Horse Riding & Shows
The ‘Menorquina’ horse bred on the island was officially recognised as a special pedigree in 1987 and plays an important role in the fiestas. During the 1980s regulations were also established for Menorcan dressage, a style which has become a sporting discipline recognised by the Balearic Equine Federation. This led to the first competitions and championships being held which now take place annually.
This school of dressage recognises the horse’s natural paces (walk, trot and gallop) but is differentiated by characteristic elements such as the ‘bot’ (rearing), consisting of a high elevation of the front part of the horse transferring the weight to it rear legs, and the specific Menorcan movements which involve the rear legs turning around the front third of its body, while trotting.
A visit to the Son Martorellet horse farm to see the magnificent Menorcan horses ‘dance’ is a spectacle not to be missed, and has to be high on everyone’s list of things to do in Menorca. Menorcan dressage has its own distinct style, with characteristic elements such as the ‘bot’ where the horse rears up and walks on its hind legs.
Throughout the summer, Son Martorellet puts on a series of events for visitors to enjoy or you can simply turn up any day except Sunday at set times to see the horses in their stables or watch them training. There is also a bar serving drinks and ice creams and a shop selling souvenirs and gifts.
What is the Menorcan Horse...?
Officially recognised as an indigenous breed since 1989, the origin of the Caballo de Pura Raza Menorquina (the pure bred Menorquina horse) can be traced back to three significant periods in Menorca’s history.
The first is the establishment of the cavalry troops by King Jaume II of Mallorca in 1301. The horses that were used as cavalry mounts were strong, agile and manageable, traits which are still important in the Spanish breeds of today and which are typified in the Menorquina’s early ancestor, the Andalusian.
Horse Riding: Why not go horse riding during your stay in Menorca? Menorcans are passionate about horses and there are many stables and schools located on the island, particularly around the Ferreries area. Menorca’s mostly flat terrain makes it ideal for horse riding whatever your level of experience, from complete novices to experienced riders. Lessons are available as well as the opportunity to go pony trekking through beautiful woodlands and discover the island’s hidden rural countryside. Horse riding is very popular in summer, so advanced booking is essential.
Menorca has its own special breed of horse, the Menorquina, which are descendents of the traditional Spanish Andalusian and Arabian breeds. These beautiful horses are smaller and elegant with a lighter build and long limbs and feature prominently in the local fiestas around the island. One distinct feature is that they are always black in colour. See our article on the Pura Raza Menorquina (the Menorquina horse breed) here: http://menorca-live.com/menorcan-horses.