Mangalarga Marchador: History, Characteristics and Temperament

The Mangalarga Marchador, an indigenous horse breed from Brazil, stands as a testimony to their country’s rich equestrian history. Renowned for their distinctive gait and adaptability, this breed has earned admiration not just in Brazil but worldwide.

“Mangalarga” refers to these horses bred at Mangalarga Farm in Minas Gerais State of Brazil; Marchador refers to their distinctive marching gait.


The Mangalarga Marchador’s history is closely intertwined with Brazil’s colonial past. The breed’s genesis can be found as far back as 1830 when Baron of Alfenas in Minas Gerais imported Alter Real stallions – a strain of Lusitano breed from Portugal – to breed with local mares, ultimately giving rise to Mangalarga lineages.


Brazil boasts an intricate tapestry of equestrian history, at its core is the Mangalarga Marchador breed which dates back to 1740 and serves as an indicator of this country’s centuries-old equestrian traditions.

Joao Francisco, a Portuguese settler in Brazil, established this breed when he moved to hacienda Campo Alegre. Adopting his hometown’s name ‘Junqueira’ as his surname, his legacy in equestrian circles continued through Gabriel Francisco Junqueira who is widely acknowledged for refining and promoting it today.

Dom Pedro I, Emperor of Brazil from 1798-1834 and son of Joao IV of Portugal, gave Baron an Alter Real stallion named Sublime as a gift. Sublime had an illustrious pedigree descended from horses imported by Dom Joao VI during Napoleon’s invasion of Iberia to preserve this valuable breed from being exterminated during battle.

Sublime was paired at Hacienda Campo Alegre with carefully chosen mares, predominantly Spanish Jennets and Andalusians, known for their swift ambling capabilities and smooth gait. Their progeny displayed many characteristics renowned today among Mangalarga Marchador breeders such as its gentle temperament and rhythmic marcha – an incessant cadenced gait.

Over the 20th century, Brazil embraced Mangalarga Marchadors as their national horse breed. Breed standards were developed and in 1949 the Brazilian Association of Mangalarga Marchador Breeders (ABCCMM) was formed to oversee and promote their development and promotion.

Today, the Mangalarga Marchador stands as an emblem of Brazilian equestrian history as well as one that is beloved and admired worldwide. Replete with associations and enthusiasts located all across continents, its story continues to develop over time, reflecting both deep-seated traditions as well as present day relevance.

Unique Gaits Of Mangalarga Marchador:

Mangalarga Marchador horses are famed for their unique ambling gaits that stand out from traditional walk, trot, and canter gaits seen among most horse breeds. This breed displays:

Marcha Picada: Marcha Picada is a four-beat gait which allows horses to ride smoother. They move their legs on either side together in an almost pacing motion while using each beat as a support.

Marcha Batida: This diagonal four-beat gait consists of the horse moving its diagonal pairs of legs nearly together but not quite simultaneously like in trotting, providing slightly elevated movement compared to Picada.

Both gaits are known for their smoothness, providing riders with comfort even over longer distances.

Physical Attributes:

A medium-sized horse, the Mangalarga Marchador typically stands between 14.2 and 16 hands high. Known for their robust and athletic builds characterized by slightly rounded croup, strong legs, and almond-shaped eyes; although any color may exist among them – bay, gray chestnut or roan being particularly prevalent.
Breeds known for their stamina include Arabians. Their smooth gaits ensure less fatigue among riders over extended distances.

Mangalarga Marchadors are versatile vehicles that can thrive in different environments ranging from the Brazilian countryside to international equestrian facilities.


At the core of its temperament is its gentle character; whether a child approaches for the first time or an experienced rider guides it through intricate maneuvers, the Mangalarga Marchador responds with calmness and composure.

The Mangalarga Marchador boasts an extraordinary intelligence that enables it to quickly grasp new concepts and adapt to diverse situations, while at the same time maintaining an acute sense of perception – this breed excels at reading its rider’s mood and changing its behavior in response to subtle cues, making them an invaluable ally in both recreational riding scenarios and competitive situations.

The Mangalarga Marchador offers an unparalleled combination of gentleness, intelligence, and adaptability in its temperament. Not only can this breed impress with physical prowess, but its endearing personality also wins hearts over. Anyone lucky enough to experience being companioned by one will attest that this breed provides emotional depth that truly cannot be equaled elsewhere.