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Sant Joan horse festival kicks off in Ciutadella, Menorca

The arrival of summer marks the beginning of Solstice celebrations on the island of Menorca.

In Ciutadella, a fiesta to honour the town's patron, Sant Joan, takes place between June 23 and 24.

The festivities feature a local horse breed and see the animals work in unison with their rider or “cavaller”.

They defy the laws of gravity with “Bots” — moves where the horse stands on its back hinds and lift its front hooves for a few seconds — while taking part in equestrian games.

Probably of religious origin, the festivities date back to the beginning of the 14th century when every June 23 was marked with a pilgrimage to the Sant Joan de Misa church.

Located around 8km from the town, revellers made their way to the destination by horse and as time passed, the event saw locals play games on horseback.

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