National Horse Fair, Golega, Portugal
06 Nov 2009 – 15 Nov 2009
The National Horse Fair (Feira Nacional do Cavalo) celebrates the equestrian life that is at the heart of this region and features one of Portugal’s finest horse breeds, the pure-bred Lusitano. Regarded as one of the country’s most important festivals, the event attracts breeders, horse enthusiasts and spectators from miles around who come to see these magnificent horses perform. The event is a great place to see authentic country life and there is also a market selling everything from locally-produced wines and roasted chestnuts to traditional clothing worn by the famous horsemen of the Ribatejo region.
The festival is divided into different competitions that include dressage, marathon, endurance riding, show jumping, junior gymkhana, horsemanship and dressage, among others. In addition there are traditional parades of riders and carriages, and the Portuguese Traditional Riding School Show.
Known as the St Martin’s Fair until 1972, The National Horse Fair takes place at the same time as the saint’s celebrations. In addition to the equestrian events there is also a bull run and a parade of red-waistcoated grooms games, exhibitions and parades.
Culinary treats include roasted chestnuts and barbecued chicken, washed down with a local wine, known as “foot water” (agua-pé). It’s made by adding water to the crushed remains of the grape husks at the bottom of the barrel. Although this doesn’t sound very appealing, in Golegã it’s a very popular tipple.