The horse riding center of Pedras Salgadas is the stage between Friday and Sunday for an international horse jumping competition, a competition that gathers about 170 participants and revives a tradition of Vila Pouca de Aguiar.
In the village of Pedras Salgadas, in the municipality of Vila Pouca de Aguiar, the obstacle jumping competitions date back to 1929. After a few years of interregnum, the municipality of Vila Real district regained the “riding tradition” in 2016.
“This is a mythical contest. The benches fill, the audience vibrates with the performance of each rider and then the conditions are completely different. Here we have a grassy field with extraordinary conditions for the practice of horse riding,” said Hugo Carvalho, rider of the National team.
The Army also participates in this contest with four sets (rider/horse) and wants to regain the role it already had in this competition.
Lieutenant Francisco Teixeira explained that the military participated “at the highest level” in the contest, following the historical beginning of this competition.
At the equestrian center, preparations for the international jumping competition (CSI) that begins on Friday and which, according to Filipe Pimenta, of the organization, “with the participation of 170 sets” are now finalized.
It is a two-star competition and has tests that rank for the ranking of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).
“The main objective is to turn this into an international reference contest. It is a contest with a lot of history in Portugal and undoubtedly was a strong driver of the sport,” said the official.
Filipe Pimenta said that this edition has the “participation of more foreign knights” and stressed that it is an event that “touches the local economy”, in terms of hotels and restaurants, and attracts visitors to the territory.
“In addition to what they are left with a direct economy, there is also the promotion that ends up making this region (…) This contest is an extraordinary way to be able to show the region nationally and internationally,” he said.
The event is partnered by NPimenta, Vila Pouca de Aguiar Town Hall and Alto Tâmega and Barroso Hydroelectric Enterprises (EHATB).
It was the horse riding tradition of Pedras Salgadas that led the municipality of Vila Pouca de Aguiar to bet on the construction of the center, which has a school included and started operating in 2015.
“We have more and more demand, we have many boys and older people who are starting to have a taste for riding,” said Célia Martins, coach of the equestrian center.
The space has a riding stable, a stable equipped with 32 boxes and develops activities such as horse-assisted therapies, equestrian classes, riding practice and horse baptisms.
It was even “the first space” in Alto Tâmega to develop a therapeutic riding project with a team of professional health technicians and riding instructors.
Célia Martins specified that the riding school has about 40 students and that horse-assisted therapies are attended by about 30 boys.