We meet Manuel
Rodriguez Gonzalez - Doma Vaquera Champion of Spain
month we had the privilege of being introduced to Manuel Rodriguez
Gonzalez the Doma Vaquera champion of Spain, (2001) and Working
Equitation, Doma de Trabajo, Gold Medallist (2000).
He invited us
into his home and Equitation Training Centre in Arcos de la Frontera,
Spain and put on an amazing display of true horsemanship. Watching
this man and horse perform in harmony from a vantage point of the
unbelievably breathtaking views across this picturesque landscape,
was like watching a mythical centaur dancing across the sky.
Rodriguez Gonzalez (Manolo) was born in 1970. After finishing his
studies, he devoted his time caring for his father's horses and
it is from his father that he has learnt everything he knows. As
a child he never dreamt that he would become so dedicated to horsemanship
as to reach championship status.
started off his training in Doma Clasica, which he learnt at home.
The fact that his home had a continuous stream of English, German,
Belgian and Austrian visitors in search of the art of horsemanship
led him to travel to England at a young age to learn a language
that would assist him with international relations back home. On
his return from England, he decided to join the Royal School of
Equestrian Art in Jerez where for six years he studied the techniques
and theory that he has needed in his professional life. Although
he inherited his love and understanding of animals from his father,
he learnt the finer points of showmanship at the aforementioned
he finished his studies at the Royal School of Jerez, he took advantage
of a once in a lifetime opportunity and accepted a six-month post
in the Dominican Republic as the director of a riding extravaganza.
The job actually lasted eight months and was very hard work. Manolo
directed a team of eight riders and thirty horses, performing displays
in every corner of the island. These displays were performed at
night and the rider's costumes were illuminated. Although this was
good experience it was not the success that the organizers had hoped
Since his return
to Spain, Manolo has spent his time training horses and competing.
In October 2000, he went to Camaiore near Pisa in Italy to compete
in the 5th European Championship of Working Equitation. Teams from
France, Italy, Portugal and Spain took part in this annual event
which is hosted each year by a different participating country.
Championship consisted of three phases: dressage, obstacle course
and separation of cattle. The dress code and tack is different for
each team and is representative of Working Equitation in their home
country: Camargue in France, Marenmano in Italy, Campino in Portugal
and Vaquero in Spain. Manolo was awarded a gold medal for his performance
in the dressage and received a trophy as the European Doma Vaquera
In 2001, he
went to Malaga to compete in the Spanish Doma Vaquera Championship.
He came first and is at this time the current champion. Manolo and
his anglolusitano mare, Enamorada, make a perfect duo. He is convinced
that his success has only been possible because Enamorada shared
his desire to win. When competing, he trusts her to be attentive
to his aids and speaks to her very softly so as not to alert the
judges. He says that relationships with animals are sometimes better
than with people.
currently lives in Arcos, near Jerez de la Frontera. He works from
dusk until dawn with his horses and is rarely seen in town. His
friends and relatives tend to visit him at his place. He has held
clinics in Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg but says that regardless
of where he is, he is doing what he enjoys best and wouldn't change
his lifestyle for anything.
be running a series of Doma
Vaquera and Doma Clasica training clinics in the UK, which are
being organised by DomaVaquera.Info. If you would like more information
or would like us to arrange training in your country, please contact