• Horse race in Santa Marina
  • Horse race in Santa Marina
  • Horse race in Santa Marina
  • Horse race in Santa Marina
  • Horse race in Santa Marina
  • Horse race in Santa Marina
  • Horse race in Santa Marina
  • Horse race in Santa Marina
  • Horse race in Santa Marina
  • Horse race in Santa Marina
  • Horse race in Santa Marina
  • Horse race in Santa Marina
  • Horse race in Santa Marina
  • Horse race in Santa Marina
  • Horse race in Santa Marina
  • Horse race in Santa Marina

On the mornings of Friday and Holy Saturday, the Santa Marina beach of Rio de Janeiro becomes an improvised and populous racecourse. Thousands of people gather at the wall to attend the only equine test in Northern Spain that is held in a sandy area. The unrivaled setting of this urban beach, with the beating sea and the horizon as a backdrop, prepares for these unusual races that add a new dimension to equestrian competitions.

In 2024 it will take place on Friday, March 29 at 11:30 a.m.


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Latitude: 43.4658165 Length: -5.0715637
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Some argue that in the local port, there by the eighteenth century, in the heat of boom of the maritime commerce, contraband activities proliferated that eluded the port controls on the backs of black horses to be confused at night.

In the year 1989 local horse enthusiasts, remembering these stories of smugglers, began to place bets on which would be the fastest horse on the Rio de Janeiro beach of Santa Marina. For this they took advantage of the strip of wet sand released during low tide. Already in its origins, the unusual sports frame, denoted an extraordinary beauty and laid the foundations for a larger show that was forged over the years.

Nowadays, after almost 20 years of filming during which the participation was increased with the competition of more riders, amazons and local blocks, Asturian clubs and other bordering communities, the test has finally acquired international dyes, as they have already run on the Santa Marina beach foreign equestrian clubs, mainly from France and Portugal.

Also the race has been professionalized, because after years of being an exclusive test for the fans to show their skills, now the jockeys are professionals and purebred horses competing on Good Friday in a scoring event for the Spanish championship.

The Rio de Janeiro races have the objective of becoming an unmissable event on the equestrian calendar, following in the wake of other races with more roots in time, such as the Sanlucar de Barrameda with which it has many similarities. The organizers of the Andalusian contest have attended Ribadesella in order to collaborate and provide their knowledge.

In 2018 they receive the distinction of «Festival of Regional Tourist Interest», since they are the only horse races that, in addition to competing on a natural beach, include turns in their routes and has a seafront elevated on the beach that allows the public a perfect view of the entire route.

Santa Marina beach

Santa Marina beach

There are few beaches in the Cantabrian Sea that draw such a spectacular panoramic view and that are surrounded…


Text: © Ramón Molleda for asturias.com Copyright Ramón Molleda



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