Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Artifacts, Primary Sources
Date Posted: 9/17/2009

The Spaniards who invaded Mexico brought to North America a well-developed equestrian tradition. Over the centuries, horses, saddles, and other riding paraphernalia were altered by the landscape and the lifestyles of both Spanish and indigenous riders. Accompanied by mariachi music, la charrería is the elaborate and spectacle-driven tradition of horsemanship in Mexico. As a national sport rooted in the everyday demands of ranching, the crafts and techniques of charrería were adopted and modified by American settlers in the 19th century. They in turn developed their own rodeo tradition. This elaborate saddle with embossed silver medallions was given to General Philip Sheridan by a Mexican friend in 1866. In that year, General Sheridan armed Mexican nationalists led by Benito Juárez, and headed a 50,000-man army along the U.S.-Mexico border in order to pressure France to end its occupation of Mexico.