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Intelligent, proud, hard working and attractive – I could be talking about myself, but I’m actually referring to the Menorquín horses which are bred on menorca and which play the central role in Minorcan fiestas. Naturally graceful with a suspended gait, the menorquín, or Pura Raza Menorquína (PRM) horses are beautifully adapted for dressage training and their benchmark movement is the Es Bot in which the horse rears and walks for considerable distances in its hind legs.
Every Minorcan fiesta features the es jáleo in which horses with manes and tails colourfully festooned with embroidered ribbons and their elaborately dressed riders, known as caixers, enter the main square amidst the thousands of revellers and dance on their hind legs to the live music.
The biggest fiesta is that of Sant Joan (St John) which is on the 24th June. On the Sunday preceding the fiesta a man, dressed in lambskin and carrying a sheep decorated in coloured ribbons and tiny mirrors, walks barefoot through the streets of Cuidadella and into the houses of the senior riders. This marks the start of two days of fun, music, parties and Xoriguer interspersed with some extraordinary demonstrations of equestrian skill.
Anyone entering the former capital city of Ciutadella via the new road will notice on the roundabout a statue in homage to the menorquín and its caixer.
Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine, you can read her latest content on Google+