The Ronda style of bullfighting is rumored to have originated by accident in Ronda’s Philip II’s Centre for Horsemanship when a gentleman training on horse was unseated in the path of a bull they used to train officers in horsemanship.
A local man, Francisco Romero distracted the bull on foot using his hat, thus securing both the life of the aristocrat, and inventing a new form of bullfighting perfected by his grandson, Pedro Romero (1754-1839).
See more about the Ronda bullring (Plaza de Toros) here.
Love it or hate it, Pedro Romero turned bullfighting into a dance, and a form of entertainment that requires fitness, perfect balance, and tests a man in ways that the safer horseback style doesn’t. Pedro developed the red cape (the muleto) and a variety of moves to create a spectacle.
Would you like to visit a fighting bull farm in Ronda?
This is a working breeding farm of fighting bulls and pure Andalusian horses, located just 5 km from Ronda. It was created by the bullfighter Rafael Tejada. It is open to the public, giving visitors the opportunity to share in the lives of these fantastic animals throughout all their breeding stages and their fascinating selection process, as well as interact with them.
Just select your dates, language, how many people and book safely at Get Your Guide.
You can also reserve entry tickets over at Viator here.
Bullfighting in history
Interestingly, a lot of people seem to think that the Ronda style of bullfighting is a uniquely Iberian invention of the last couple of centuries, which spread to Central and South American colonies with the conquistadors, in fact fighting bulls has been a rite of passage for young men throughout the Celtic world in pre-Roman times.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire the sport became more established by Visigothic society and rules developed that needed to be followed for a young boy to graduate to manhood. Whilst these traditions have been forgotten, they are no less true for it.
The Arab invaders of Iberia prided themselves on the horsemanship skills and adopted bullfighting as a spectacle in the same way that jousting became a spectacle in medieval times. Moorish bullfighting developed into the modern Sevilla style of bullfighting.
Modern Ronda bullfighting
Pioneered by Francisco Romero, further developed by his son Juan, and perfected by his grandson Pedro. Modern Ronda bullfighting involves a matador who is the real hero of the event, and a team of helpers (the cuadrilla) who tire the bull and direct it to the matador and his cape.
The bull is first goaded and chased by the cuadrilla, then our matador uses his estoque to sever the bulls spinal cord. The final kill is done by another assistant, the cachetero, using a short dagger.
The Caminito del Rey
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