The "Curro"

The wrestle, the triumph, the collaboration, and respect for animals…

The “Curro”

What actually happens in the Curro is not easy to explain to someone who has never seen it, as it is an experience that blends the village’s community experience as spectators and wrestlers with the search for its identity and self-affirmation, with the experience of hard work, triumph, collaboration, and respect for the animals.

The “Bestas do Santo”

Only horses and mares from “El Santo” have their manes cut in El Curro. The private owners of the rest of the herds will organise their own Curros on the following Monday.


Of all the tasks that take place in the Curro, one of the most important is that of de-worming the animals to improve the horses’ state of hygiene and health.

Separation of the foals

People learn to become a wrestler (“aloitador”) when they are quite young. In fact, boys and girls kick off the Curro by catching the foals and separating them so that they are not hurt during the Rapa.
That way, the youngest ones are initiated and symbolically admitted into the group of those who will take an active part in the future treatment of wild horses, carrying on a long tradition.

Wrestling and the Wrestlers

The work performed in the Curro is undoubtedly the most spectacular part of this fiesta. The way it is done, known as “aloitar”, is what differentiates the Rapa de Sabucedo from other similar events in the rest of Galicia. No other means apart from the wrestler’s body are used. In other ‘rapas’, it is common to see ropes and sticks being used by the men to win over the animals, but in Sabucedo, the only valid tool to win over the horses in a hand-to-hand wrestling match is a strict code of action. This code is based on a form of conduct that has been passed down from generation to generation: two aloitadores grab the head and one the tail.

1- The first wrestler to grab the horse’s head is the one that jumps onto the horse’s back and rides it;
2- Shortly after that, the second wrestler at the head of the animal comes to his aid. When he joins in, he grabs the horse by the mane while the one riding the horse then gets off,
3- At the same time, the wrestler grabbing the horse’s tail tugs and pulls to try to unbalance the animal and help immobilise it.
The horse may remain standing or be pushed down to the ground. It is not an easy job and calls for a hefty amount of skill, since the wrestler needs to know how to “cross” the animal properly. That refers to sliding his hand under the horse’s jaw while running his other arm around its neck. When the horse is immobilised, the mane is cut, which the youngest villagers later collect during the “esteiras”.

Female wrestlers

What is the Curro?

El Curro is the arena where the “rapa” of horses takes place, i.e. where they have their manes cut. In Sabucedo there are two Curros:

® Rapa das Bestas - 2017