Candela Gonzalez: Blog en-us (C) Candela Gonzalez (Candela Gonzalez) Fri, 21 Jan 2022 18:40:00 GMT Fri, 21 Jan 2022 18:40:00 GMT Candela Gonzalez: Blog 120 69 The 5 Cavalry Units of Morocco. History and tradition. Morocco’s equestrian culture might not be widely known to the world but it sure is intriguing. Of all the oriental equestrian cultures, people are most familiar with the Beduin, the people of the Arabian gulf. The Berber, whose roots expand all of North Africa are also a horse culture, even before the Arabians came to their sands. Contrary to what others might think its presence is strong and imposing. Out of all the countries I have visited, when learning about an equestrian culture I have identified and observed certain elements that define it. The terrain, the native horses, historic events, but in Morocco there are two elements in particular that differ their equestrianism from others. Over time I have come across several passages in the Quran that speak of horses, most notably this one: 

Allah took a handful of southerly wind, blew his breath over it, and created the horse. He spoke to him and said, I have made thee like no other, all the treasures of the world lie between thy eyes. Though shall cast my enemies between thy hooves and carry my friends upon thy back. The saddle shall be the seat of prayers to me. Thou shall find happiness all over the earth, and though shall be favoured above all other creatures.  Thou shall fly without wings, and conquer without any sword, O, Horse!” 

With this passage it is why Moroccans always state that horses in their culture are considered sacred, to posses a horse is one of the highest honours almost as a symbol of distinction. Curiously a great deal of historical references and quotes on horsemanship are associated to cavalry and warfare, thus also shaping cavalry philosophy and military concepts. From my findings I cannot find any other resemblance to cavalry gunfire charges in the world like the Berber.

Tbourida Trophee Hassan II Rabat MoroccoThe gunpowder play

What once started as a simple tribal game and training exercise, became the basis for cavalry attacks in the region. A practice that is still present today and is known as ’Tbourida’ more familiar to us as ‘the gunpowder play’. It is the traditional equestrian art in Morocco by excellence and performed in any special occasion. In competitions the best charge is the one that manages to best maintain the formation of the column of horses when charging at the gallop, and the synchronisation of the firing of the muskets. The more synchronised the gunfire the louder the shot which is as strong as any artillery canon. 

This is their heritage and is still present in their countries cavalry units today. According to old references in museums and art galleries, Berber riders would charge standing as high as possible on the stirrups in order to gain a vantage point when firing. This is still seen in Tbourida, and the characteristic salute of the Moroccan Royal Guard and Cavalry school of Temara is to stand in their stirrups. 

Where as in most countries I have seen between two and three mounted units of different security forces, Moroccos has the Grand total of five. 

1. The Moroccan Royal Guard: The oldest military Cavalry in the country at the service of the Royal Family. They are the most symbolic representation of Morocco´s equestrian and Cavalry Heritage. It descends from the Black Guard, founded in 1088 by Sultan Yusuf ibn Tashfin as his personal guard. They where named as such at the time for their dark skin, as the Sultan chose warriors from the southern regions of his Berber empire due to their Loyalty. Regions such as Mauritania, Mali, Senegal and even Sudan. The guard reached the hight of its magnitude in the 17th century, during the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail I. It can be said that Mouldy Ismail executed the writings of the Quran on horses literally. His guard became a cavalry of 12,000 horses, for which he built stables to house every single one. The stables are still present today in Mekhnes, standing in ruins due to an earthquake, but its scale remains testament to the Sultan’s devotion to horses.

It became the subject of the famous paintings of Eugene de la Croix, most notably the ceremony of the ‘Bay’a’, the renewal of allegiance ceremony.  The Bay’a is probably the only ceremony today where a current reigning monarch still rides out on horse back.

Every year King Mohammed VI of Morocco on the anniversary of his coronation 23rd of July rides out of the Royal Palace in Rabat escorted by the Royal Guard for the renewal of allegiance from his subjects.

The main base of the Moroccan Royal Guard is in the Royal Palace of Rabat, but the guard is spread out throughout the entire country, standing guard at each of the Kingdoms imperial palaces, such as the palaces in the cities of Fez, Casablanca, Marrakech and many more. 

Royal Guard at the Mousoleum of Hassan II - Rabat

2. The Royal Armed Forces: The Royal Cavalry School of Temara.

The base of the Cavalry Unit of the Moroccan Royal Armed forces is located at the Royal Cavalry School in Temara, south of Rabat. It is the most prestigious Equestrian academy in the Kingdom, training riders for any of the five units, and provides equestrian courses with certified Diploma’s to both military and civilians. Its facilities hosted the World Equestrian military Championships in 2004. Apart from, dressage, showjumping and eventing it also trains in the traditional Moroccan Riding. 

3. Gendarmerie Royale 

The Para-Military Cavalry Unit. Much like the Spanish Guardia Civil, they patrol the vast terrain of the country. From the coastal beaches in the west, across the rugged and harsh Atlas Mountains, through the rocky flats, all the way to the dunes of the Sahara. Horses are a great asset to these areas, as often they can reach certain places better than with vehicles.

Gendarmerie Royal Maroc El Jadida 2018Gendarmerie Royal Maroc El Jadida 2018 4. DGSN Surete Nationale 

A relatively new Cavalry Unit that has been formed with its base in Kenitra, north of Rabat. The horses procured for this unit are varied, part from their native horses such as Arabians and Berbers the unit has also procured Friesians and Spanish Horses for their various functions. They performed together with the Spanish National Mounted Police this past November in SICAB and shall both join the Garde Republicaine for joint performance of the 3 units in Avignon this coming January. 

