History of Horses Horse Riding

What is Doma Vaquera riding?

Doma Vaquera is a traditional style of riding and horsemanship originating from Spain, closely associated with the work of cattle herders (vaqueros).

It is distinct from the more internationally known discipline of classical dressage, with its own unique style, equipment, and history.

Doma Vaquera has its roots in the practices of Spanish cattle herders.

It developed over centuries as a practical method of riding for managing cattle, particularly in the rural areas of Spain.

At its core, Doma Vaquera is characterised by its emphasis on manoeuvrers specifically designed for cattle work.

Its repertoire includes an array of techniques that enable riders to perform quick turns, execute rapid starts and stops, and navigate through tight spaces with precision.

The riding style, without any superfluous movements, reflects the true essence of working closely with livestock.

The innate efficiency and directness of Doma Vaquera highlight its practicality.

It beautifully combines the artistry of horsemanship with the demands of everyday ranch work.

Riding a horse in this style requires both skill and intuition, as riders must strike a harmonious balance between guiding the horse and responding to the needs of the herd.

Doma Vaquera is not just a utilitarian method of managing cattle, but also a living testament to the deep-rooted connection between humans and animals.

It showcases the intrinsic bond established between riders and their horses, as they work together as a symbiotic team to achieve common goals.

  1. Horse breeds: While Doma Vaquera can be practised with various horse breeds, it’s traditionally associated with the Andalusian (Pura Raza Española) and Portuguese Lusitano horses. These breeds are valued for their agility, stamina, and temperament.
  2. Tack and attire: The tack used in Doma Vaquera is specific to the discipline. The saddle, known as a “vaquera saddle” is designed to offer security and comfort over long hours of work. Riders typically wear traditional Spanish attire, which includes a wide-brimmed hat, a short jacket, and tight trousers. Women wear the same attired, but wear riding skirts instead of trousers.
  3. Competitions and exhibitions: Doma Vaquera is not only a practical riding style but also a competitive sport. Competitions involve a series of exercises that demonstrate the horse’s agility, obedience, and the rider’s skill. These include circling cattle, performing various gaits and transitions, and executing precise movements.
  4. Cultural significance: Doma Vaquera is an important part of Spanish cultural heritage, particularly in regions with strong equestrian traditions. It reflects the history and lifestyle of rural Spain and is celebrated in festivals and equestrian shows.
  5. Training philosophy: Like other equestrian disciplines, Doma Vaquera requires a harmonious relationship between horse and rider. Training emphasises respect for the horse, patience, and a deep understanding of equine behaviour. It’s closely related to Alta Escuela.

Doma Vaquera continues to be a vibrant and respected tradition in Spain, celebrated for its historical significance, practicality, and the skill it demands from both horse and rider.

It offers a different perspective on horsemanship compared to more widely known disciplines like classical dressage or show jumping, highlighting the diversity within the equestrian world.

The Feria del Caballo in Jerez, Spain, is a big festival celebrating horses and Doma Vaquera.

Many riders and horses attend dressed up in traditional garb.

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