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The Wine Horses

About 1250, the year, not the hour, the Christian defenders of Caravaca de la Cruz were thirsty. They'd run out of water and it looked as though the Moorish troops, besieging the castle, were going to capture it at last. But neither side had reckoned on a group of Knights Templar who loaded up some horses with wineskins (I suppose they knew what fish do in water) and ran the blockade. Situation saved.

So, nowadays, for a few days at the beginning of May, Caravaca has horses all over the place to remember and commemorate that event. The recreation of the running up the hill to the Castle/Church happens on May 2nd when horses and men run full pelt right through the centre of the milling crowds. For us though our day off was May Day so May 2nd wasn't an option.

For my Castillian speaking readers does this sound like a race to you? Concentración del Bando de los Caballos del Vino en la Plaza Elíptica iniciando el recorrido hacia la Plaza de los Caballos del Vino para el Concurso de Caballos a pelo. I certainly took it to mean there was going to be a bareback horse race but, in fact, there were just loads of horses having a bit of a walk through the town surrounded by thousands of people.

The majority of the horse handlers seemed to have a liking for knocking their charges around either with big whips or riding crops; nothing brutal you understand but definitely a bit heavy handed in my, non expert, opinion. The horses were skittish. We saw a couple slip their harnesses and take a short canter through the crowds. I don't suppose being surrounded by thousands of people, lots of them playing brass musical instruments at oompa oompa type volume whilst crowds of well wishers shout their support, scores quite as high on the horse pleasure scale as eating some green grass in a quiet field.

Anyway the horses had a walk and nearly everyone else got to have a drink or two. Good day then.


  1. Hello,

    I've been following your blogs for some time, and find they make fun reading and often give intriguing perspectives on things one has known for ever.
    Coming to your question to Spanish speakers, nothing in the words you quote suggests to me that a race would take place. More like an exhibition. But language in all sorts of printed material is so poor these days that no one can know for sure what is meant here. The sentence is gramatically incorrect anyway.


  2. Ah well, there you go. I thought that a pelo meant bareback riding, I added in competition for concurso and my English sensibility jumped to the only sort of competition I know with "naked" horses which would be a bareback race.


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