Policia nacional y DGSN Maroc 2018Policia nacional y DGSN Maroc 2018

5. Auxiliary forces. 

This Branch of the armed forces acts like a reserve and also holds its own cavalry unit. Its purpose is to provide support to any of the four other units should they require it. 


(Candela Gonzalez) Cavalry EL Garde Gendarmerie Jadida Marocaine Morroco Nacional nationale Police Policia Republicaine Royale Surete Sun, 09 Dec 2018 19:37:27 GMT
Cronica de Rejoneo: Galan, Ventura y Vicens en Cuenca

πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¦La Feria de San Julian de Cuenca termino con una corrida de rejones de Sergio Galán, Diego Ventura y Lea Vicens. El sol no acompaño la corrida, que comenzó con una ligera lluvia en el paseíllo pero que ceso durante el resto de la tarde. El Primer toro lo lidio Sergio Galán, recibiendo el toro a porta gayola. El toro con gran fuerza en la salida siguió a "Amuleto"a galope tendido por toda la plaza. La arena de la plaza no favoreció a los toros de Pallarés y Benítez Cubero que causo muchas caídas de los astados y los rejones no pudieron aprovechar muchos de los arranques fuertes. 

En una corrida de rejones no solo los rejoneadores expresan su estilo y su arte con gestos y expresiones. Mirando mas de cerca los equinos también transmiten características parecidas que transmiten y realzan la maestría de sus jinetes. ´Betico´ de Lea Vicens desprende constantemente gran expresividad a lo largo de toda la lidia frente al toro. Un gesto de gran bravura que acompaña también la mirada intensa de su amazona, y al igual que ella, nunca perdiendole la vista al astado sea cual sea el tranco a trazar. Espíritu verdadero de caballo torero. 

Igual de interesante de observar es ´Capricho´, caballo de Banderillas de Sergio Galán que cada pocos trancos, agranda uno que proporciona momentos e instantes tan impactantes como este. Resaltando así la destreza de Galán con las Banderillas a dos manos. Tanto Galán como Vicens recibieron una unica oreja en la tarde a diferencia de Ventura que abrió la puerta grande con dos, resaltando con sus corceles ´Nazari´ y ´Bronce´con una faena de gran templanza y cadencia. 


(Candela Gonzalez) cuenca diego feria galan julian. lea rejoneo san sergio toros ventura vicens Thu, 23 Aug 2018 20:46:53 GMT
Independence Day India Special: The President's Bodyguard of India πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§On this day 15th of August 1947, India became independent from the British Empire. Very few are aware that prior to this what is known today
as Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, where together up until then one single nation. With Independence, India was divided into three into what is now Pakistan India and Bangladesh. 

πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¦En este día 15 de Agosto de 1947, la India se independizo del imperio Británico. Pocos conocen que anterior a esta fecha la India consistía en lo que hoy día son India, Pakistan y Bangladesh. Por lo tanto en esta fecha historica pocos conocen que aparte de la Independencia esta parte del Subcontinente se dividió en tres y de la original India surgieron las fronteras de estos tres países como se conocen hoy. 

πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§This day in particular is extra special for the President's Body Guard of India(PBG). The Senior most regiment of the Indian Army. Today National Geographic India will premier a documentary on this unique Cavalry Regiment. A documentary I highly recommend to see. 

πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¦Este día en particular es todavía mas especial para el regimiento de caballería de la Guardia Presidencial del Presidente de la India. Hoy por la tarde el canal de National Geographic en la India estrenara un documental sobre este regimiento de caballería tan único. Un documental muy recomendable. 

πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§In my visit to India last November I got to photograph this extraordinary cavalry regiment. Founded in 1773 the President's BodyGuard descends from the guard of the last Governor General of the British Raj, Lord Mountbatten. Hence the regiment was established by the British where to the eye one can see certain similarities with the British Household Cavalry, in terms of the uniform esthetics and weaponry. What makes the regiment of the President's Bodyguard so imposing is that in its presence one feels to have gone back in time. One gets the feeling that not much has changed for the PBG in its 245 year history same as its base at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Neither have their practices and their rituals still maintaining their Equestrian military trainings from all these years especially the art of tent pegging which is a discipline that Indian Cavalry officers excel in. 

πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¦En mi visita a la India el pasado Noviembre, tube la oportunidad de fotografiar esta caballería tan extraordinaria. Fundada en 1773 la Guardia presidencial desciende de la Guardia del ultimo Gobernador del Raj Británico de la India el Conde Mountbatten. Es por eso que a la vista se puedan ver algunas similitudes con la caballeria de la Reina de Inglaterra en aspectos como los uniformes y el armamento, pero lo que hace de este regimiento tan impactante es que al presenciarlo a uno le da la sensación de haber retrocedido en el tiempo. La Guardia Presidencial no parece haber cambiado mucho en sus 245 años de historia. Al igual que su sede en el Palacio Presidencial Rashtrapati Bhavan, sus practicas y sus rituales aun mantienen los entrenamientos ecuestres desde sus inicios, en especial la disciplina de las competencias ecuestres de armas. Una disciplina en la cual los oficiales de la India sobresalen. 

Happy 72nd Independence Day India. 

(Candela Gonzalez) Cavalry Celebration Day Horses Independence Day India India Military President's Bodyguard Wed, 15 Aug 2018 00:50:40 GMT
Gala Dos Escuelas. Jerez and Lisboa.

The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art in Jerez and the Portuguese School of Equestiran Art in Lisbon, rode in a joint performance at the riding school in Jerez on Friday the 13th of July 2018. It is rare to see any of the four Schools of Equestrian Art perform together. All four schools together have only performed together twice, in 2007 and 2012. I got the chance to photograph them during the rehersals and the show which allowed for a great photographic experience. 

(Candela Gonzalez) Horse Portugal Show Spain Sun, 22 Jul 2018 21:43:11 GMT