Acoso & Derribo

picture of andalusian horses a la garrochaThis article will explain the history and culture of Acoso Y Derribo as well as provide some links to special websites.

I was first introduced to Acoso Y Derribo while attending a seminar about Doma Vaquera in south Texas. We were invited to watch a video in Spanish in which the riders rode towards the cattle and knocked them down with long sticks. When the bull would rise, the horsemen would follow and attempt to tip them over again.

The literal translation of Acoso Y Derribo is "harassment and demolition". A more loose translation would be "the chase and knockdown". It is also known as the "art of bull running on horseback".

Acoso Y Derribo is ... a competition that consists of galloping on horseback while trying to score with a "hit" on the cattle. This is accomplished by pairs (of riders), each participant having been provided with a garrocha (wooden pole with a small iron tip at the end that serves to prick the cattle), in order to knockdown the cattle. This type of competition can only occur in large areas, with many kilometers where it is not difficult the gallop. The score is obtained based on how each one of the cattle falls.

In the "old days", bulls were not chased and knocked for sport, but rather as a way to catch them! Perhaps they were in need of medical attention, or needed to be marked. The fierce fighting bulls of Spain are no match for a rider with a lasso. They need to be worked from a distance, hence the use of the garrocha or lance pole. Someone discovered that the bulls could be tipped if the lance was applied behind their hipbone.

The tipping is also used to score bulls as to their bravery and to cull the herds. The braver (meaner) and stronger the bull, the more likely he is to repeatedly get up and even attack the horse and rider.

Nowadays, the tipping of the bulls is a competition in which the riders are scored for tipping the bulls within the confines of a field. Acoso y derribo is mainly practiced in the southern province of AndalucĂ­a, Spain, but also in Extremadura, Castile, and Leon.

Interesting Facts about Acoso Y Derribo:

Competition Grounds for Acoso Y Derribo

Competition Signals and Vocabulary for Acoso Y Derribo

Rules of the Acoso Y Derribo Competition

The determination of the winners is very easy and objective. The maximum number of possible throws is two for the brave bulls and three for the tame cattle. It is considered a throw of three points whenever the bull falls with at least his abdomen touching the ground. In order to score six points, the bull will have to flip over. Negative points result from failing to throw a bull (minus six), not able to remove a bull from the corral in the traditional method (-3), throwing the bull before reaching the quadrilateral or after (-5).Each ride has its maximum time of three minutes to reach the quadrilateral and three minutes within the quadrilateral.

Templates in Time