All About the Azteca Horse: Breed Profile, History, Characteristics, & Facts


The Azteca horse breed is Mexico’s national horse. It is an uncommon breed in the United States, even though there is a registry for them called the American Azteca Horse International Association.

All About the Azteca Horse - Savvy Horsewoman

History and Origins

Intended for the Mexican Horseman, the Azteca horse was originally bred in Mexico in 1972. Three breeds were crossed to create the Azteca’s foundation bloodline, which are the Andalusians, Criollos, and Quarter Horses. After the breed’s international registry was founded in 1992, the breed became the official national horse of Mexico. 

After these Mexican-bred horses emerged, an American subtype of the breed called the American Azteca appeared that included bloodlines from the Quarter and Paint horse breeds.

Azteca Horse Breed Statistics

Height and Weight

Compact but powerful horses, an Azteca’s height ranges depending on their gender. Stallions and geldings range from 15 – 16.1 hands tall, while mares range slightly smaller at 14.3 – 16 hands. As far as weight goes, Azteca horses can range from 1,000 – 1,200 pounds depending on how muscled they are.

Color and Markings

This breed can be found in all solid coat colors, with gray horses being particularly common. The only colors you will not find in the Azteca horse breed are skewbald, piebald, or spotted coats. The Mexican Azteca registry permits white markings on the face and legs, but not on the body. The American Azteca registry permits Azteca horses of pinto coloring. 

Conformation

The Azteca horse can be found with a convex or straight face with expressive eyes, set within a graceful and lean head with small pricked ears. Even with this horse’s lean head, the breed has a muscular, slightly-arched neck that leads into long shoulders and a deep, broad chest.

Unique Characteristics of the Azteca Horse

The biggest unique characteristic of the Azteca breed is its versatility. Excelling in many different disciplines and activities, there are not many breeds today that have the same amount of versatility as the Azteca horse. With its sure-footedness, strength, and agility, Aztecas can easily cross between disciplines. 

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Azteca Horse Facts
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Azteca Horse Temperament

The Azteca horse breed is known for having hot temperaments and high levels of endurance. With training, they can become great mounts for riders who are looking for an athletic, active mount. 

Grooming the Azteca Horse

While they do not need any special grooming, owners do tend to let their Azteca horses’ manes grow out. This will entail careful maintenance, including detangling and conditioning, to keep them free of tangles and in good condition. They can benefit from having their long manes braiding regularly, keeping them clean during activities such as riding and turnout. It is also recommended to stay on top of hoof care to also accommodate this breed’s active lifestyle.

Nutrition for the Azteca Horse

The Azteca horse breed will benefit from a diet that consists of quality forage, hay, or grass, enhanced by a grain or ration balancer. Being so athletic and high-energy, they will need enough calories to help support their lifestyle.

Common Health Issues for the Azteca Horse

Rarely having issues with obesity, Azteca horses are prone to being underweight due to underfeeding for this high-energy breed. Other than ensuring that your Azteca horse is properly fed, however, there are no known diseases specific to this breed.

Azteca Horse Common Uses and Talents

From the moment Mexican ranchers started breeding them to now, the Azteca horse breed is still fulfilling its original purpose of doing ranch work by using their excellent cow senses. However, Aztecas are talented in other English and Western disciplines. This breed is versatile in anything from jumping to dressage, driving to trail riding, and more. Their high intelligence makes them versatile in both competitive and working circles.

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Facts About the Azteca Horse

As previously stated, the Azteca is the national horse of Mexico. One significant difference between the American and Mexican registries is that the American registry has never incorporated Criollo bloodlines, whereas the Mexican registry allows nothing but Andalusian, Quarter Horse, and Criollo bloodlines. Between 10,000 to 15,000 Azteca horses have been registered in Mexico’s Azteca Horse Association. The Mexican registry has a rigorous inspection process that is required for an Azteca horse to pass, and about 1,000 horses pass this inspection annually. As can be expected due to the fact that this breed was created in Mexico, you’ll find the vast majority of the Azteca horse breed there.

Famous Azteca Horses

One famous Azteca is a stallion named Casarejo, who was born in 1972 at the Centro de Reproduccion Caballar Domecq in Texcoco, Mexico, as the first Azteca horse. Beyond that, there are no records of famous Azteca horses since they are so uncommon in the U.S.

Is the Azteca Horse Right for You?

Since the Azteca horse has great versatility and cow sense, it makes a great horse for different riders. It is not a great choice for inexperienced riders, however, as the Azteca breed can be opinionated and have a lot of energy. This is really only a good breed choice for a confident and experienced rider who is looking for a talented, athletic horse with versatility in both working a ranch and successfully competing in any desired discipline.

How to Adopt or Buy an Azteca Horse

It is very difficult to find an Azteca horse since they are native to Mexico and are extremely rare in the U.S. It is very unlikely that you will find an Azteca to adopt or rescue, so be prepared to look for a specialized breeder and also pay for transportation.

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Azteca Horse FAQs

How much does an Azteca horse cost?

If you plan to buy a young Azteca horse, they can cost as low as a few thousand dollars. The more trained an Azteca horse is, the higher the cost, with them usually selling for about $10,000 or more.

How big do Azteca horses get?

The Azteca horse breed size varies based on gender. Azteca stallions and geldings are 15 – 16.1 hands tall, while mares are smaller and average at a height of 14.3 – 16 hands.

Where do Azteca horses come from?

The Azteca horse breed originates from Mexico.

Are Azteca horses good for beginner riders?

Due to their hot temperament and endurance, the Azteca horse would not be ideal for an inexperienced rider. They are really only best suited for experienced riders prepared to handle a fiery horse such as the Azteca.

How rare is an Azteca horse?

The Azteca breed is very rare in the United States, though they are starting to gain popularity.

How fast are Azteca horses?

The Azteca horse breed is compared to the Quarter Horse in terms of speed, and is unmatched in covering short distances. 

Conclusion

While uncommon in the USA, the Azteca breed is a versatile horse originating from Mexico. With bloodlines being drawn from Andalusians, Quarter Horses, and Criollos, the Azteca horse breed is a warmblood with a hot and opinionated temperament. The breed is not suited for beginner riders, but can be very useful for experienced riders in multiple disciplines.

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