What is Garrocha
The Garrocha is a lance or pole, it comes in different lengths depending on what it is being used for. Centuries ago it was used as a weapon during the wars. In Spain it is used by the vaquero (cowboys) on farms to move cattle around rather than roping and to help bring stock in. It is used to keep the bulls of the horses while riding around the pastures stock checks.
The fighting bulls live in large paddocks. They are usually bred by very wealthy land owners – hence the reason why the riders carry the Garrocha. On occasions it is used in the bull ring as part of the performance.
It is also a competition where two men on horseback chase a bull and the rider with the Garrocha needs to get the bull with a single clean knock-over, as marks will be lost if more than one attempt is made. They also use this technique to test young stock for suitability as potential fighting bulls, the animal is bowled over, and a time is taken until it turns on its tormenters. It is then graded for its courage and resistance to this treatment.
It is also used as one of the obstacles to be scored on, in Working Equitation. Training for this part of the competition helps tremendously with rider skill, balance and seat.
It has now developed into an artistic skilful performance. The pole is made from different materials nowadays, originally it was made from wood, it is from 12 – 14 feet long depending on the height of the horse and is being viewed by audiences all over the world.
It takes years to train a horse to its full potential with the Art of Garrocha (likened to training for dressage, reining etc.). Without the horse having full fitness and correct alignment it will break down and will be unable to make the tight manoeuvers correctly and gracefully, which is Art of Garrocha – discipline.