Francisco Javier San Martín, ayer en Estella-Lizarra.

“I would never sell a horse to anyone who might mistreat him”

The horse breeding farm of Francisco Javier San Martín (Fran) de ancin inside valdega It was born from the tradition in which horses lived in its home. “My father’s name was El Rayo and he was devoted to raising foals for his meat. Over time, I decided that my farm would be just for horseback riding.Said San Martín, who in the 80s decided to learn everything possible about horses and their riding. “I did all kinds of courses and when I couldn’t learn more here, I went to France to take courses until I got the 6th Gallop level”.

A hobby that grew into his own large farm, first in Otxandio (Bizkaia) and later in Lóquiz: “I moved as soon as the southern region of the mountains was fenced off.” Today, he replaces his visits to Lóquiz with care on his small farm to check out his horses and mares. ancin.

This summer, however, he suffered a severe setback as he had to sacrifice Jara, a Lusitanian mare he had rescued on a farm in Ancín. “She was attacked by several dogs and was put in a cast for four months after her injuries healed.” Finally, in August, the vet advised him to put him on the ground. “It was a tough decision because it’s so hard to see one of your horses suffer and die, but the vet assured me from the start that the best thing for me was to put him down. I tried to heal him anyway.” Jara’s death after this long illness sparked misunderstandings among some residents: “They reported me and I had a very bad time even though both the government vets and the Seprona and City Police did not open any files.” “The vet report is very clear, and where we made a mistake in the burial site, it’s something I fixed later.”

“The information that has come out about the health of my horses hurt me a lot because I gave my all for them,” said San Martín, a rancher who makes a living for his horses. “I live in a mobile home because I want to be close to them and that’s my lifestyle.” And the genetics are 80% Lusitanian and proud of their horse ancestry with the “additional intelligence that living in Lóquiz gives them”.

The exploitation, which started in the 80s with the purchase of Argaz, son of Sol, a legendary Lusitano horse, has since preferred to sell the horses to mares “because they are the ones who can give birth”. something I learned in Portugal, where women are particularly cared for”. The Navarrese rider “Borja Hortelano finished second in the Spanish championship” happened with one of the horses he sold.

While sales is one of the key points of this business, it is not everything for Fran. On their farms, which are classified as low environmental impact, the animals live in the middle of nature. Some horses eat twice as much as a cow and their training is crucial for their future use. “If you train a horse well it’s good for everyone, but if you force it, it’s only good for those who manage to tame it.”

Fran belongs to a kind of farmer who is firmly attached to his land.: “I never leave Lóquiz because there I am happy and free”. He also doesn’t think his passion is a way to earn a living. “I have already chosen to be poor by raising horses, because they are the ones who eat everything.” Of course, despite all the offers for his animals, “I’ve never sold a horse to someone who felt they were going to treat him badly.” After a period of uncertainty, he assured me that “although I want to sell everything, I can’t imagine living anywhere else than in the Sierra de Lóquiz.”

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