Have you seen pictures of ladies dressed in those huge dresses riding on horses and wondered why? Well, it’s all for a reason. These ladies are all dressed for a very interesting Mexican tradition called Escaramuza.
What Exactly Is Escaramuza?
The word literally means a woman wearing a dress, riding a horse. Escaramuzas are an 8 member all female team who ride the horses dressed in big colourful dresses and make their horses dance to the rhythm of Mexican music. What’s amazing is that all 8 women and the horses are in perfect coordination with each other. They perform choreographed steps and at great speed. The interesting part is these women are sitting side saddle and wear those huge aerodynamic Charro hats on their heads all the while.
Image Credit: Imagenesmy.com
The Escaramuza Charra is a now a national Mexican sport and like any other sport these women have to practice hard daily to get their moves and steps right. It takes place inside a stadium which the Mexicans call lienzo charro.It is said that dressing up as an Escaramuza is an art and there are rules to it. There are rules for the quality of dress depending on the type of events and presentation which can be cultural, social or a competition. Even though the scores are based on performance, the costumes play an important role. These costumes are based on the historical uniforms that were worn during the revolution. Dressing up for the Escaramuza is quite a task and can take upto almost 3 hours! They are very particular about even the fabric that is used to make these dresses, which need to be cotton and made in traditional colours. These costumes are intricately embroidered and sewn by hand. Even small details like the accessories that the women use for example pins etc. must be made of sterling silver. The costumes are secured by leather straps. Before these women go for the competition, they make sure they spray some perfume!
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The team of women form a spectacular formation and they start training at a very young age, as early as 8 or 9 years old or even younger to get that perfect. It’s a sport that has been passed down generations. The riders have to practice at least twice a week for almost 3 hours.
The Escaramuza season starts from February and goes on till November. The competitions start on Labour Day and the grand finale happens in late October where the top 70-80 teams compete.
This sophisticated and empowering tradition they say was started during the first movements of the revolution when women were allowed to lead the battle wearing traditional dresses of that time and riding on horseback.
While this sport is very empowering for women, the drawback is that Escaramuza teams cannot perform on their own as an individual event but can only perform as part of the men’s charrería competitions!
We’re now in 2019 and maybe that should change! What say girls? Yeah or Neigh?