In the Coachella Valley in California, home to the famous music festival, a group of young female equestrians are taking part in a sport that pays tribute to women’s history.
Training on a ranch in Indio Hills, the group of ten young girls aged between seven and twelve years of age ride in what is called the lienzo, a round arena, performing synchronized movements and patterns similar to dressage quadrilles or the RCMP Musical Ride.
Three major differences set these girls apart from those other equestrian sports. For one thing, the routines are performed without music. For another, the riders all ride sidesaddle. And last but not least, did we mention they’re under the age of 12?
The sport and the beautiful costumes the riders wear pay tribute to adelitas, which were female soldiers who rode into battle during the Mexican Revolution. Today escaramuzas teams take part in Mexican charreria, which is similar to an American rodeo. It is the only equestrian sport open to women during charrerias. Escaramuzas translates to “skirmish”, and charra means horsewoman who rides in traditional Mexican garb (charro is the masculine); put them together and it’s an all-female riding troupe performance in traditional costumes.
The team based in Coachella have dubbed themselves Las Escaramuzas Charra Alteza and they are the only youth team in the area and the only escaramuzas team in the under-12 category in the United States.
The team was founded in 2021 and has set its sights on competing in the international championship in Querétaro, Mexico, this summer. Costs anticipated for the trip are in excess of $20,000, so the group organizations have launched a GoFundMe page to raise the money.
Watch the newscast about the team here (skip to :21 second mark)