Trote y Galope Spanish Horse
A beautiful Trote y Galope Horse ridden by David A. Palacio.

Colombian Creole Horse Breeds
By Rebecca Vail Anderson

The Colombian Trote y Galope, Colombian Trocha, and Colombian Trocha y Galope horses are modern-day gaited horses still in development genetically. According to Fedequinas, the Colombian federation of horse associations, the umbrella organization in Colombia, S.A. for all equines, they comprise three of the four lineages of the Colombian Paso Fino horse, based on their gait. In Colombia, South America, they are hugely popular, but remain relatively rare in the United States and outside of their native Colombia. However, they are growing in popularity.

When discussing the Colombian Trote y Galope, Colombian Trocha, and the Colombian Trocha y Galope horses, one must understand a bit of the history and development of the horse in the Americas (North, central, and South America, and the Caribbean). Horses in North and South America became extinct around 10,000 years ago.  Horses were re-introduced to the Americas in 1493 when Christopher Colombus made his second trip to the New World, to the island of present-day Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti).  The origins of these horses and the ones subsequently shipped to the New World were Iberian horses mostly from the southern Iberian Peninsula. The Iberian Peninsula includes the present day countries of Spain, Portugal, and Andorra, plus part of France and the British territory of Gibraltar.

According to the article “Colombian Creole horse breeds: Same origin but different diversity”, by Ligia Mercedes Jiminez, et al., Genetics and Molecular Biology, 35, 4, xxx-xxx(2012):

“Horses from the Iberian Peninsula entered Colombia through two main routes.  One route was established by the expeditions of Alonso de Ojeda and Diego de Nicuesia in 1509 (Diaz, 1988) and went through Panama via the Gulf of Uraba to Nueva Granada (New Granada is present day Colombia and Panama).  The second route was established by Spanish expeditions through Coro (present day Venezuela) to the Eastern Plains region known as “Llanos Orientales” in Nueva Granada, in the current departments [states] of Arauca, Casanare, and Meta (Montoya B, 1988, undergraduate final work, Universidad de Los Llanos, Villavicencio, Colombia).”

The two main horse populations in Colombia are the Colombian Paso Fino and the Colombian Creole cattle horse.  The Colombian Paso Fino is believed to have arrived via the first route, through Panama. The Colombian Creole cattle horse, also known as the Criollo de Vaqueria, is believed to have arrived via the second route.

The Colombian Paso Fino was valued predominately for its utility as a riding horse whereas the Colombian Creole cattle horse was used mostly for agricultural work.  Since the Colombian Paso Fino became a riding horse when traveling on horseback was the principle mode of transportation, selective breeding practices were used in order to promote those qualities that made the horse comfortable to ride.  As a result, four lineages or lines of Colombian Paso Fino developed based on the natural gaits of the horses. These are: Colombian Paso Fino, Colombian Trote y Galope (Trot-Gallop), Colombian Trocha [Trocha Pura], and Colombian Trocha y Galope (Trocha-Gallop) (Fedequinas 2006).

Colombian Trote y Galope horse

Colombian Trote y Galope: The Trote y Galope horse is one of the 4 lineages of the Colombian Paso Fino horse. It performs the trote gait and the galope (canter) gait as well as a walk and gallop. Some are able to perform the trocha gait, too.  The Trote y Galope horse is larger and taller than the Colombian Paso Fino and Colombian Trocha horses. The Trote y Galope lineage of the Colombian Paso Fino horse developed over time from the mixing of the Lusitano, Andalusian, and other Iberian Peninsula trotting horse breeds with gaiting Iberian Peninsula horse breeds in Colombia and modern day Panama.

 

The trote gait is a 2 beat trot with very little to no suspension between the alternating diagonal pairs of footfalls.  It is for this reason the rider is able to sit the trot comfortably with very little jarring and does not need to post.  It can best be described as a marching gait where 2 diagonal pair of legs hit the ground at virtually the same moment followed by a brief moment where all 4 feet are in contact with the ground as the horse transfers its weight to the opposite pair of diagonal legs (“On Gait:  What’s in a name? Manberg, S., Paso Fino Horse World Magazine, June, 1988, pg 4).  The sound of the gait when the horse is ridden on a hard surface or in the show ring over a “sounding board” can be described as “tas-tas-tas” (pronounced toss-toss-toss).

