In a country where bullfighting is still commonplace, I really didn't know what to expect when I received a text from a friend saying: "Tomorrow is 'rapa das bestas' in Sabucedo - very spectacular fights between humans and horses"!
Indeed it turned out that the Rapa das Bestas was probably the last thing I would have thought of and it turned out to be a fascinating day.
In Sabucedo, the horses, though owned by the villagers, are free to live in the woods on the hill during the year. However, with my limited equine knowledge, I wasn't aware of the hairdressing needs of such beasts. Every year the villagers round up the horses, drive them into a corral, and cut their hair.
We only went for the haircutting though, missing out the massive hangover that I presume 90% of the people there seemed to be suffering from (the other 10 percent still being heavily under the influence). We got into the seating around the corral a little before midday, and soon enough the 200 animals where herded into the arena. 200 animals in a space that size was presumably quite a culture shock for animals which are used to roaming freely and so there was a lot of angry neighing, biting of neighbours, kicking and the occasional reared brawl. This was about the most inhumane part of the ordeal, but it seemed that apart from the odd nibble, none of them was really hurt, save for the feelings of a few alpha males.
After a couple of hours and perhaps half the horses shawn, the groups called it a day and the horses were led back out of the corral.
(* The title of this post is in reference to a Mitchel and Webb sketch, and not of my own making)