About Doma Vaquera


Doma Vaquera is one of the styles of equitation in Spain, another being Doma Clasica (classical equitation).

Doma Vaquera is a style of horse riding which enables the rider to carry out daily duties on horseback on a working cattle ranch. It was especially developed out of the use of the horse for handling the fighting bulls of Spain and grew out of decades of daily work with them in the open countryside.

The style of riding, tack, dress and discipline of the working horses evolved into what we see today. It is still being used on working ranches, in Doma Vaquera competition and more recently, Doma de Trabajo (working equitation).  

Because Doma Vaquera is relatively new to the USA I believe it would be helpful to those interested in the development of the discipline to have the opportunity to have a better overview and understanding of the requisite movements, expression and essence which goes to make a true presentation of Doma Vaquera.

Both horse and rider must be aware of the ‘aire vaquero’.

Although the three tests are standardised, there should be a quality of spontaneity and brilliance which flows through horse and rider. In training it is necessary to avoid the horse becoming anticipatory of the movements, otherwise the test can look dull and monotonous.

The rider should present an air of pride and confidence in his performance. The judges look for individuality and flair. Although a high percentage of the score is made up from the basic movements of walk, trot, canter and gallop, a rider can tip the balance in his favor and improve his overall score by his presentation and style.

The walk must be with impulsion. Straightness on a line and with curvature on a circle. The mosquero swinging and moving in rhythm with the horse.

The canter and gallop must be steady and true, with impulsion and cadence.

The reins are held in the left hand with the little finger between them. It is permissible to adjust the rein length with the free hand.

The free hand (right) is place on the thigh with the thumb forward in the walk and the trot. At the canter and gallop the hand is gently closed and placed across the sternum of the rider.

The rider may provide appropriate music (Spanish or Latin guitar without vocals) to be played during the test.

The arena size should be 20 x 60 meters.

The judges sit at the opposite end of where the exhibitor enters.

Junior horses (up to 5 years old) may be ridden in a snaffle with two hands on the reins.

The tail hair is either cut square and short or tied into a field knot.

A gelding or mare would have the forelock shaved. Manes are either cropped or braided in to small tight buttons. No colored ribbon is used only matching colored yarn.

The horse may be shod or unshod.

Martingales, leg protectors and sliding shoes are prohibited.

Any long hairs along the cheeks and jawline should be removed. The ears should have any long protruding hairs trimmed level with the rim of the ear.

Removal of the long tactile feeler hairs around the muzzle is unneccessary.