Spanish Equestrian Culture

Doma Clasica - Classical

Alta Escuela

Airs Above the Ground


Doma Vaquera

La Garrocha

Traditional Spanish Tack

Feria del Caballo

Carthusian Monastery

Hierro del Bocado Stud


Mythos Home

La Garrocha

La Garrocha�

Tthe garrocha pole is used in Spain by the vaquero (cowboys)� to move cattle around rather than roping. This form or working cattle is from where the term cow poke originates.�


The art of working with the garrocha pole, about 12 feet in length, has been developed into an artistic skillful performance!� Exhibitions are breathtaking to watch.

Photos taken at SICAB, Sevilla, Spain by Avi Cohen

History on Stirrups:

The Advent of Stirrups

There are two basic methods of using stirrups, a shorter stirrup to allow more mobility and a longer stirrup to allow greater control. The stirrup itself is similar, but the length of the stirrup leather is different.

In each case, the stirrup length allows the rider to remain over the center of balance of the horse for the average speed characteristic of the discipline; the faster the horse travels, the more forward the rider must be positioned, and hence the shorter the stirrup.

Long stirrups allow the rider to ride with a long leg, with the knee relaxed and only slightly bent, allowing a deep and stable seat in the saddle. When riding a long stirrup, the rider has excellent control of the horse and the greatest ability to feel and communicate with the horse via the riding aids.

This provides a sturdy base for activities where precision is required or when the rider is at risk of being unseated. For both reasons, long stirrups were thus the choice of heavy cavalry such as the medieval knights, who fought in close quarters and used weapons such as the lance and long, heavy swords. Historically, this type of stirrup adjustment and the riding seat it produced was called la brida. Today it is the choice for dressage and many types of western riders.

Shorter stirrups require a rider to keep the knees bent at a greater angle. When riding in a short stirrup, the rider has the ability to partially stand up and get the seat clear of the saddle. This allows more mobility than a longer stirrup would, but at the cost of having less feel of the horse and less security. It is a position designed to help the horse achieve greater speed, and also allows the rider greater physical mobility in the saddle.


When riding with short stirrups, the rider often adopts what is known as a forward seat, thus inhibiting the horse's balance and athletic maneuverings as little as possible. In the past, this style was preferred by light cavalry.


These fighters required speed and needed the flexibility to turn their own bodies in any direction to use light weapons such as the bow, javelin, short swords, and later, the rifle and pistol. The horsemen of Central Asia, such as the Mongols, used this type of stirrup, as did the islamic Bedouin and Moors of the Middle East and North Africa.


Historically, this type of stirrup adjustment and the seat it produced was called la jineta. Modern Jockeys, eventers, and show jumping riders use this type of stirrup, as do some cowboys when performing certain jobs that require a forward position to allow agility of horse and rider, such as calf roping