The galope gait has the same sequence of footfalls as a canter or lope.  For example, on a left lead, the right hind leg hits the ground followed by the right front and left hind leg hitting together at approximately equal times followed by the left front in a 3 beat pattern (Manberg, S.).  Because of the compact size and conformation of the Trote y Galope horse, there is less of a sweeping sensation when riding the galope or canter.  It is a shorter, quicker motion in the saddle for the rider.  The sound of the gait on a hard surface can be described as “catorce-catorce-catorce” (pronounced kuh-tore-say, kuh-tore-say, kuh-tore-say).

The Trote y Galope horse is a well built, solid, muscular, compact horse of small to moderate height. The head is carried elegantly on an upright, beautifully arched neck.  They can be found in all colors however pinto, spotted, and appaloosa colored horses cannot be registered.  The Trote y Galope is considered a hot-blooded horse.  They are agile, brave, and very athletic horses. They are highly sensitive and intelligent.  They require an equally sensitive and intelligent trainer and owner.  They will suffer emotionally from harsh, cruel, and abusive training practices.

Trote y Galope horses are highly versatile and adaptable.  They thrive when given a job to do that they enjoy.  They are extremely willing partners and strive to please at all times. They can be trained to do dressage, speed events, jumping, cross country, trail obstacles, trail riding, cattle and ranch work, and the newest equine discipline of Working Equitation, as well as traditional showing.

The horses began to be exhibited formally at Ferias, or horse shows, in Colombia in the 1940’s.  The first equine association and registry in Colombia was formed in 1946 and was called ASDEPASO.  In 1952, in Dallas, Texas, USA, the horses debuted as the “Caballo de Paso Colombiano” or the “Colombian Paso horse” (El Caballo de Paso Colombiano. Mejia Escobar, J., Saavedra, C. J., Lita Camargo Ltda, 1986).  The Paso Fino Horse Association, which registers only Paso Fino horses was formed in the USA in 1972.  The American Trote and Trocha Association formed in the USA in 2001.  It limits its registry to Trote y Galope, Trocha, and Trocha y Galope horses.  The only registry in the USA which registers all 4 of the lineages, Paso Fino, Trote y Galope, Trocha, and Trocha y Galope, is the Puerto Rican Association of Breeders of Paso Horses of America (Los Abiertos) formed in 1973. The international organization representing the four lineages is the Confederation of Paso Horse breeders, Confepaso, which was created in 1990.

Colombian Trocha Horses

Colombian Trocha:  The Trocha horse is one of the 4 lineages of the Colombian Paso Fino horse.  It performs the trocha gait, as well as a walk, trot, canter, and gallop.  Some Trocha horses are able to perform the paso fino gait, too.  The Colombian Trocha horse is smaller in height than the Colombian Trote y Galope and Colombian Trocha y Galope horses.  They are similar in size and build to the Colombian Paso Fino horse.  The Colombian Trocha horse developed along similar lines as the Colombian Paso Fino horse and was influenced by the trotting breeds from the Iberian Peninsula.

The trocha gait is an extremely smooth and exhilarating gait to ride.  The Spanish word trocha is roughly translated to mean “a narrow path through the brush” or “a trail”.  Thus, one could say the Colombian Trocha horse was developed and used as a trail horse.  A horse that could carry its rider comfortably, reliably, and safely on journeys through treacherous terrain such as jungles, mountains, valleys, and desert was vitally important, valuable, and useful to its owner.  Today, in Colombia, the Trocha horse is a highly regarded and highly valued and much sought after show horse.  They remain rare in the United States and outside of their native Colombia.

