Our traditions, our culture, and our style don’t typically find their way on the (physical or web) pages of women’s magazines. But following up last year’s Latinas in Los Angeles spread – where Vogue documented Chicano style in SoCal – the magazine has once again delved into the Latino experience in the United States. This time, Vogue.com headed to Phoenix and Mexico for a beautiful photo feature on the women who participate in escaramuza – an all-female equestrian sport within charrería. Titled Riding High, the article looks at the women who ride side saddle as they perform amazing feats at high velocity inside a lienzo charro.
Escaramuza, an event within the larger rodeo-like sport known as charrería (now recognized as Mexico’s national sport) is comprised of teams of up to 16 women (though only eight can compete at a time) performing a series of routines inside a lienzo charro, or stadium, at breakneck galloping speeds—all while riding sidesaddle. Above, Catalina Quiroga of the Santa Rosa oro team from Monterrey, Nuevo León rides her horse prior to competition. For more on Escaramuza, tap the link in our bio. Photographed by @devindoyle.
The sport, inspired by the Mexican Revolution-era Adelitas, is passed down from generation to generation. América Martínez de Heras, 34, began riding at age 20, even though she grew up watching her dad and sister compete her whole life. But an incident with a horse kept her from getting into the sport earlier. As a young adult, her sister persuaded her to join her team. “I guess I finally got over the fear, and I was always going to watch my brother and sister compete, so I thought, I may as well do it,” Martínez de Heras, who is the captain of the Phoenix-based Rayenari team, told Vogue. “I ride with my sister and two of my nieces, and even my 2-year-old has her own saddle already.”
During the escaramuza season, which typically runs from February to November, riders practice twice a week for two to three hours. The U.S. nationals take place over Labor Day weekend, and the grand finale, a competition in Mexico that brings together the top 80 or so teams from both sides of the border, happens in late October or early November. Here, members of Triana de Aguascalientes, an escaramuza team from north-central Mexico. Tap the link in our bio for more. Photographed by @devindoyle.
While writer, Mariel Cruz, points out that escaramuza teams can never perform unless it’s part of a men’s charrería competition, Martínez de Heras does not see it as a reason for discord. “I don’t see it as us being part of their competition,” she said. “I see it as part of being together. This sport is very family-oriented.”
Head to Vogue to check out stunning photos inside the world of escaramuza.