Riding Pretty

Riding horses seems easy enough right? Well if you’re just riding them for fun yes. But riding them for competitions in a sport called Escaramuza is a whole other world. Liliana Galvan started riding competitively when she was 16 years old, now at the age of 20 she’s gained a little more experience and a lot more love for the sport.

This sport was not Liliana’s initial choice but for one reason or another she decided to give it a try. “I really didn’t want to be in it to begin with,” she says. “But riding horses is really fun, and it’s something different—not everyone rides side saddle and each girl owns their own horse”

Aside from making new friends within her riding team Liliana joined the team with her younger cousin Erica so she could have a familiar face join her on a new adventure. She says having her cousin around helped her prepare herself for what she was about to take on.
“Escaramuza’s is a team of eight girls riding side saddle and doing different formations,” says Liliana. “You’re riding while wearing these big dresses and hats. It’s a competitive sport and I enjoy competing against other girls.”

Escaramuza’s includes many different formations that the girls learn over the course of many practice sessions. Liliana explained that the team of girls learns new formations in about two days. One of their most intricate and adrenaline pumping formations is called a “punta.”

Two girls out of every team have to do a “punta,” where they start at the entrance and they run their horses into the main arena. In the center of the main arena there’s a square marked out on the ground; both girls must have their horse stop with in that square. While running towards the square, both girls must have their horse stomp six times and the horse can only slide a maximum of six feet while stopping. Doesn’t sound like just riding now, does it?

“We as a team have four competitions a year and then once a year we all compete individually within our own team,” Liliana says. Escaramuza competitions take place in various arenas and the prizes are never the same.

“One year, each girl on the team got a new saddle for their horse, another year we got a trailer for eight horses. Sponsors give us trophies and gift certificates, too.”

Being a part of such an exhilarating sport gives the girls a chance to see many different arenas both Mexican and American all over. Liliana’s favorite arena is the Resistol Arena in Mesquite, Texas. It’s an American arena, so it has a rectangular shape instead of the Mexican arenas that are more round. “It’s in doors, and we have more space which allows us to do more,” Liliana explains.

This sport is not only a sport that young girls can take part in, it’s a part of the Mexican culture. “It’s a Mexican tradition and there’s some sort of mother daughter bond,” she says. “It teaches you things about yourself.”

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