The trocha gait is a 4 beat unevenly spaced, or non-isochronal, gait.  The footfalls follow the same sequence as the walk (Manberg, S.).  For example, the left hind foot (beat 1) followed by the left front foot (beat 2) immediately followed by the right hind foot (beat 3) and then the right front foot (beat 4) (“El Caballo De Paso:  Estudio Ilustrado De Sus Aires”. R. Colon Nebot, Amerriqua Ltda., 1st ed, October 2008).  The order of footfalls is so rapid it cannot be seen with the naked eye and must be captured on film and slowed down frame by frame to view the precise order. The beats or footfalls are not spaced evenly apart.  The interval between beat 2 and beat 3, the left front and the right hind is very short, as is the interval between beat 4 and beat 1, the right front and left hind foot.  The sound of the trocha gait when the horse is ridden on a hard surface or in the show ring over a “sounding board” can be described as “tras-tras-tras” (pronounced t-rawce, t-rawce, t-rawce).

The Colombian Trocha horse is an exquisitely refined and elegant horse, with a muscular but at the same time, delicate and compact appearance.  The head is carried proudly and elegantly on an upright and arched neck.  The manes and tails are full, thick, and abundant adding to their striking “super model” appearance.  They are considered a small horse but are capable of carrying a good deal of weight.  They possess a great amount of endurance and are sure footed on uneven terrain.  They can be found in all colors however pinto, spotted, and appaloosa colored horses cannot be registered.

Colombian Trocha horses are considered hot-blooded horses and are highly sensitive and intelligent.  They require an equally sensitive and intelligent trainer and owner.  They will suffer emotionally from harsh, cruel, and abusive training practices.  They are extremely willing partners and strive to please at all times. They can be trained to do dressage, speed events, jumping, cross country, trail obstacles, trail riding, cattle and ranch work, and the newest equine discipline of Working Equitation, as well as traditional showing.

The horses began to be exhibited formally at Ferias, or horse shows, in Colombia in the 1940’s.  The first equine association and registry in Colombia was formed in 1946 and was called ASDEPASO.  In 1952, in Dallas, Texas, USA, the horses debuted as the “Caballo de Paso Colombiano” or the “Colombian Paso horse” (Jaime Mejia Escobar). The Paso Fino Horse Association, formed in the USA in 1972 does not currently register Colombian Trocha horses.  The American Trote and Trocha Association formed in 2001 registers Trocha, Trote y Galope, and Trocha y Galope horses but not Paso Fino horses. The only registry in the USA which registers all 4 of the lineages, Paso Fino, Trote y Galope, Trocha, and Trocha y Galope, is the Puerto Rican Association of Breeders of Paso Horses of America (Los Abiertos) formed in 1973. The international organization representing the four lineages is the Confederation of Paso Horse breeders, Confepaso, which was created in 1990.

Colombian Trocha y Galope horse

Colombian Trocha y Galope: The Trocha y Galope horse is one of the 4 lineages of the Colombian Paso Fino horse. It performs the trocha gait and the galope (canter) gait as well as the walk, trot, and gallop. The Colombian Trocha y Galope horse is similar in size to the Colombian Trote y Galope horse. It is larger and taller than the Colombian Trocha and Colombian Paso Fino horses. The Colombian Trocha y Galope horse developed along similar lines as the Colombian Trocha and Colombian Trote y Galope horses with influences from the gaited and trotting Iberian Peninusula horse breeds found in Colombia and modern day Panama.

The trocha gait exhibited by the Colombain Trocha y Galope horse is the same footfall sequence as the Colombian Trocha horse.  It is a 4 beat non-isochronal or non-evenly spaced gait.  The footfalls follow the same sequence as the walk (Manberg, S.).  For example, the left hind foot (beat 1) followed by the left front foot (beat 2) immediately followed by the right hind foot (beat 3) and then the right front foot (beat 4) (R. Colon Nebot).  The order of footfalls is so rapid it cannot be seen with the naked eye and must be captured on film and slowed down frame by frame to view the precise order. The beats or footfalls are not spaced evenly apart.  The interval between beat 2 and beat 3, the left front and the right hind is very short, as is the interval between beat 4 and beat 1, the right front and left hind foot.  The sound of the trocha gait when the horse is ridden on a hard surface or in the show ring over a “sounding board” can be described as “tras-tras-tras” (pronounced t-rawce, t-rawce, t-rawce).

