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A dark brown Azteca horse walking in a field of flowers.The Azteca breed was the first breed developed in Mexico. Horses of Spanish blood have always be favored in Mexico and in 1972 development of a breed using Andalusian, Quarter Horse and Criollo began. Don Antonio Ariza, President of the house of Pedro Domecq worked with tenacity and patience, and managed, with the help of many other individuals, to realize the dream that Mexico have its own national breed. The Mexican Department of Agriculture granted official registry to the Azteca breed on November 4, 1982.


Don Antonio imported Spanish Andalusian horses and began to breed them at Rancho San Antonio near Texcoco in the state of Mexico. Selection for the Azteca breed began by the crossing of these Spanish Andalusian stallions with Quarter Horse mares or alternatively the crossing of Andalusians with mares of mixed Criollo blood. The Azteca may have a minimum of 3/8 to a maximum of 5/8 Andalusian or Quarter Horse blood, while the percentage of Criollo may not exceed 1/4. The breed aims at blending the qualities of the Andalusian and Quarter Horse. The result is an elegant animal, ideal for performance or pleasure riding.


Conformation of the Azteca

A black Azteca horse standing with ears perked up and halter on.One of the most important characteristics related to conformation of the Azteca is the height of the horse. At an adult age the height of the Azteca should be 14.1 to 15.2 hands in the female and 14.2 to 15.3 hands in the males. This height was established in consideration of the Azteca's intended use in Charreria.


The head is lean, the facial profile is straight or slightly convex. The size of the head is medium in the female and moderately more developed around the jaw in the male. The profile in general should be erect, the eyes full, expressive and lively. The nostrils should be full and ample, projecting mobility. The muzzle is medium size, firm and with movement. The neck of the Azteca should be wider at its base and much finer closer to the head, which should form a straight angle. These characteristics form a very well arched neck at the border of the mane and straight at the border of the lower base chest. The manes are abundant and beautiful.


The Azteca should possess well developed and conformed shoulders, which leave sufficient space between the withers. The withers should be medium and disappear smoothly over the dorsal and back, with capillary regions which should have a slant of approximately 45 degrees. The chest is deep, relatively wide, the rib system arching. The back is short, straight and strong. The rear quarters should be strong and muscular, with a wide croup and arched, strong hindquarter. They possess a beautiful tail smoothly implanted at medium height. The legs are muscular with strong joints, long and slender cannons, prominent tendons and well proportioned feet.


The coat is silky and all colors are permissible but paints, appaloosa and albino are not accepted in the breed.


Aptitudes and Abilities of the Azteca

A white Azteca horse and rider in the arena provided by Kathy Johnson.Aztecas possess beautiful paces, are easy to break and train, and respond brilliantly to the different equine school disciplines requiring suspended and elevated gaits. These hoses possess valuable aptitudes for all equine high school disciplines. The proportions of their anatomical and muscular structure, their strength and resistance, as well as their beautiful stamp, confirm that the Azteca breed is a represented figure in the official competitions of this noble sport.


The Mexican charro requires a calm horse to rope from, excel in all working ranch endeavors, and the elegance to be shown off in pleasure riding. Aztecas have shown their quality in various other events of charriera as well, and are now being used in reining and cutting events.


The Azteca, although a young and new breed, has already distinguished itself greatly in sport jumping.


The Azteca has also proven itself as a mount for the brave Rejonero (bullfighter who uses the rejon). In this the Azteca horse excels and shows its agility, gracefulness and gallantry. Their skillful and sure movements give its steady and graceful figure a strong rhythm of dancing, which is insolently beautiful.


Their temperament, lively, happy and obedient, exalts once more their physical qualities. The Azteca breed has a valuable place with the most prominent and outstanding equine breeds.


Registries and Breed Associations



Azteca Horse Association of Canada


United States

American Azteca Horse International Assoc.

2218 Jackson Blvd #3 PMB 901
Rapid City, SD 57702-3452

Azteca Horse Association of the United States
Ruben Cardenas, President
2613 Camino De Verdad
Mercedes, TX 78570
(210) 968-7610

Azteca Horse Owners Assn., Inc.



Correspondence, Donna Brown, Brownsville, TX 78520.


Hendricks, Bonnie L., International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds, Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1995.

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