Saturday, April 19, 2014

Horse racing on the beach in Ribadesella

Horses have always been a part of the landscape in and around Ribadesella. As far back as pre-history, images of horses were drawn with primitive paints in the Tito Bustillo cave in town: one of which has been adopted as a logo for tourism.

Rodrigo De Balbin Behrmann / AFP/Getty Images

Horses have worked the land for centuries and have coped well with the heavy clay ground and rocky outcrops that feature widely in the landscape. There are still working horses around the village and many roam the fields and pastures throughout Asturias. Sadly a few of these are destined for the horse meat trade - appearing in a pie near you. In addition, there are still herds of semi-wild Asturcon horses roaming the local Sueve mountain range; a great sight should you be lucky enough to spot them.

Many local fiestas feature horses competing in cintas (riders charging with a small lance to hook loops and ribbons for prizes), dressage events, endurance and strength competitions and parades. The horse, in its many forms, is interwoven into traditions and local customs. A more recent tradition which is growing in popularity is the annual Carrera de Caballo on Santa Marina beach on Viernes Santo (Good Friday).

The crowds gather along the promenade and watch the spectacle of beautifully groomed horses, racing in a circuit along the beach. This year I had to stress my camera equipment was for press purposes to be allowed onto the beach...well the blog is a form of reportage isn't it?

There are only three races but the excitement and expectation from the crowds is electric. The event is growing each year with dressage taking place today (Saturday) and many associated celebrations around town including a spectacular computerised projection onto the facade of the town hall - sadly we missed this as it wasn't advertised but managed to catch up with it via social networks and Youtube.

Here is a short film I took a couple of years ago of the racing on the beach:



  1. Great shots, as always. Gosh, that gorgeous black horse is like something out of a fairy tale!

    1. He was rather beautiful....

  2. it looks like a busy and fun filled activity to watch.

  3. I come from an equine background and love these majestic creatures. I'd love to see the racing on the beach and I agree with Coco that the black horse is MAGNIFICENT.
    Many thanks for adding these wonderful creatures to #AnimalTales


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