19 Jan, 2010 @ 14:15
1 min read

Holy horses!

IT is an awe-inspiring sight.

To celebrate the feast day of the patron saint of animals, highly-skilled Spanish horse riders jump through flaming bonfires in a death-defying spectacle.

As villagers look on in amazement, horsemen and their equally-courageous mounts embark on the heated leaps of faith.

Every year, the villagers of San Bartolome de Pinares, west of Madrid, are treated to the show – in honour of St Anthony Abad.

Before the sparks fly, the horses are blessed by a priest as part of the holy 500-year-old tradition that is believed to purify and protect the animals.

Egyptian-born Abad has been recognised as the patron saint of domesticated animals since the Middle Ages.

Let’s hope he continues to protect these brave horses.

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

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  1. This is barbaric and outrageous. And to blame it on the celebration of a saint. This is just another testosterone induced manic event. If these “men” want to show courage why don’t they just run through the bonfires on foot. The good people of Spain should speak out to have it banned.

  2. I totally agree with you Vivian and have posted a similar comment on a previously reported piece. I wish the Olive Press would stop reporting on such stuff as if it was something to be admired. It is cruel, barbaric and as you say, let´s see the wonderful “men” of Spain who put their courageous horses through such torture endure the same pain. Fortunately I am heartened by lots of my Spanish friends who agree that this pathetic demonstration of cruelty should be condemned. I could be a lot ruder and suggest that it is lack of testosterone that prompts some (not all by a long way) of the Spanish male to treat animals this way. Inadequacy in the trouser department, plus general obesity and thickness, so treat an inferior to cruelty seems to be the way.

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