The traditional Saca de las Yeguas remains the same as it was from about 500 years ago. It is one of the oldest traditions in Andalusia, Isla Canela.
Every June 26 the riders known as Yeguerizos make their way through the marshes of the Donana Natural Park with hundreds of wild horses. The animals are taken back to the Aldea del Rocio where they are washed and prepared for sale. Those that are not sold are later released.
In the early hours of the morning the Plaza de la Aldea del Rocio is completely deserted and silent. The air is dry and dusty and you wonder what to expect. Just before nine o’clock, an old man in a large straw hat enters the square carrying a folding chair under one arm and a thin wooden stick in the other.
He sits near the edge of the plaza and waits. Families begin to arrive wearing their best clothes women with their flamenco dresses and cattlemen in the purest cowboy outfits.
A little after 10:00 an announcement through the loudspeaker explains the horses are on their way. In recent years they have been divided into smaller groups just before entering the village to avoid accidents. Hundreds of wild horses gallop through the streets of town at full speed.
Until just a few hours ago these horses were completely wild living in the marshes of the Donana National Park. Many of the younger horses have never seen people. They belong to the Marismena race characteristic for their strength and resistance.
The next day, the horses are divided all under the watchful eye of buyers and onlookers. All of them are washed and vaccinated. The Yegueizos cut the manes and tails, making them presentable for the horse show. From time to time the ranchers separate the horses and take them for a closer inspection. Prices range between 600 and 1,500 euros.