AZTECA - Horse breeds, horse breeding and types of horse.   
[Index of Horse Breeds] [Equiworld Horse Magazine]


by Donald M. Caskie, President , Azteca Horse Association of Canada

The Azteca
"Colts Running: Uriangato (grey), Zacatelco (palomino) and Huachenero (brown) at AZTECANA, Paris, Ontario, Canada"

What would you do if you wanted a horse that no longer exists? If you were Don Antonio Ariza Cañadilla and his fellow horsemen living in Mexico in the late 1960's, you would be starting to create the horse of their dreams. Don Antonio and his colleagues wanted a horse that would fulfil their expectations, including:
— a horse which would be reminiscent of the horse originally brought to the New World by the Spanish Conquistadors;
— a horse which would be symbolic of Mexico,
— a horse which would be a superb and brilliant athlete and artist, and
— a horse which would be an accomplished performer in the world of the charro and other typical Mexican events, including fiestas, parades, and the bullring (i.e, mounted Portuguese- style contests).

After several years of research and experimentation by experienced horsemen and equine scientists, a new breed of horse was created which met their criteria. The name of the new breed of horses is AZTECA.

El caballo AZTECA--the AZTECA horse-- was created in Mexico in 1972 through the collaboration of Casa Pedro Domecq (particularly Antonio Ariza Cañadilla) , Centro de Reproduccion Caballar Domecq, Asociacion Mexicana de Criadores de Caballos de Raza Azteca (AMCCRA-- The Azteca Horse Association of Mexico), and La Secretaria de Agricultura y Recursos Hidraulicos. The Association and the Government of Mexico are continuing these efforts at combining scientific research and standards-setting to refine the AZTECA and to define the main contributions of each of the three founding breeds to the phenotype.

The Azteca
: "The Azteca Stallion, Texcoco, being ridden by the author at AZTECANA, Paris, Ontario, Canada"

The Azteca is a crossbred horse with proven Andalusian/Lusitano and Quarter Horse (AQHA registered) and Criollo bloodlines which conforms to the phenotype standards established by the International Azteca Horse Association (IAzHA) Registry. Only horses that have been inspected by an Inspector authorized by IAzHA and the Mexican Registry and have obtained at least their birth certificate can legally be called "AZTECA". The horse must be inspected twice for conformation, character, movement and disposition: at seven months, to obtain a birth certificate and at three years, to secure a registration certificate as breeding stock. Letters A,B,C,D,E, and F are attached to the progeny which identify the proportion of the three foundation breeds (e.g., "D" is half Andalusian and half Q.H. and "A" is 5/8 of either Andalusian or Q.H.). The letters are only for breeding purposes in order to guarantee that no contributing breed will figure too prominently in the offspring (no more than 3/4). The letters are NOT an indicator of quality or an indicator of purity or an indicator of the number of generations of cross-breeding. The sole legitimate indicator of quality in the AZTECA Horse is the score the horse receives at the time of its inspection.

The main characteristics of an AZTECA are:

HEIGHT (at three years of age)
- males 1.52 to 1.65m (15.0 to 16.1 hh)
- females 1.50 to 1.62m (14.3 to 16.0hh)

COLOR - only solid colors are permitted

HEAD - lean, elegant and aristocratic with a convex, sub-convex or straight profile

EYES - expressive and intelligent

EARS - small and well pricked up

NECK - well-muscled and slightly arched

BODY - high withers, a fairly short and straight back, and a broad well- rounded croup

GIRTH - deep and full

LEGS AND FEET - the legs are well-muscled and the feet are hard and well-proportioned

MANE AND TAIL - long, luxurious and flowing; the tail-set is medium low

MOVEMENT - naturally collected; medium high action; spirited and proud; excellent tracking.

The Azteca
"Jessi and the Azteca Stallion, Oxomoco, owned by Scott & Diane Selanders of Aztec Paradise in Ohio, USA."


AZTECA Horses are: docile with handler and rider; alert; inquisitive; playful and mischievous; highly intelligent; eager to learn and work; and bold, courageous and proud.

The Azteca
: "A performance by Sebastian Zarate, Mid-Valley Stables, Weslaco, Texas, USA"

The AZTECA excels at activities which require: intelligence, spirit, agility, power, strength, elegance, style, and speed.

The AZTECA is accomplished at: classical riding (alta escuela, haute ecole, high school); doma vaquera; la garrocha; charro; dressage; bull fighting (rejoneo); reining; cutting; team penning; working cowhorse; cattle roping; polo; pleasure riding; and driving.

The Azteca
"The Azteca mare, Fabulosa Destinada, winning the Driving Championship at the IALHA Regional Show in Lexington, Virginia in 2000 for her owners Deborah and Craig Schreck of Bay Run Farms and her trainer/driver, Blanchard Poole. She later went on to Fort Worth, Texas to win the 2000 IALHA National Driving Championship"


In November, 1992, in Texcoco, Mexico, the International Azteca Horse Association was founded to promote the development of the breed on a worldwide basis. At the same time, regional affiliates were created: for Canada, the Azteca Horse Association of Canada (AzHAC) and for the United States, the Azteca Horse Association of the United States (AzHAUS). The worldwide Registry for AZTECA horses is maintained by AMCCRA for The International Azteca Horse Association. This is the only organization approved by the developers of the breed and by the Government of Mexico to register AZTECA horses and to legally use the name "AZTECA". Currently, there are about a two thousand (2000) AZTECA horses in Mexico, Central and South America, United States, Canada, and Spain which have been approved by the International Azteca Horse Association. Interest in the breed has been developing in Australia and in several countries in Europe, including France, Italy and the Low Countries. The AZTECA is now the National Horse of Mexico.


AZTECAs have appeared in demonstrations at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, at the Equine Affaire in Columbus, Ohio, at various events and presentations in Southern and Western United States and Texas and at the annual meetings of the International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association. In Mexico, AZTECA have been shown at several fairs and exhibitions, notably the major venues of the Feria Internacional del Caballo in Texcoco and the Feria de San Marcos in Aguascalientes.

AZTECA horses can usually be viewed at the ranches of approved breeders by prior appointment.

Pictures of AZTECA horse can be seen on the AzHAC and IAzHA websites listed below.

Anyone in North America who thinks his or her horse may be a candidate to become an AZTECA should contact the Azteca Horse Association of Canada to obtain further information about characteristics and to arrange for an inspection of possible or candidates or to have an assessment done of prospective sires or dams of AZTECA horses.

More information (including photographs of AZTECA Horses) on AZTECA characteristics, events and approved breeders should visit the website:

Donald M. Caskie,
Azteca Horse Association of Canada,
RR 2,
Paris, Ontario Canada,
N3L 3E2

Tel 519-458-4410
Fax 519-458-8242

Back to Breeds