!!!!Passion!!!! This is the one word that best describes the Spanish culture. It is filled with passion. Everything they do, they put their heart and soul into, and they fill it with passion. One of the many passions enjoyed by the Spanish is their love of horses, and the Andalusians in particular.
Andalusian horses are also called Priza Espanola, or of “pure Spanish race”. They originated in the Andalusia region of Spain. It is estimated that the first horses came to Spain about 30,000 years ago, and were domesticated and first ridden by the Spanish about 6000 years ago. It is a love affair that continues and flourishes stronger than ever still today. This love affair with Andalusian horses started with King Phillip II, back in the late 16th century. They then became the emblem of the Spanish Empire. By 1567, they were owned and ridden by at least 1/3 of Europe’s royalty. The creation of the National Association of Spanish Horse Breeders was also created in 1567. Andalusians quickly became the status symbol of honor and wealth. In the 17th and 18th centuries, they were even used as a form or currency and gifts between royalty and noblemen. Andalusians are known throughout the equestrian world for their athleticism and endurance. Descendants of the Andalusian are the Arabian and Lustiano breeds. Andalusians are very smart and like the Spanish, they too love their music and love to dance and perform to music.
One of our Spanish adventures was to attend a show that showcased many of these Spanish passions. It started with the performance of the Andalusians, followed by a Spanish grilled dinner, or comida a la plancha, and ended with Flameco music and dancing. I absolutely loved it. Larry enjoyed it, but was not into nearly as much as I was. He is not as empassioned with the arts like I am.
These horses were spectacular and were so well trained. They were most definitely well trained athletes and dancers and they were out to perform.
This jump is one of the most difficult jumps a horse can do because they are jumping up and kicking out at the same time. This shot was just pure luck.
These horses were all in perfect unison the whole time. Each one of the horse in the back was wearing a bell, so they made music of their own as they performed.
Coming out to dance. The horse was dancing flamenco just like the Senora was.
After the equestrian performances, we got to go back to the stables and meet “the stars”. They are so beautiful.
They are also very feisty too. I was petting one horse and another one, a couple of stalls down, threw a bit of temper tantrum because I was not giving him love too. So I went over to him and started giving him some love ( I know, I was rewarding bad behavior, a big no-no, but ….). He was good for a bit, then he started acting up again. I told him no more love if he continued. He stopped for a bit, as if he was listening to me, then started acting up again, just like a child that acts up when it doesn’t get its way. That was it. He blew it. By then, we were off to the dinner portion, so off we went from the stables to the dinner table.
The walls of the dining hall were lined with equestrian and bull fighting trophies. I know bull fighting is very much a part of the Spanish culture as well as the horses are, but I WILL NEVER EVER attend a bull fight. I am always rooting for the bull.
The food was all served family style. It was good, simple, hearty food. We all started off with an asparagus and cheese soup. Then the main meal came. It was a mixed grill of a chicken kebab and grilled pork chop with vegetables. The pork was delicious. There was also a vegetarian option available, but one of the ladies at our table was a vegetarian, and she was very disappointed with it. For dessert, it was some kind of a gelato/ice cream treat.
After dinner …. Let the dancing begin.
Flamenco music is a traditional form of music that is usually comprised of a guitar, a singer and dancers. It has a very rich and diverse history, and no one knows for sure when it was first introduced to Spain. It has influences mostly from the Andalusian Roma gypsies, known as Gitanos. It also has influences from the Rajasthan people from Northwest India, as well as from the Sephardic Jews and the Moors. It is believed to have its roots in Spain for as far back as anywhere between the 9th and the 14th centuries. It morphed and grew into its own form of music and dance, that has been a tradition in Spain and the Latin world ever since. The music is centered around a complex 12-beat rhythm that is an expression of extreme emotions and passions. Both men and women dance flamenco. The men are known for their elaborate foot work, whereas the women are more known for their beautiful ruffled dresses and more upper body and hand work than what is seen with the male dances. But the women dancers have some pretty elaborate footwork as well.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE flamenco music. I was studying flamenco and Spanish classical guitar for awhile. I most definitely need to get back into it.
I hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did. Next stop …. Two countries, two continents. Ciao for now.