Every year thousands of people arrive to
the Galician village of Sabucedo (Spain) to participate in the 400-year-old
festival 'Rapa das bestas', the Shearing of the Beasts. Several hundreds of
wild horses are rounded up from the nearby mountains and put into the village’s
pen to be marked and their mane and tails trimmed. This taming tradition
unfolds throughout many villages of Galicia June onwards, till the end of
The very day of the Shearing, at 6:30am
a religious service is offered in Sabucedo’s parish church to request St.
Lawrence’s blessing, right before most experienced stockbreeders march on foot
or on horseback into the mountains -this time covered with thick haze- to find
and round up wild herds of horses.
Animals are driven down to the village
pen where they are locked till the shearing begins in ‘O Curro’ a traditional
corral, right in the middle of Sabucedo. Despite the soccer World Cup quarter
finals game between Spain and Paraguay, scheduled to coincide with the
ceremony, the ‘aloitadores’, people who grapple with the animals, keep their
complete focus on the age-old tradition, to subdue the horses in order to have
their mane and tails trimmed.
Before the shearing begins, pregnant
animals, fouls and colts are separated from the rest of the herd to avoid any
risks; while those that remain do not suffer any harm and are released in wild,
having been groomed and cleaned.