The expression of the trocha gait in the Trocha y Galope horse is different than the expression of the gait executed by the Colombian Trocha horse.  Because the Trocha y Galope horse is a larger and taller horse with a different conformation than the Trocha horse, the way the horse performs the gait looks different.  Whereas the Trocha horse has a more “fino” or fine (refined) quality to the gait expression, the Trocha y Galope horse has a more bold or robust appearance to the gait expression.  These differences are most likely due to the larger size, height, and weight of the horse as well as to a difference in the shoulder, leg, and hip angles of the horses.

The galope gait of the Trocha y Galope horse is similar to the expression of the galope gait in the Trote y Galope horse. The galope gait has the same sequence of footfalls as a canter or lope.  For example, on a left lead, the right hind leg hits the ground followed by the right front and left hind leg hitting together at approximately equal times followed by the left front in a 3 beat pattern (Manberg, S.).  Because of the compact size and conformation of the Trocha y Galope horse, there is less of a sweeping sensation when riding the galope or canter.  It is a shorter, quicker motion in the saddle for the rider.  The sound of the gait on a hard surface can be described as “catorce-catorce-catorce” (pronounced kuh-tore-say, kuh-tore-say, kuh-tore-say).

The Trocha y Galope horse is a well built, solid, muscular, compact horse of small to moderate height.  The manes and tails are full, thick, and abundant and the head is carried upright on a beautifully arched neck.  They possess a great deal of endurance and are sure footed on uneven terrain.  They can be found in all colors however, pinto, spotted, and appaloosa colored horses cannot be registered.

Colombian Trocha y Galope horses are considered hot-blooded horses and are highly sensitive and intelligent.  They require an equally sensitive and intelligent trainer and owner.  They will suffer emotionally from harsh, cruel, and abusive training practices.  They are extremely willing partners and strive to please at all times. They can be trained to do dressage, speed events, jumping, cross country, trail obstacles, trail riding, cattle and ranch work, and the newest equine discipline of Working Equitation, as well as traditional showing.

The horses began to be exhibited formally at Ferias, or horse shows, in Colombia in the 1940’s.  The first equine association and registry in Colombia was formed in 1946 and was called ASDEPASO.  In 1952, in Dallas, Texas, USA, the horses debuted as the “Caballo de Paso Colombiano” or the “Colombian Paso horse” (Jaime Mejia Escobar). The Paso Fino Horse Association, formed in the USA in 1972 does not currently register Colombian Trocha y Galope horses.  The American Trote and Trocha Association formed in 2001 registers Trocha, Trote y Galope, and Trocha y Galope horses but not Paso Fino horses.  The only registry in the USA which registers all 4 of the lineages, Paso Fino, Trote y Galope, Trocha, and Trocha y Galope, is the Puerto Rican Association of Breeders of Paso Horses of America (Los Abiertos) formed in 1973. The international organization representing the four lineages is the Confederation of Paso Horse breeders, Confepaso, which was created in 1990.

~Rebecca Vail Anderson, author, copyright 2014.  Permission is granted to share this article for educational purposes only as long as proper credit and acknowledgment is given to the author and source.  No parts of this article may be reproduced for commercial purposes without the express written consent of the author.
E-mail:  thediagonalcorner@ymail.com, www.thediagonalcorner.com

Bibliography:
Colombian Creole horse breeds:  Same origin but different diversity.
Jiminez, L.M., Mendez, S., Dunner, S., Canon, J., Cortes, O.,
Genetics and Molecular Biology, 35, 4, xxx-xxx(2012).

On Gait:  What’s in a Name?
Manberg, S., Paso Fino Horse World Magazine, June 1988, page 4.

El Caballo de Paso Colombiano.
Mejia Escobar, L., Saavedra, C. F., Lita Camargo Ltda., 1986.

El Caballo de Paso:  Estudio Ilustrado de Sus Aires.
Colon Nebot, R., Amerriqua Ltda., 1st ed., Oct. 2008.

 

2 thoughts on “Colombian Creole Horses

    1. Erin Morgan

      Thanks so much for your comment concerning the Colombian Creole Horse Breeds, Laura. They are beautiful and rather rare in the US. We are so happy to have a great advocate of the breed write this article. Sometimes you can find these horses in rescue situations. Please see Rebecca Vail Anderson’s website for more information or to contact her directly:

      http://www.thediagonalcorner.com

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