Wine Horses

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Inscribed in 2020 (15.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Ayuntamiento de Caravaca de la Cruz, 2012

Los Caballos del Vino (Wine Horses) takes place each year from 1-3 May in Caravaca de la Cruz and forms part of the fiestas held in honour of the Santísima y Vera Cruz in Caravaca. The equestrian ritual consists of a series of events in which the horse is the protagonist. The process of enjaezamiento involves dressing the horses in beautiful cloaks richly embroidered in silk and gold thread. Various parades are then held, showcasing the horses and the cloaks through the streets, accompanied by four horse handlers on foot followed by the entire town. Finally, the most awaited moment is a race against the clock up the hill to the castle, with the horses running with four handlers up to the fortress, where prizes are awarded for the race and for the embroidered cloaks. Knowledge and techniques relating to caring for, breeding, harnessing and handling the horses are transmitted within families and groups, and the embroidery techniques are learned in workshops and embroidery families. The relationship between humans and horses, based on respect and collaboration, is also passed down through the generations. The two activities of wine-growing and horse-breeding form an inherent part of the economy, history and culture of the area and the festival showcases values such as comradeship and solidarity, with everyone feeling represented as part of a socially united group.

Embroidered horse mantels
Presentation of the beauty of the horses
The element passed on to the new generations
2nd May morning street processions
2nd May concludes with the main race
3rd May - the children participate in the festival's parades
The horseman and teams wear traditional clothes and the horses are dressed in decorative costumes, 'mantels', that are made each year
Awards for the best turned out horses
The tradition in passed down through the generations
The representatives of the festival
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