A guide to the rejoneo in Pamplona

A guide to the rejoneo in Pamplona

If you'll be in Pamplona for the Chupinazo - the opening ceremony of the Running of the Bulls festival - consider attending a bullfight on the evening of July 6th. 

The bullfight that takes place on July 6th each year is called a "rejoneo," and it's a highly artistic style of bullfighting that only takes place once each year in Pamplona. During this event, bulls are fought from horseback, and the rider dashes around the bull - as well as in and out of the bull's horns - to demonstrate his finesse and his flawless command over both the horse and the bull. 

This style of bullfighting is sometimes called "Portuguese-style bullfighting," but it actually originated in Spain in the 17th century. During this time, aristocrats fought on horseback, while their lower-status assistants fought on foot. However, when the nobility realized that their assistants were gaining more fame than the aristocrats due to their closer proximity to the fighting bull, aristocrats started fighting on foot, too, and the rejones quickly lost their popularity in Spain. Still, this historic form of bullfighting remained popular in Portugal, where new techniques continued to be developed to make this spectacle even more daring and artistic.

At this event, the rejoneadorwho takes the place of the matador in a traditional on-foot bullfight—wears a flat, wide-brimmed hat called a Cordovan hat, or sombrero cordobés. He or she is generally referred to by the title Don or Doña, which references the aristocrats who first practiced this sport of mounted bullfighting in 17th-century Spain. After assistants weaken the bull by placing small darts in the bull's back, the rejoneador enters the arena to display the horse's dazzling footwork by deftly leading the horse around the bull. Eventually, the rejoneador uses a short, barbed spear to finally kill the bull. 

Today, the rejones can only be seen in a few places in Spain and only at special times each year, including on July 6th in Pamplona during the Running of the Bulls festival, or the festival of San Fermín. Since most people don't know about this tradition, tickets to this event are significantly cheaper than the bullfights that take place between July 7th and July 14th. 

The rejoneo is a remarkable display of the horse's trust in its rider and the rider's trust in his horse. If you or your loved one is interested in the art of horseback riding, the rejoneo will be a truly unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime show. Book your tickets now!

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