THE Majorca Western Festival is going to bring a touch of the Wild West to Palma next month.
The world's elite of the many Western disciplines, many of which hope to participate in the Olympics in 2012, will compete for 200'000 dollars in prizes at the Bull Ring. A few years ago the Bull Ring was converted into the scene of a tennis tournament and the elimination stages for the Davis Cup, but this will be the first time the arena is going to be transformed into a Western ring. From September 21 to 24, the Majorca Western Festival will not only bring a flavour of the wild west to Palma, but also a full programme of events.
Reining is the equivalent, in the Western field, of the traditional horse mastering (dressage) which is part of the Olympics.
There will be 200'000 dollars in prizes, a brilliant list of international figures, simultaneous exhibitions and a programme for all the public. These are just some of the attractions which lovers of sport in general and horses in particular will enjoy at the event. In the competition plan of the Majorca Western Festival, the main event will be for the Majorca Reining Trophy. This has a prize of 150'000 dollars for the winner. The qualifying stages will be held on Friday September 21 and the grand final, with the 20 best, will be held on Saturday September 22. There will be 50'000 dollars for the competition between North Americans and the rest of the world. Taking part in this will be well known horsemen such as Dell Hendriks, Tom McCutcheon, Shawn Florida and Bryant Pace, among others.
On an island which is passionate about the world of horses where the tradition of trotting races exists side by side with jumping competitions such as the SAR Princess Sofia Trophy, Reining has all the ingredients necessary to attract the public.
And it's attraction is Western horse riding with its elements which were created from the work of the cowboys of the Wild West.
Speed (tests are done at a galloping pace), precision and smoothness offer a show of turns, stops and surprising movements which converts it into a great disciplinary art.
Started in the USA, Reining is a sport which aspires to become an Olympic sport in 2012.
The Majorca Western Festival will be a showcase to demonstrate the virtues of this speciality in Europe with the aim of achieving its objective of forming part of the Olympics in London in 2012.
The International Equestrian Federation has recognised Reining as its seventh form and the Majorca Western Festival with its Majorca Reining Trophy will complete September, during which the World Equestrian Games of Aquisgran and Americana de Augsburgo will also take place.
The support of this organisation has been decided with the aim of converting the island into a European reference point for this sport.
The horses which are used for Reining are American “quarter horses”, which have their origins in Spanish thoroughbreds.
The arrival of Spanish ships in America meant the formation of large herds which the Indians adopted as very valuable animals for work and combat.
Today it is estimated that there are 4.4 million of these horses, which means they are one of the most bred horses in the world.
Nevertheless, it is not just Reining which will fill the Balearic Coliseum with a show of the purest American style, there will also be surprises such as the exibition of Cutting by Ute Holm and a show of mastery by Jean Francois Pignon who, with his international show “The Pardon” will demonstrate his absolute control over his four dapple grey horses and a pony.
In addition to this, the surrounding areas of the Coliseum will have a western flavour with a large market area and an Indian village set up in a children's play area.
So saddle up and ride on down!