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Worldwide, horses play a significant role in human culture and have done so for millennia. Horses are used for leisure activities, sports, and working purposes; historically, equestrians honed their skills through games and races which also provided entertainment for crowds and refined the horsemanship skills needed in battle.

Kristel Richard has travelled the world photographing horses. In this new gallery and PDF story we explore some of the unique festivals worldwide that celebrate horses, from traditional pony-racing in the Tibetan plateau to the modern competitions of the North American mounted police. Also featuring Las Luminarias, a Spanish festival where horses are ridden through bonfires, and the German Blutritt, the right of blood, one of the biggest equestrian processions in Europe! Many of these events celebrate the strong relationships and skills of both riders and their horses, and Kristel’s photographs beautifully capture the intricate details and the wider celebrations of these fascinating festivals.

Kristel is available to provide text to accompany her images if you would be interested in publishing this story as a feature or book project. Please contact info@naturepl.com for more details.
Traditionally dressed Berber warriors, mounted on Barb and Arab Barb horses, gallop in formation firing their guns during the Fantasia in Dar Es Salam, Morocco, June 2010 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / Traditionally dressed Berber warriors, mounted on Barb and Arab Barb horses, gallop in formation firing their guns during the Fantasia in Dar Es Salam, Morocco, June 2010
Portrait of a masked rider on a horse (Equus caballus) from the Gremio di Falegnami parades before the start of the 'Sartiglia' (race to the star)  in Oristano, Sardinia, Italy. February 2010 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / Portrait of a masked rider on a horse (Equus caballus) from the Gremio di Falegnami parades before the start of the 'Sartiglia' (race to the star) in Oristano, Sardinia, Italy. February 2010
A traditionally dressed Andalusian couple parades with their white Andalusian stallion (Pura Raza Espanola) during the Feria Del Caballo (Horse Fair), Jerez De La Frontera, Andalucia, Spain, May 2009 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / A traditionally dressed Andalusian couple parades with their white Andalusian stallion (Pura Raza Espanola) during the Feria Del Caballo (Horse Fair), Jerez De La Frontera, Andalucia, Spain, May 2009
Re-enactement of an attack by the mounted armies of Genghis Khan (emperor of the Mongol Empire) carrying bows and arrows, during the Genghis Khan Show, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The horses are Mongoli... - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / Re-enactement of an attack by the mounted armies of Genghis Khan (emperor of the Mongol Empire) carrying bows and arrows, during the Genghis Khan Show, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The horses are Mongoli...
Traditionally dressed Berber warriors, mounted on Barb and Arab Barb horses, galloping into battle firing their guns down during the Fantasia in Dar Es Salam, Morocco, June 2010 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / Traditionally dressed Berber warriors, mounted on Barb and Arab Barb horses, galloping into battle firing their guns down during the Fantasia in Dar Es Salam, Morocco, June 2010
Close-up of a white Kathiawari mare, decorated for a wedding, Nageshri, Gujarat, India, January 2011 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / Close-up of a white Kathiawari mare, decorated for a wedding, Nageshri, Gujarat, India, January 2011
The first two Indian female jockeys mounted on thoroughbred horses to pass the finishing line at the All Indian Race, at the annual Indian Crow Fair, Crow Agency, near Billings, Montana, USA, August 2... - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / The first two Indian female jockeys mounted on thoroughbred horses to pass the finishing line at the All Indian Race, at the annual Indian Crow Fair, Crow Agency, near Billings, Montana, USA, August 2...
During the Festa do Colete Encarnado (Red Waistcoat Festival), a bull running festival, traditionally dressed cowboys, mounted on their horses, drive the bulls through the streets of Vila Franca de Xi... - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / During the Festa do Colete Encarnado (Red Waistcoat Festival), a bull running festival, traditionally dressed cowboys, mounted on their horses, drive the bulls through the streets of Vila Franca de Xi...
Traditionally dressed riders parading during the Madonna dei Martiri festival, in Fonni, Nuoro district, Sardinia, Italy. - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / Traditionally dressed riders parading during the Madonna dei Martiri festival, in Fonni, Nuoro district, Sardinia, Italy.
Young woman jumping through fire to purify her horse, during the Luminarias festival, held every January in San Bartolome de Pinares, Avila Province, Castile and Leon, Spain, January 2014. - Kristel  Richard
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Kristel Richard / Young woman jumping through fire to purify her horse, during the Luminarias festival, held every January in San Bartolome de Pinares, Avila Province, Castile and Leon, Spain, January 2014.
