The most appropriate way to start a horsey blogg, must be with the most horsey event ever experienced in my entire horse life. Golegã International Horse Show in Portugal – This is a must see!! A spectacular Lusitano Festival – quite literally a unique experience that no one can forget. It is at Golegã, known as the ‘Capital of Horses’ located in the top of the Ribatejo region and home to many of the famous Lusitano Breeder estates.
This show, or feira started 1571. Every year since has horse lovers from all over the world celebrated the Lusitano horse. In this time the whole town of Golegã, transforms from it usual sleepy state to a frenzy of horses, carriages and food stalls. It is a party enjoyed by local people and foreign visitors alike. From late afternoon the streets are packed until the early hours. There’s a wide array of traditional food stalls, restaurants, bars and cafes and discos that stay open most the night.
The fair is always in November, over a 10 day period and must include the most important date of the 11th November, which is the The Feast of Saint Martin or Saint Martin’s Day, on this day the people eat roasted chestnuts and drink new wine. Being the most important day of the festival everyone dresses in the traditional Portuguese Riding attire, (although most dress up throughout the Festival, you usually see the finest clothing this day).
You can see the Lusitano showing classes in hand and ridden, dressage competition, working equitation and there are usually other competitions taking place, such as endurance and even eventing. Later in the evening in the centre’s main arena (The Manga) you can enjoy horses and riders with traditional outfits parades, beautiful classical shows, fast action games of horse ball and prize giving parades.
Situated around the Manga are the breeder’s ‘Casettas’, here you have the opportunity to meet the breeders. The ‘Casettas’ are small wooden houses designed to greet guests offer wines and olives along side each Casetta some examples of their horses are presented in stalls.
If you want to go to Golega, it’s about 1,5 hours drive from Lisbon. The best time to experience the feira is to stay there when it’s start to get dark, the atmosphere is getting really amazing when the air is filled with smoke from the roasting chestnuts and the BBQ’s.