Horse racing isn’t usually listed in the reasons for visiting Spain. Yet, this country has a long tradition of equestrian sport that can be seen in some of its most accessible and exciting locations.
Racetrack in Madrid
In the Spanish capital, The Hipódromo de la Zarzuela is one of the most traditional. Built in the 1930s to replace the previous 1870s building. It is an elegant setting for watching a few races with its the iconic fan shaped roof over the stand. The hipódromo de Madrid also has a hotel and large garden area within its grounds.
Spanish Horse Racing Events
With the capital’s imposing skyline in the background, it is one of the easiest and most dramatic places to see horse racing in Spain. Races take place on Thursdays and Sundays. They even have childcare facilities so that families can attend. Night-time races are run too, with the restaurant open for dinner too.
The biggest race held here is the thrilling Gran Premio de Madrid, for horses over three years old. It has been run here since 1941, but the track´s history dates back to 1881, with the name and venue changing. Its more recent history began in 2006, when the Gran Premio de Madrid started up again after a long break.
The Oldest Beach Horse Race in the World
There is some debate over where you can witness the world’s oldest beach races. While Ireland and the US have strong contenders, Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Cadiz is regarded by many as holding this title. It is certainly among the most beautiful places to watch Spanish Horse Racing.
The two-mile racetrack that runs along the beach here hosts hugely popular races every August. Jockeys wearing bright clothing and often the King of Spain can be seen among the crowd of onlookers. The first races in Sanlúcar de Barrameda were in the 1840s, as local fisherman raced each other.
Speeding along the sand on their horses to be the first to get their freshly-caught fish back to port. Sanlucar in 2022 was actually the Gastronomic Capital of Spain and you can enjoy an activity which combines horse riding + local wines when you visit.
Close by are the cities of Cadiz, Jerez or the Doñana National Park. This part of Andalusia is a region with lots of equestrian tradition. Another example is the The Annual Horse Fair in Jerez de la Frontera. In Spanish, La Feria de Caballo which happens at the beginning of May. In 2023 this will be held on Saturday 6th May until Saturday 13th May.
Horses in Cordoba
Another place for equestrian fans is Cordoba. The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art is worth visiting, they have graceful Andalusian Horses which have been carefully trained and groomed. You can also take a horse drawn carriage ride around the white washed old town of Cordoba.
Or enjoy a day out in the Andalusian Countryside surrounding Cordoba if you ride. You can check availabilty for this horse riding activity that is good for intermediate riders.
International Show Jumping in Gijón
The CSI Gijón is held in a huge stadium which seats 3,000 in its grandstands. But has a total capacity of 10,000, as 7000 can attend in the standing areas. Although Horse racing happens throughout the year, it is really show jumping that it is best known for. Las Mesetas hosts CSI Gijón annually, Spain´s top show jumping event. This arena opened in the 1940s exclusively for show jumping, but later welcomed other sports to its grounds.
The Prince of Asturias Grand Prix and the Gijón Grand Prix are two of the most important events here. Spectators enjoy betting at these popular events. Although its quite different to other meets like the Dubai Grand Prix or American Triple Crown events like the Kentucky Derby. For horse racing fans there is plenty to enjoy here. Visit TwinSpires to know more about the Kentucky Derby.
Photo by 2 Bull Photography on Unsplash
The Hippodrome in Seville
Seville is famous for its architecture, flamenco and the colourful Feria de Abril. Yet, it is also a city where you can enjoy some top-class horse races. The city’s Hipódromo de Pineda is part of the elegant Real Club Pineda. The club occupies 80 hectares and includes the country’s only private hippodrome, as well as other sports facilities.
The winter racing season is popular with the wealthy elite in Seville, but the club is busy all year round thanks to the beautiful setting. The recent closure of the Gran Hipódromo de Andalucía de Dos Hermanas leaves this as the only hippodrome in the Seville province. Recent moves have increased the number of days in the Spanish Horse Racing calendar here.