Spanish Horse Tamers
Photographs by Vladimir PomortzeffYoung Galician horses lead a quite unconcerned life for almost the whole year. They just pasture freely all the year round in the endless green mountains of Galicia, an autonomous region in northern Spain. The idle ends in an appointed day of the summer when all horses are driven together down to a closed round area in a nearest village known as a 'curro', where a mass taming of unbroken horses takes place every year. The Galicians call this traditional national fiesta 'Rapa das bestas' or 'shearing of the beasts'. Brave local fighters known as 'aloitadores' have to saddle each of unbroken horses, maddened after their sudden remove from the mountains to the cramped curro, and then cut their tails and manes. After three days of unceasing stress all horses are driven back to the mountains for the rest of the year. The biggest horse taming in a Galician fashion takes place every year in the first weekend of July in the small village of Sabucebo, some 120 kilometers from the region capital Santiago de Compostela.
1. Rapa das bestas, a mass taming of unbroken horses, in the village of Sabucedo, Spain.
3. Aloitadores preparing to cut a mane.
5. Aloitadores Pepiño and Santi tame a horse.
7. Aloitadores drive unbroken horses together in one huge herd in the mountains around the village.
8. Recently the horses were stamped by red-hot iron, nowadays they just receive tags in their ears.
10. Horses are driven down to the village.
12. The huge herd of unbroken horses is driven down to the village of Sabucedo.
13. The curro are filling with unbroken horses.
14. The filled curro.
15. Rapa das bestas, a mass taming of unbroken horses.
16. Aloitadore Pepiño tames a horse.
20. Aloitadore Felipe tames a horse.
21. Aloitadore Xose Touriño holds a tail of a horse.
29. Colts looking for their mothers after the shearing.
30. Young girl collects horsehairs at the deserted curro after the taming.
The photographs of this feature were shot in July 2010 in the village of Sabucedo, Galicia, Spain.
Copyright © 2010 Vladimir Pomortzeff