Dressage with Bulls

There are Portuguese and Spanish forms of bullfighting that are done primarily on horseback, and are considered an equestrian sport.  The idea is to show the skill of horse and rider together, and also the skill of them as a team in, uh, “fighting” the bull.

The horses, generally Lusitanos or Andalusions,  are trained in dressage, clearly upper level.  Imagine your dressage mount listening to you after being gored, and continuing to circle the bull and move off your leg with impulsion and collection.   Imagine your dressage mount going anywhere near an angry bull dripping blood.

I believe this is a Portuguese Cavaleiro, acting as a rejoneador.  Anyone out there know for sure?

Spoiler:  Beware.  It’s gory.  As I understand it; bull gores horse, cavaliero (who used horse to mercilessly tease injured bull) takes this as an insult to his horse’s honor and retaliates by leaping off and verbally deriding bull.  On the ground, with no protection. No, this does not have a happy ending.

Most cowboys could predict this.  (Bulls are only momentarily stunned by being insulted back.)

My animal rights position re bull riding, bull leaping, or just plan fun with  bulls is: there is nothing a 150 lb cowboy can do that is going to harm 2000 lbs of ticked off bull.

I believe traditional bullfighting using varas is torture.  (I’m sure PETA would have a field day with my philosophy: play nicely with your bull, or kill it humanely and eat it, don’t stick weighted lances into it and then run around to show off your skill when the bull gets MAD.)

Dressage and cows.  The interesting point of this video: dressage is the training base used for horse and rider in a dangerous situation.  It makes sense, since dressage was originally developed for military – fighting – use.  The idea was to have the horse so gymnastic and ‘underneath’ you, that you could perform any maneuver instantly…and it just might save both your lives.  Clearly, the cavaleiro is not a dressage queen.

Wouldn’t dressage be a useful training base for some of the western sports?  Pickup riders come to mind…when you need to help a cowboy with a bronc or bull, a horse that responds like this one would be an amazing asset.

Tip of the helmet to Wendy, of Wendy’s Horse Adventures, for passing this on!  We had a bull thing going on here prior to the Spring Break kid hurricane, and this fits right in.

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3 thoughts on “Dressage with Bulls

  1. greyhorsematters

    Loved your post. I would take that horse in a minute. He was the smartest one in the ring, the minute the bull fighter(and I use that term sparingly) got dismounted, that horse took off out of harms way. I don’t like to see anyone get hurt but that guy sort of had it coming. I see no sport in sticking a bull and bleeding him to weaken him and being the big hero. You’re right there’s nothing as mad as a ticked off bull. Matadors Beware!

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      I fell hard for the horse.
      Something niggled at me about the whole scene: the blood on the horses side was on the FAR side, not near the bull. I presume it was from spur raking, which makes me ill. I’m so hoping I’m wrong. Did anyone else get that out of this?

      Reply
      1. Wendy

        I didn’t notice that until I watched it from your post, but I thought the same thing. The bull got the horse on the other side, and the red smear was on the side away from the bull. That is pretty awful to see.

        Reply

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