Every summer the mountain villages of Galicia, Spain’s northwestern region, celebrate A Rapa das Bestas, The Trimming of the Horses. This custom that some say dates back almost 350 years is for the most robust of the villagers who hike up the mountain, round up a herd of wild horses and drive them down to a corral in the village. After this arduous pilgrimage they jump into the corral, wrestle the horses to the ground and trim their manes with scissors.
It sounds straightforward enough. But you have to see this documentary of the Rapa das Bestas in the village of Sabucedo in order to even begin to understand the atavistic forces at work in this event: religion, tradition, personal superation, profit, bravado… And what’s that wisp of a girl doing in the midst of all those muscle-bound mozos wrestling with the horses?
Here’s the link to Juan Rayo’s splendid 26-minute documentary film (Spanish with English subtitles): http://youtu.be/gVsDMXl_zWk