The horsemen of Sartiglia

Horsemen are definitely one of the main elements of Sartiglia. 
Every year, the Sartiglia horsemen’s continuous search for beauty and magnificence is expressed by the passage of the majestic cortege, the elegant horses richly harnessed with colourful bows and satin ribbons, and mounted by horsemen dressed in the precious costumes of Sardinian and Spanish traditions. 
For several years, the event has been counting a good 120 protagonists on horseback. On both days, 40 ‘pariglie’ (each consisting of three components) make part of the happening, including the ‘pariglie’ of the two ‘Componidoris’.

This status is relatively recent as, according to the most ancient photographs available, only a few tens of riders used to take part to the Sartiglia in the early decades of the 20th century. In contrast, since the ’50s, the number of participants increased up to attain a hundred units as early as in the ’80s.

Until a few decades ago, the event of Oristano would  accept various riders coming from other municipalities, in particular, from Abbasanta, Sedilo, Palmas Arborea, Sinnai, Dolianova and other Sardinian communities characterized by traditional shows of paired horses. 
In the latest years, on the contrary, the access has been (almost exclusively) reserved  to riders from Oristano, due to the increasing popularity of equestrian sports among the youngsters – who, of course, long for being included in the event.

All riders are united in the ‘Associazione Sportiva Dilettantistica "Cavalieri Sa Sartiglia” ’, instituted in 1980 and coordinating about 200 members. 
Every year, this association is responsible for the selection of 120 horsemen admitted to participate to the event.

Riders’ training in view of the Sartiglia lasts a whole year. Indeed, either horse owners and those who have to find and borrow their mount from a friend or an acquaintance are requested to be engaged for a long period in their athletic training, besides in getting on well with the other components of their own ‘pariglia’.

Throughout the latest years, Oristano riders' preparation and bravery has achieved haute-école levels. Performances represent the utmost expression of the harmony, passion and training level of ‘pariglie’ – each, in fact, being composed of six elements, three horses plus three riders.

Yet, if riding abilities along via Mazzini is a result of the trio’s harmonization, the extraordinary gallop on the track in front of the Cathedral stands as the moment when each single rider’s skill and luck are at issue. 
Indeed, those who are fortunate enough to be called by ‘Su Componidori’ to defy chance riding at the star will personally feel the experience of an unforgettable emotion every time. 
Such feeling is even enhanced when their undertaking is successful: spearing the coveted star, suspended to a green cord tied beneath the bell tower of the town Cathedral.




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