People watch stallions fight in an open arena in Tanjay City, The annual horse fighting event is held in celebration of the feast day of Saint James the Apostle. Negros island, Central Philippines, 25/07/2010
On the feast day of Saint James the Apostle, hundreds watch stallions fight in an open arena in Tanjay City, Negros island, central Philippines, July 25, 2010, The annual horse fighting event is held as part of the celebrations for their horseback riding patron saint.
Stories from old local folks has it that, “centuries ago during the feast day of Saint James the Apostle which is celebrated every JULY 25, mountain folks came to the town proper to pay homage to their patron saint. Riding their horses they come in groups mostly by village. At the crossroad of the town proper and the mountain villages horses are rested, a mare in heat passed by sparking a fight among stallions”. This then became an event every year thus becoming part of their culture.
During the fight, a mare in heat is brought to the pitch attracting a stallion to mate, as another stallion watches in envy. The mating is stopped as soon as the envious stallion surges to bite and or kick the mating stallion.
Despite the outcry of animal welfare activists abroad the local government still allowed the horsefigting only to be regulated this time. If a stallion runs away from the fight he is allowed to go near the mare and fight again the envious opponent. But if he runs away from the challenge three times he looses the fight.
Locals say that it is not as cruel as the bullfighting in Spain or Mexico where the bull is killed by the matador. Here, the horses are groomed for the fights and treated for their wounds afterwards, just like boxers.