to preserve the skills and traditions of charrería. The result was the sport of charreada, the precursor to American rodeo. In addition to preserving charro skills, charreada preserves the artistry, pageantry, and camaraderie of Mexico’s ranching heritage.of the Mexian tradition of charreria.

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Mexican Parade Saddle Artifact from Austin
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