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Off To The Races

Far from the traditional racing tracks, a style of horse racing echoes a tradition from colonial Spain. Over 170 years ago, sailors would make landfall and unload their goods on the beach.Horses Racing The Beach Whether to blow off steam, pass the time or unwind after long months at sea, the sailors would race horses up and down the sandy beaches. The waves crashing just feet away as they galloped down the curving shoreline, these sailors sure knew how to enjoy their time off. Now, all these years in the future, the sport lives on in its native land.

Sanlucar de Barrameda is home to this spectacle, and though there are mild rules governing the game, it remains true to its rough and rowdy roots. The spectators line the beach, eager to see these riders control their powerful steeds over a course with no gates or boundaries. A simple wave of the flag is all it takes to set off the thunderous rush of hooves and roar of the crowd. This year alone brought nearly 40,000 spectators to enjoy the races. However, this level of freedom comes at a cost, and horses have been known to lose control. During this year’s race, a thoroughbred bolted off the track and into the parking lot.

Never one to eschew tradition, locals love the fusing of old and new that this sport represents. Corporate sponsors may endorse their favorite rider and social media may aid in spreading the word, but at day’s end it all comes down to the synchronicity between horse and rider. The crowd so close you can feel their cheering. The ground so soft it kicks up into the air with every motion. While horse racing in Spain suffers a recession, this fusion of traditions is thriving.

Free for beach goers and casual passers-by, this sport welcomes all who are willing to watch. For just a few euros, a private tent at the finish line with local foods and champagne awaits. Betting is welcome, but not necessary to enjoy the show. While not possessing the gravitas of a Kentucky Derby or Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Sanlucar de Barrameda is a must-see for all those who appreciate the power of a horse and the skill of a rider. For more on this event, click here.


An Advocate of Rare Horse Breed

A long-time protector and expert of the Turkmenistan’s quintessential Akhal Teke horses, historian, breeder of Akhal Teke horses, and former General Director of “Turkmen Atlary” was bestowed the illustrious honor of being made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a fellow of the Long Riders’ Guild.

Geldy Kyarizov is joining an nonpareil group of equestrian explorers that have been honored by both organizations, who’ve recognized his dedication towards protecting, preserving and promoting the rare horse breed.


The Akhal Teke bloodline dates back to days of antiquity, but had almost been wiped out during the reign of the Soviet Union. In the late 1980s, Geldy rode 4,300 kilometers from Ashgabat to Moscow to petition Soviet Union government officials to intercede on behalf of the rare breed.

The petition was a success, thus began Geldy’s travels across a wide area of land in the Soviet Union, searching for prized specimens of the Akhal Teke blood line. To preserve the majestic creatures’ posterity, he began a breeding program which proved very successful in marking the breed’s resurgence. One success, Maksat, a stallion with a pedigree going back thousands of years, was bestowed upon the then British Prime Minister John Major as a gift from the Turkmen nation.


Yanardag, arguably the most successful horse in Geldy’s program, was considered so beautiful, so perfect, that Turkmenistan’s president placed the stallions image on a national stamp, ordered a statue to be erected in the horses’ honor, and named Yanardag the country’s national symbol.

Due to the program’s success, Geldy was able to secure government funding in order to establish a large equestrian complex in Turkmenistan’s capital, which subsequently introduced the nation’s first veterinary laboratory able to perform DNA testing that was necessary to set up a new stud book for the Akhal Teke.

In honor of Turkmenistan’s 10th anniversary of independence, he organized over one-thousand Akhal Tekes to march through the hippodrome in Ashgabat, an event known as the “Parade of Horses.”

A world-renowned and recognized expert of the breed, his educational conferences, equestrian journey’s, academic investigations, and DNA research have been invaluable to promoting and protecting the nation’s beloved breed.