Feria Del Caballo En Espanol is an art form performed on purebred Spanish horses over four times annually at Industry Hills Expo Center.
Every show features six to eight choreographies. This repertoire includes Doma Vaquera – an ancient Spanish riding discipline founded on cattle herding traditions – as well as classical dressage.
The Andalusian horse
The Andalusian Horse, commonly referred to as Purebred Spanish Horse or Pura Raza Espanola in its native Spanish language, has long been prized for its intelligence, docility, beauty and grace. They tend to reach 15.1 hands in height on average with thick manes and tails as well as well-defined withers and short backs – features highly sought after among horse enthusiasts worldwide.
Andalusians trace their heritage back to ancient Iberian Peninsula where cave paintings depicting equestrian activities have been found, as well as Iberian Barb horses introduced by invading Moors. Over centuries they were nurtured and kept pure by Carthusian monks who served as excellent trainers and breeders; even during Napoleon’s invasion when many horses were stolen from Spain’s herds only a small herd was saved to preserve its breed purity.
These horses are remarkable all-purpose performers, capable of excelling in almost every discipline. Dressage competitions and show jumping are common places they excel, due to their natural rhythm and suppleness; but these versatile horses can also be seen hunting seat, saddle seat, Western pleasure driving.
Institution in Jerez de la Frontera dedicated to celebrating and preserving Andalusian horses has as its mission the preservation and celebration of its ancestral abilities. Activities undertaken include training Haute Ecole riders, maintaining Doma Vaquera pastures and upholding breed prestige.
The Institution organizes an authentic equestrian ballet, featuring Spanish music and 18th century attire for horses and their riders to perform choreographies based on dressage or traditional horsemanship disciplines.
At the heart of every night is a competition featuring dancing horses. Standing on wooden platforms, these magnificent beasts dance or trot to music. Their horseman controls them with only one hand while performing intricate maneuvers such as pirouettes or breaking into gallop sequences with ease – ultimately crowning both dance and horse show competition winners at night’s end!
Feria del Caballo en Espanol draws thousands to Industry Hills Expo Center every four months and attracts around 700 horses according to organizer Carlos Jimenez whose family has been breeding purebred Spanish horses for 25 years and breeding purebred horses as part of their culture since that time. They offer daytime horse shows where entries are judged according to function, movement and appearance at Feria del Caballo events.
Apart from preserving Andalusian horses and teaching haute ecole riders, the school also engages in other activities including providing equestrian education and training carriage driving horses. Furthermore, its horses tour to various countries as ambassadors of Cadiz Province.
As a spectator at one of these training sessions, horses exhibit the same focus and dedication as riders. Their heads squint, they sway back and forth while bridles and reins are adjusted while trotting and high stepping to music played from a large speaker system.
Andalusian horses offer amateur riders natural beauty and majestic movements, traditional long manes and tails, reliable temperaments, as well as outstanding performances at international competitions – qualities which make them perfect candidates for dressage riding. Dressage competitors have taken to choosing this breed due to its great success at international competitions.
As in other disciplines, selecting the ideal horse for dressage makes all the difference in terms of success. A dressage horse needs a “corazon,” or heart, to desire doing what his rider asks of them; conformation matters less than having an eager, willing spirit that won’t give up until his task is completed. A skilled horseman’s ability to “read” their horse and understand its needs enables a horseman’s performance at such an advanced level; you can witness this during performances of “The Colts,” “Airs on Horseback,” “Pas de Deux”, “Passage and Piaffe”, “Domino On Horseback”, and “Airs Above the Ground”.
Stallions are herd animals, and it is their nature to form hierarchies within their group. Unfortunately, this can lead to conflict among competing stallions who vie for top status within the herd, so only experienced trainers should work with herd stallion behavior; otherwise the horses can become dangerous and difficult to manage.
Herd stallion behaviors are practiced not just for performance purposes, but to also keep herds safe in the field and prevent mares from being stolen by other stallions. Fighting between wild stallions often ends without serious harm being done – instead they often simply bluff and flee; in captivity however, fights between herd stallion may prove fatal or cause severe injuries to humans.
The show itself is an exhibition of equestrian skills derived from traditional cattle herding. A horseman rides his herding horse trotting, then galloping, altering rhythm with pirouettes, arreones (breaking into gallop), and other advanced movements to demonstrate his skills as an animal herder.
At Industry Hills Expo Center in Industry Hills, this performance takes place four times each year and welcomes all breeds of Spanish horses. Daytime competitions focus on function and movement while night-time performances evaluate dance. If a herd stallion wins both sections they are considered champions!