It’s been two years since I last visited Spain. I spent them discovering different regions of the homeland of Lusitano horses. However, I missed Andalusia a lot and what’s why, in May, I returned with pleasure to the south of the Spanish peninsula. I had numerous plans and the trip was very intense. Fortunately, the weather this year was exceptionally good and I realized most of them.
As usual, I started this new adventure in one of my favorite places – Yeguada La Yedra. Besides an unforgettable flamenco session in the hills, which, given the early hour by Spanish standards, required a lot of sacrifice from the Spaniards, I finally managed to take pictures I had dreamed of for several years. Every time I was there, I was dreaming about a grey stallion galloping across the meadow in the last rays of the setting sun. Unfortunately, some obstacles always appeared. Either we didn’t dispose of any grey stallion (a few years ago La Yedra specialized in black Andalusians), or we weren’t on time for the sunset, or the weather was bad and there wasn’t the sunset at all. Fortunately, this time everything was working out in my favor, and amazing Dante TF did his best. After such a successful start, I was optimistic about what fate would bring me in the following days.
A new place on my route was Ganaderia Francisco Santiago. From the very first sight, I was captivated by the antique wooden gate opening to the beautiful patio. It was against this background that I took my favorite portrait of the stallion Malageño in the first rays of the rising sun. The evening session was definitely more exhausting. Fortunately, running on a rocky slope in a 30-degree heat, although it took my toll, also resulted in interesting shots of the herd in the dust clouds illuminated by the setting sun.
I always return with pleasure to Yeguada La Algaida, knowing that phenomenal stallions are waiting for me there. So it was this time. In addition, this time I had the pleasing opportunity to photograph them in the ancient hacienda, a place of exquisite beauty, bathed in flowers, where wedding receptions are frequently organized.
From Algaida, I set off on my way to Lagos in Portugal. From the very first moment I came to Algarve for a short vacation, enchanted by the breathtaking views, I began to look for a stable that would help me to organize a photo session on one of the many little charming beaches, against the backdrop of impressive, red, brown and red cliffs. As often happens, I found it by accident. Can you imagine a more beautiful start of the day than on the beach in Algarve, watching two Lusitano horses galloping on the sand? I can’t ;-)
The next point of the trip was Rancho El Rocio beautifully situated at the gates of Doñana National Park, a property of the Peralta family. The horses bred here are in a class of their own, and that can be immediately noticed in the pictures. One of the stars which I had the pleasure to photograph was the magnificent palomino stallion Quedado AP II – ANCCE champion at the PRE SICAB International PRE Horse Fair. I also had the chance to have in front of my lens three Rafaels Peralta: father, son and grandson, ridding snow-white Andalusian stallions. It was with great regret that I was leaving this beautiful and hospitable place.
Next, I headed towards Tarifa, stopping only for a short time in Vejer de la Frontera, a little, white, dreamlike town. During photographic trips, I rarely have a chance and time to visit anything, but this time I couldn’t resist myself. Vejer has the reputation of being the most beautiful town not only in Andalusia, but throughout the whole of Spain.
My last goal was Ganaderia Cristobal Cortes Bueno. As it was still the foaling period, I was hoping that I would be able to witness this special moment. The dream almost came true. I write “almost” because when I came to the field before sunrise, the foal was already lying in the grass. He must have been born literally moments ago, because he was still wet and the mare had not yet expelled her placenta. My heart was beating so fast, I barely could hold my camera. Watching his first awkward steps took me the rest of the morning.
This was the last stop on this trip. Despite the fact that the journey lasting two weeks was exhausting, I returned home tired, but happy that I managed to fulfill my dreams and realize some new ideas. Hasta la proxima Espana!
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