Mangalarga Marchadores - Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Mangalarga Marchador?
Marchadors are a 200 year old breed, and the National Horse Breed of Brazil. The Mangalarga Marchador is descended from the Alter Real (strain of Lusitano) of the Portugese Royal Stables and gaited Spanish mares.
In Brazil, Mangalarga Marchadors must be inspected both in hand and riding to evaluate the quality before approving the horse for permanent registration and breeding.
Is the Mangalarga Marchador a big horse or a small horse?
The Mangalarga Marchador is a mid sized breed, of medium build. There are different bloodlines of Mangalarga Marchador. This means that there are some unique characteristics to the various bloodlines, in terms of build, appearance and gait... researching the bloodline that you are interested in is well worthwhile when deciding on a Mangalarga Marchador.
Why do so many people like Mangalarga Marchadors?
In North America, if you asked each breeder and owner what they like most about their Mangalarga Marchadors, the most consistant answer is that they love the intelligence and character of the breed. The Mangalarga Marchador is a breed with exceptional retention for training, that is honest, and willing to work.
The temperament of the Mangalarga Marchador is such an important characteristic that when a Mangalarga Marchador is being Inspected, the horse's temperament is evaluated both in the conformation evaluation and in the riding evaluation.
Those who own Mangalarga Marchadors also appreciate traits like the gait, (which for riders with back problems or knee problems is important), the stamina, the beauty and the health of the breed.
How much does a Mangalarga Marchador Cost?
In 2011,the average asking price for a Mangalarga Marchador Foal (in the USA) was $6,000. After weaning a Mangalarga Marchador's value generally increases as the Mangalarga Marchador matures. The value can also decrease if the quality is not there or something is wrong with the horse. Breeders charge according to the quality, conformation, gait and pedigree of their horses.
How many Mangalarga Marchadors are in North America?
There are aproximately 200 Mangalarga Marchadors in North America, Six of these Marchadors are in Canada.
The Mangalarga Marchador is the Third most numerous breed in the world. In Brazil alone, there are apx 500,000 Marchadors registered, with over 5,000 breeders and apx. 70,000 foals born and provisionally registered each year. The ABCCMM is the registery of Brazil that holds the Stud Book and Breed Standard. The ABCCMM is responsible for sending Inspectors to qualify Mangalarga Marchadors for Permanent Registration before breeding, to whatever country is required.
Why are there so few Mangalarga Marchadors in the rest of the world?
To import a Mangalarga Marchador from Brazil is complicated. In Brazil there is a tick borne protozoal infection (Equine Piroplasmosis) that many of the Brazilian Mangalarga Marchadors are afflicted with. Because the mares and foals are let loose to graze on the vast mountain pastures, most Mangalarga Marchadors come in contact with ticks sometime in their life. Mares and young horses that graze in the wild lands are the most often affected, but mares and stallions who are kept in paddocks and stables can also be affected. In order to import a Mangalarga Marchador, the protozoan infection must be eliminated from the horse's system and proven clean with the USDA's C Eliza blood Test.
In order to eradicate piroplasmosis from the Mangalarga Marchador's system, the horse must be kept at a Veterinary Hospital in Brazil to receive a drug treatment protocol which some compare to chemotherapy. Some Marchadors are too badly infected to be treated successfully, and some even die during treatment. Once a Mangalarga Marchador tests clear in Brazil, it can be shipped to the USA. Once in the USA there is an additional quarantine period required. A Mangalarga Marchador cannot be imported directly to Canada, and must first pass their final blood testing and be quarantined in the USA.
Because of these challenges, the Mangalarga Marchador numbers outside of Brazil grow slowly. There are many Mangalarga Marchadors in Brazil and the best can be worth Millions of Dollars. In order to expand the breed outside Brazil, some breeders select, treat and import Mangalarga Marchadors from Brazil, or import Brazilian semen and/or embryos. And, of course the breed numbers are also expanded through breeding of the various Mangalarga Marchadors already living on farms in North America and other countries around the world.
What is a Marchador like to ride?
Depending on the gait of the particular Mangalarga Marchador that you are riding, the smoothness and speed will vary. The one thing that seems to be the same with all Marchadors is their kindness toward their rider and their willingness to do whatever is asked.
Because the Marcha (gait) is unique to each Mangalarga Marchador, there can be variation from horse to horse. There are three variations on Marcha - Picada, Batida and Center. Getting a Mangalarga Marchador into its' smoothest, most efficient Marcha can take practice for a new rider.
The smoothest Mangalarga Marchadors are also very athletic. Mangalarga Marchadors can even gait on uneven ground. On mountainsides, you will feel like you are riding a surefooted goat because of the triple hoof support. The Marcha allows the Mangalarga Marchador to withstand difficult trails and hard work while staying balanced and sound. At the same time, the Marcha makes riding easier on your back.
When your horse is really Marching out in gait, you can ride better by feeling for the rhythm and allowing your back and legs to relax into the flow of the horse. You can find photos of Brazillian riders riding with their back relaxed...
If Marchadors are docile, does that mean they are lazy?
Most Mangalarga Marchados are kind, docile, and easily handled. At the same time, they have a tremendous amount of stamina and desire to work. When you are in the saddle, you will feel a lot of forward motion from your Mangalarga Marchador, though you will find that due to their "yield" they are very easily handled and kept in hand and willing to take direction. Many Mangalarga Marchadors "take care" of their riders, and will behave in one way with a novice, and another with an experienced rider.
What kind of saddle can I use on my Marchador?
The Mangalarga Marchador has a shorter back than many working horses. If you have a western saddle, be certain that the fit is good before you ride any distance. Many smaller saddles, including short treed English and Arabian saddles will fit well. The traditional Mangalarga Marchador stock saddle in Brazil looks similar to an endurance saddle, with a special place to secure a rope when working cattle.
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