Golega Horse Fair '17

A Snapshot of Golega, the ultimate Horse Fair



TEXT Rita Fernandes , Saroné du Toit


PHOTO Rita Fernandes , Rita Vitorino , Renate Skeie

Golegã - home of the Lusitano horse

Golegã - home of the Lusitano horse. Every year the sleepy town comes alive, undergoing an unique transformation for the "Feira Nacional do Cavalo" - National Horse Fair. Starting in the 18th century, the fair has celebrated Portuguese agriculture, culminating on St Martin’s day with bonfires and roasted chestnuts to toast the new year’s wine. Since 1972 it has focused on a cornerstone of Portuguese agricultural history  - the Lusitano breed. Today the fair showcases the best of everything: Lusitano breeding, horse sport, Portuguese food and culture. From 3-12 November, thousands of horses and people gather to party together, in what is considered one of the ultimate equine showcase experiences. Enjoy Abafadinho and roasted chestnuts while watching exceptional horsemanship in both competitions and displays.

The program covers all equestrian sports, featuring Breed Championships, traditional Working Equitation, Dressage, Show Jumping, Driving, Equitation, Endurance and Horseball. Special moments like the St Martin’s day Pilgrims procession, the Portuguese Riding Scholl presentation and the Costume Ball are not to be missed. The Fair provides the perfect snapshot of everything uniquely Portuguese: great people, food, culture, history and a zest for life. But above all, it celebrates the one and only, magnificent Lusitano horse. The Horse of Kings.



Find out more about this year's competitions

Model & Movements

Golegã hosts one of the most important competitions of model and movements for the Lusitano breed. This year, over 50 stallions competed at the Arneiro. The 3 year-old-class is presented in hand and counted several medals, with the winner Jogador taking home the gold for the 3rd time this year. The 4 year old class was won by Torres Vaz Freire Stud, with Incrivel TVF winning a Gold medal under the saddle of Rodrigo Torres. The 5 year old stallions counted the largest number of competitors and awarded medals. Homero JCL, owned by Las Fuentecillas Sporthorses and winner of last year’s 4 year old category, won both his class and the title of Champion of Champions with the rider João Duarte Rafael.

Dressage Competitions

Every year Golegã hosts national dressage competitions, including the always awaited Kurs, where some of Portugal’s best teams perform advanced exercises to the sound of music. Intermediate GP and Grand Prix levels took place at the central arena of Arneiro. Although two riders reached the score of 69.500% - Ricardo Moura Tavares with Baluarte MV and Maria Pais Amaral with Fidalgo TVF - Ricardo took the lead in Inter GP by scoring higher in artistic. The incredible team of Rodrigo Torres and Califa - a horse of his own breeding – reached 73.208%, taking home the trophy for Grand Prix level.

Working Equitation

Some of the bigger names of this discipline competed at the Arneiro during the first weekend of the fair. Working Equitation combines a three-test competition, with dressage, maneability and, the crowd’s favorite, the speed test, where riders race through the obstacle course. Seniors class was won by Gilberto Filipe with Assuão. In Masters, the team of Vasco Mira Godinho and powerhouse mare Diospira, owned by Casal dos Rios, won the first place of this Portuguese Cup competition.


Night Shows

Golegã is fun by day but truly comes alive at night. Every night a new show filled the Arneiro with color, music and breathtaking performances: special homages to figures of the world of the Lusitano, performances by the outstanding Portuguese School of Equestrian Art and varied performances by renown working equitation and classical riders. The fire carousel by working equitation riders has quickly become one of highlights of these shows, inspirational to the audience as well as the many photographers present during the fair.