Horse fans and riding festivals

The love of horses is common in Sardinia.  The healthy, well-groomed animals are proof of this.  In addition, even non-riders love to attend riding festivals, which take place annually on the island, especially in the western towns and cities.

 

Photo: Ilja van de Kasteele, Sa'Sartiglia
 

At the riding festival called Sa'Sartiglia, which takes place every year at Carnival, horses bedecked with flower garlands are led through the narrow alleys and streets of the towns.  The riders are dressed in traditional clothing, their faces hidden behind masks.  Enthusiastic throngs of people crowd along the sand-strewn streets of the old sections of Sardinian cities, waiting for the horses.  At a gallop, the horses storm by some with riders holding lances ready to pick up prizes along the way and others with Amazon women doing acrobatics on their backs.