At least it is in this quiet corner of Spain. To be perfectly honest, horses aren’t really my thing: a nasty bite from a child-eating donkey put paid to that.
As a boy, growing up in the shadow of Yorkshire’s satanic mills, the last thing on my mind were rosettes and dressage. Horsy types drove Range Rovers, spoke like the queen and doted over daddy’s little princess. The closest I came to the world of show jumping was sitting around the telly at Christmas; cheering Harvey Smith over the great wall at Olympia.
That said, there’s something quite compelling about the raw power, grace, and beauty of a herd of horses galloping free across open countryside.
Melanie on the other hand adores them. As a teenager she would happily work all day at her local stable for little more than a few hours riding. For this reason alone, I found myself agreeing to visit this year’s Feira do Carballo de O’ Saviñao (Horse Fiesta).
As we drove through the sleepy village of Escairon, the only hint of a village fiesta was a sagging
banner hanging limply from two lamp posts on opposite sides of the high street. We parked the car and strolled towards the recreation area. Overhanging fruit trees provided patches of shade as we walked along. Fallen figs, squashed under foot, littered the pavement and ripe plums were hanging tantalisingly out of reach.
The focal point for the first event was the village cattle market. A crowd of several hundred were gathered around a makeshift manége. My earlier preconceptions of watching daddy’s little princess, clad in jodhpurs and polished boots; parading around a field, were quickly dispelled.
associated with such events. To the winners went the bragging rights: rosettes were not required.
Each race contained three competitors. Twice around the track and the race was won. The event was an accident waiting to happen and we weren’t kept waiting long. On the final bend of the final lap of the third race, the inevitable happened. Two horses, tussling for position, collided. The inside nag lost its footing and both horse and rider tumbled to the ground.
A sharp intake of breath hushed the spectators. The young rider lay trapped; leg caught fast under his mount. Quickly, the horse sprang to its feet releasing the jockey. The young man rose gingerly and hobbled bravely into the centre of the pitch. He sank to the grass clutching his ankle. Without delay, his friend sprinted across the field in search of medical assistance. Moments later he returned, tossed him a carrier bag full of ice and left him to his own devises. Ten minutes later he was back racing: slightly less gung-ho but pride intact.
We’ve already pencilled this fiesta in for next year. If you’re in the area you’d do well to do the same.
Vine Watch – week 22
This week, we’ve been busy week in the bodega (wine cellar). With less than three weeks to go until we harvest this year’s grapes, it was time to bottle what remained of last year’s wine and clean the Vats in readiness for this year’s.
Copyright © 2014 Craig Briggs
Craig and Melanie own and operate a luxury farmhouse rental property called Campo Verde. To find out more about a stay at Campo Verde and Galicia in general, visit their website getaway-galicia
Craig’s book, Journey To A Dream, is available exclusively from Amazon, to purchase your copy click here for your national Amazon store.