We’re here in Spain for three years, right? Right. So, after our trip to Lisbon, we decided to take the summer off and explore more locally. One of our favorite finds was Yeguada Cartuja, a nearby breeding farm for the Andalusian Horse, Cartujano lineage.
Horses play a prominent role here in our area of Andalusia. The Feria del Caballo, or horse fair, in Jerez de la Frontera is featured in our kids’ Atlas of Adventures. The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art in Jerez is world-renowned for its famous dancing horses. And no drive is complete without spotting the horses hanging out alongside the road. Or next to the IKEA parking lot. We heard the Yeguada Cartuja visit is a slightly more toddler-friendly introduction to the famous Andalusian horses than the Royal School, as it includes a tour and more opportunities to move around. Sold.
So, one bright and sunny Saturday, we joined a group of tourists from the Netherlands for our English tour. Our tour guide showed us around the breeding operation of the farm, as it had first and foremost been established to resurrect the Cartujano lineage of Andalusian horses. In the Middle Ages, when the government first sought to protect this thoroughbred breed, it handed the job to the monks. As learned men who could read and write, they were able to protect and document the breeding. Still today, you can look out from the Yeguada, over fields and back roads, to the Monastery that is so intrinsically connected with this horse population.
After wandering around, petting, and neighing at some large horses, we took our seats for the included 90-minute horse show. We saw dancing horses, running mares, and charging coaches driven by men who leaned far outside of their ride to keep the coach from tipping over. Just yesterday, a month after the show, Henry reenacting it on the side of a shopping cart. The things we learn.
At one point, we thought we needed to leave, as Henry was climbing around under the bleachers and knocking over Cora at every opportunity. We ran into a worker who offered that we could wander around the horse stalls, if we liked. And it was perfect. Just a five minute break from sitting, and we were able to go back in for the rest of the show. And thank goodness we did. By far, the highlight of the show was when they ran in the baby foals. After their performance, their mothers were brought it and they were able to take a quick drink. Honestly, it was somewhat comical, but our kids just thought it was the coolest. Especially when one foal couldn’t find his mother and tried to steal a drink from another mare, who quickly put him in his place with a nip. The reenactments Charlotte and Henry put on the rest of the weekend were pretty funny, if you can imagine.
Overall, it was a great afternoon, and a great look into the culture of our current home. Farm animals are always a hit, and we loved how relaxed we found the environment. We look forward to showing it off to visitors!