Tag Archives: Ocala

Marcha Gaits, Part 1

(For anyone who was there at the clinic, I encourage you to try to hear our instructor’s voices while you read this! Please feel free to add anything you picked up in individual lessons.  I have written about the gaits before, so I will not repeat those comments, but I’ll link to them in case you want MORE!)

Tiago showing the diagram of the Marcha

The Mangalarga Marchador has 2 marching gaits.  The Marcha is the same footfalls in both marcha picada and marcha batida.

The footfall sequence is

3 2 3 2 3 2 3 2

When the length of time spent in lateral supports is higher, then the gait is marcha picada.  When the length of time is higher spent in diagonal supports is higher, then the gait is marcha batida.  In both,  there are moments of triple hoof support, which is what makes the gait smooth and easy to ride.

When the length of time spent in diagonal and lateral pairs are equal, it is sometimes described as marcha de centro.

To the human ear, in marcha picada,  there is a much longer time (in lateral) between the footfalls making the 4 beats very distinctive and easily heard.   In marcha batida, the marcha is still 4 beat, but the footfalls of the diagonal pairs land closer together making it harder to hear 4 distinct beats.

Training can help improve a Marchador’s natural gait, but genetics determine the innate quality and movement of the horse.  Breeding for the center of the spectrum is the goal for a smooth and well-balanced movement.

Below is the gait spectrum:


Pace                           Marcha Picada             /\            Marcha Batida                                         Trot

(True lateral)                                            CENTER                                                         (true diagonal)



Here is are some videos comparing the 2 gaits and you can HEAR the difference, although all Marchador gaits are smooth.  These may not be the best examples of the MM breed, but I chose them because the horses were ridden on hard ground so you can hear as well as see.

Marcha Picada

Marcha de Centro (Marcha Batida)

Marcha Batida

“To help you feel and analyze the marcha, you need to use 5 things:   2 eyes, 2 ears and 1 seat.” says Tiago during the classroom lecture.   Sometimes the marcha is not visible to a untrained human eye.  The feet move too fast for us.   The ears are very good to listen for the gait.   And the seat, it should signal when the gait is smooth.   As the rider, you try to put the horse in that place, and make that feeling and sound last for longer and longer periods of time.

“It is like a dance”.  The horse must stay relaxed in the neck, but driving from behind.  “So, the rider, he sets the boundary in front to make a door that is closed.”  So, the horse moves into collection, but it is a give and take between the horse and rider, especially in the beginning, for the horse to stay relaxed and giving to the bit.

Okay, now we understood the diagram of the marcha.

The quality of the movement in Brasil is judged on many levels:  the showiness of the gait (the C with the front legs), the diagram of the marcha (how close it comes to perfection in footfalls and timing), the length of the stride (they want it to be ground covering, extension is valued) and finally, the smoothness of the gait.

So, now how do you bring it out in your Marchador?    For this, we relied on Kate’s individual riding instruction on the Marchadors brought to the clinic.  Next post!





SW Update – The Ocala MM Clinic April 20-22nd

The Ocala MM Clinic was a resounding success.  Hosted by Connie Claire, Ocala FL, everything went off without a hitch for the first ever Sela de Ouro (the Golden Saddle, the way of the Marchador) in the U.S.!  The Sela de Ouro consists of 3 phases:  a long ride similar to an endurance ride with vetting and judging, classroom and arena instruction and judging of conformation and gait,  and also a functional test, similar to an obstacle class.

Some photos from the clinic, just click to enlarge!

The instructors were flown in from Brasil to evaluate the 18 people and 12 Marchadors that participated.  Most were from the East Coast, but some of us came from AZ and OK too.   The breeders and owners there represent 40% of the Marchadors in U.S.  (Next year, the clinic moves west.)  The instructors were ABCCMM (Brazilian MM association) professionals Tiago de Resende Garcia and Kate Moura da Costa Barcelos, both licensed veterinarians and judges in Brazil.

Tiago is the ABCCMM Director of the ENA – the National School of Judges.  The ENA’s objective is to train MM judges on how to evaluate conformation, gait and functionality of the MM breed.  Tiago and his team judge every sanctioned ABCCMM show in Brazil.  Tiago has hosted symposiums and lectures to enlighten and inform MM breeders.

Kate is an ABCCMM inspector (the 1st woman) and education program director.  Kate was the instructor of our 2011 MM clinic.  An accomplished rider, competitor and instructor, Kate was the #2 dressage rider in South America and now uses classical dressage in preparing and training Marchador horses for many farms in Brazil.

We had a fabulous time meeting new people, Marchadors, and of course, learning more about our fabulous MM breed!  Our heartfelt thanks to Connie, Tiago and Kate!!!!

The Champions:

  • Sela de Ouro ride on Friday – Aline Greene, Saint Horse, SC and her mare Erva-Doce de Tesouro
  • Combined Gait and Conformation on Saturday:  for Stallion – Bill Kambic, Haras Lucero, TN and his imported MM stallion, Ritmo A.J.; for Mare – Sandy Kambic, Haras Lucero, TN and her imported mare, Amora or Aliane Fazenda Zouga (bred by Rick Schatz, Flying Oaks Ranch, OK when he was breeding MMs in Brasil), for Gelding – Connie Claire, FL with her gelding Leo or DaVinci do Summerwind (bred by SW Future Foal, AZ)
  • Functional test on Sunday – Jeff Bosley, SW Future Foal @ Lumber Bridge on his mare Bacara do Summerwind (bred by SW Future Foal, AZ)

Almost every person excelled and placed in each competition so the results were exciting and close!   We even had a tie for the winner of the Functional test so there was another run made by Jeff and Bacara against Sue Current on Folego do Lucero!  Brooke Little from Marchadors InMotion, came with her young stallion Cheveyo do MManor (Erva-Doce’s son) who impressed the crowd with his gait,  disposition and performance.  Except for his youth (he had just been started under saddle at age 3), he could have won it all, in my opinion.

And a good time was had by all!  Be sure to come to our next one if you can!

SW Update – What is a MM Sela de Ouro???

On the trail, Lynn Kelley on Esthique do Premier, Aline Greene's MM mare

The Sela de Ouro is Portuguese for “Saddle of Gold”, the WAY OF THE MARCHADOR.  It is a multi-day event that the Brasilians use to test the Marchador horses and the Marchador riders.

In Brasil, throughout the year are qualifying rides for the final Sela de Ouro held at the time of the Mangalarga Marchador National Show in July.   The European association has hosted a Sela de Ouro in Germany since 2009.  Now in 2012,  the USMMA and ABCCMM are helped Connie Claire host the first ever in the U.S. at the MM Clinic in Ocala, FL.

Riders from the US and Europe that finish the Sela de Ouro in their country can qualify to ride in the final Sela de Ouro in Brasil!

During the ride, the horses and riders are evaluated on the trail, on a track and in an obstacle course over several days.

Marchadors are evaluated on their marcha in these aspects:

  • Gesture
  • Comfort
  • Style
  • Length of stride
  • Regularity

In addition, a vet check tests them for endurance fitness and integrity.

The riders are evaluated on riding skills and also on the functional test.

  • Seat and leg contact
  • Center posture and balance
  • Use of the aids
  • Control and security
  • Naturalness
  • Functional test (like an obstacle course – see the video below)

Each competitor has to demonstrate minimal skills of a good rider and good knowledge of his horse on the trail.  The tests and judging are conducted in environments and situations that simulate the roads, sports and travels of ancient knights in speed and distance variables.   The trail has natural hazards in varied terrains of forests, rivers, valleys and mountains.

It was so much fun!  Brasil, anyone?