The Azteca is a Mexican horse breed that has a subtype called the ‘American Azteca’, which is mainly found in the United States of America. They can be found in any solid colour and the American Azteca can be found to have pinto colours. The Azteca is a well-muscled horse that is well known to compete in many Western riding and some English riding disciplines.
The Mexican registry for the original Azteca and the United States registries for the American Azteca have a number of registration rules that vary in a number of key aspects, which include the ancestral bloodlines and requirements for physical inspections.
This horse was first developed in Mexico in 1972 and was bred from a blend of Andalusian, American Quarter Horse and Mexican Crillo bloodlines. They then began to spread to the United States where the American Paint Horse blood was added.
It was initially bred as a horse for charros, who were the traditional horsemen of Mexico. The horse was officially recognised as the national horse of Mexico by the Mexican Department of Agriculture on November 4, 1982.
Most of the Aztecas in the world are still found in Mexico and according to the Texas Dept of Agriculture, the Mexican association has registered between 10,000 and 15,000 horses as of 2005. The Mexican registry also adds approximately 1,000 horses per year.
The three foundation breeds for the Azteca were chosen because of their combined athletic ability and their good temperament and also for certain physical characteristics. The three foundation breeds were the Andalusian (defined by the Mexican registry as either Pura Raza Española or Lusitano), American Quarter Horse, and Mexican Criollo or Criollo militar.
Azteca stallions and geldings tend to measure between 15 and 16 hands, and both sexes tend to weigh between 1,000 to 1,200 pounds (450 to 540 kg). The facial profile of this breed of horse is straight or convex and the neck is slightly arched. Overall Aztecas are very well muscled horses that have a broad coup and chest, as well as long sloping shoulders.
Gaits are very free and mobile with the natural collection derived from the Andalusian ancestry of the breed. Though the breed is found in all solid colours, gray is the one you see the most often. White markings are allowed on the face and lower legs by breed associations. The American Azteca registry also allows non-solid pinto coloration.