Swimming horse race in San Fernando de Apure
In previous articles we have mentioned several horse races that take place in Spain. Today corresponds the turn to make mention of Venezuela where in its splendid plains a very singular race is realized.
In San Fernando de Apure the Horse Race is carried out swimming through the Apure River. It is an annual show in this city of the central plains of Venezuela. The race brings together thousands of cowboys and their families to commemorate an important historic battle.
The competitors cross the river to commemorate the battle of “Las Queseras del Medio”. This battle took place in the year 1819. Where the patriots led by the independence progenitors José Antonio Páez and “El Libertador” Simón Bolívar, defeated a Spanish elite force in a surprise attack after crossing the river.
Legend of the swimming horse Race
According to the legend, Páez, along with 153 of his best spearmen, crossed the river with his horses in recognition work, at times that prudently both sides expected the other to take the first step. Paez in a bold military action attacked and defeated more than 1,000 men of the infantry of the Spanish army, under the command of Pablo Morillo, a prominent general sent to quell the rebellion.
Competition of the swimming horse race today
Today, only horses cross the river, guided by competitors on board canoes. The spectators line up along a bridge to watch the preliminary races and for the final race. Participants compete for the honor, as well as for cash prizes.
The horse race swimming in the Rio Apure is a way to keep alive the traditions of the inhabitants of extensive plains, sparsely populated. These cover the center of Venezuela, 35% of the country, from the banks of the Orinoco River, to the east of the country, to the Venezuelan Andes, to the extreme west. Farmers and others are included among those who take part in the competition.
Characteristics of the race
The width of the river is about 1,800 meters, depending on recent rainfall. The race begins with a whistle so that the horses jump into the water.
Two men per canoe take part in the competition: One of them row furiously while the other holds a rein and encourages the animals to swim faster
This is how dozens of horses compete each year, between five and eight horses participate in each of the elimination rounds.
When the race ends, the competitors and spectators go to a nearby fairground. Where they have a feast in which grilled meat is plentiful, cold beer and traditional llanera music such as “el joropo”.
Other activities in San Fernando de Apure
In this way, adults enjoy the variety of activities within the framework of their fairs. In this case they enjoy watching the bullfights, the children play for prizes. It also includes the movement of the economy since own and foreign mount their posts. Therefore, they exhibit and sell a large number of articles alluding to fairs. Among the items they sell are cowboy hats, belts and leather boots.
It is important to emphasize that the traditions are kept alive year after year. All this is possible with the participation of all the actors involved. Since as a positive aspect it generates income to own and visitors
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