Brutal Spanish lore sees men wrestling with wild stallions before they are herded and cared for

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BURLY men battled hundreds of wild horses on the streets of a sleepy Spanish village during the bizarre Rapa Das Bestas festival.

The 400-year celebration – known as the shearing of the beasts – takes place every summer in Sebucedo, in the northwestern region of Galicia.

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Three men take on one of the most powerful stallionsCredit: Reuters
    Horse fight during the traditional event in the village of Sabucedo

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Horse fight during the traditional event in the village of SabucedoCredit: Reuters
    Local men have tested their strength against wild horses for 400 years

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Local men have tested their strength against wild horses for 400 yearsCredit: Reuters

He pits wild horses, living free in the mountains, against inhabitants eager to show their strength by dragging the beasts to the ground and trimming their manes.

The festival, which has drawn criticism from animal rights activists in the past, began as a way to check horses for disease and cut their hair to keep them cool during the warmer months.

But it has become a tradition that now draws thousands of people to the small village, about 30 miles from Santiago de Compostela.

The horses come from the mountains of Galicia, where they roam freely the rest of the year.

For three days, around thirty local Aloitadores, or “fighters”, have to fight with the horses using nothing but their hands.

No tools or ropes are allowed.

    Controversial event in rural Spain draws thousands

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Controversial event in rural Spain draws thousandsCredit: Reuters
    It normally takes three men to bring down an adult horse.

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It normally takes three men to bring down an adult horse.Credit: Reuters
    Dozens of residents need medical treatment every year

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Dozens of residents need medical treatment every yearCredit: EPA

Three men are needed for each horse – one jumps onto the horse’s back while another clings to its neck.

The third then grabs the tail and helps the other two drag it to the ground.

They risk being trampled or crushed when pushing the horse to the ground in order to mow it and trim its mane and tail.

Each year, dozens of residents need medical attention after being trampled, kicked and even bitten by horses.


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