Traditionally dressed Berber warriors, mounted on Barb and Arab Barb horses, gallop in formation raising their guns during the Fantasia in Dar Es Salam, Morocco, June 2010 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / Traditionally dressed Berber warriors, mounted on Barb and Arab Barb horses, gallop in formation raising their guns during the Fantasia in Dar Es Salam, Morocco, June 2010
Two riders and two carriages pulled by four horses parading during the Leonhardiritt or Leonhardifahrt, the traditional horse procession of St Leonard, in Bad Tolz, Upper Bavaria, Germany. November 20... - Kristel  Richard
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Kristel Richard / Two riders and two carriages pulled by four horses parading during the Leonhardiritt or Leonhardifahrt, the traditional horse procession of St Leonard, in Bad Tolz, Upper Bavaria, Germany. November 20...
Traditionally dressed horse riders participating in Cuasimodo, a Catholic festival, Colina, Chacabuco Province, Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile, Latin America. April 2017. - Kristel  Richard
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Kristel Richard / Traditionally dressed horse riders participating in Cuasimodo, a Catholic festival, Colina, Chacabuco Province, Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile, Latin America. April 2017.
Costumed rider participating in Tondeslagning, in the streets of Store Magleby, Denmark. Tondeslagning is an ancient tradition to bring good crops by smashing a barrel which is supposed to contain the... - Kristel  Richard
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Kristel Richard / Costumed rider participating in Tondeslagning, in the streets of Store Magleby, Denmark. Tondeslagning is an ancient tradition to bring good crops by smashing a barrel which is supposed to contain the...
A young Berber woman rides a black Arab Barb stallion in Morocco. Both are dressed in traditional costume for the Fantasia. Model Released, June 2010 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / A young Berber woman rides a black Arab Barb stallion in Morocco. Both are dressed in traditional costume for the Fantasia. Model Released, June 2010
Portrait of two harnessed Suddeutsche horses and their driver during the Leonhardiritt or Leonhardifahrt, the traditional horse procession of St Leonard, in Bad Tolz, Upper Bavaria, Germany. November... - Kristel  Richard
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Kristel Richard / Portrait of two harnessed Suddeutsche horses and their driver during the Leonhardiritt or Leonhardifahrt, the traditional horse procession of St Leonard, in Bad Tolz, Upper Bavaria, Germany. November...
The winner of the endurance race and his Tibetan horse are covered with scarves, during the horse festival, near Huangyan, in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the Sichuan Province, China, Ju... - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / The winner of the endurance race and his Tibetan horse are covered with scarves, during the horse festival, near Huangyan, in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the Sichuan Province, China, Ju...
Domestic horse, a man makes his Nukra mare dance during the Maghi Mela festival, Muktsar, Punjab, India. January 2010 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / Domestic horse, a man makes his Nukra mare dance during the Maghi Mela festival, Muktsar, Punjab, India. January 2010
Costumed rider participating in Tondeslagning, in the streets of Store Magleby, Denmark. Tondeslagning is an ancient tradition to bring good crops by smashing a barrel which is supposed to contain the... - Kristel  Richard
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Kristel Richard / Costumed rider participating in Tondeslagning, in the streets of Store Magleby, Denmark. Tondeslagning is an ancient tradition to bring good crops by smashing a barrel which is supposed to contain the...
A traditionally dressed Crow Indian man rides an appaloosa horse during the parade, at the annual Indian Crow Fair, at Crow Agency, near Billings, Montana, USA, August 2011 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / A traditionally dressed Crow Indian man rides an appaloosa horse during the parade, at the annual Indian Crow Fair, at Crow Agency, near Billings, Montana, USA, August 2011
Costumed rider participating in Tondeslagning, in the streets of Store Magleby, Denmark. Tondeslagning is an ancient tradition to bring good crops by smashing a barrel which is supposed to contain the... - Kristel  Richard
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Kristel Richard / Costumed rider participating in Tondeslagning, in the streets of Store Magleby, Denmark. Tondeslagning is an ancient tradition to bring good crops by smashing a barrel which is supposed to contain the...
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police force parading, during the National American Police Equestrian Competition (NAPEC), at Kingston Penitentiary, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. September 2016. - Kristel  Richard
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Kristel Richard / The Royal Canadian Mounted Police force parading, during the National American Police Equestrian Competition (NAPEC), at Kingston Penitentiary, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. September 2016.
A traditionally dressed Crow Indian man rides a quarter horse during the parade at the annual Indian Crow Fair, Crow Agency, near Billings, Montana, USA, August 2011 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / A traditionally dressed Crow Indian man rides a quarter horse during the parade at the annual Indian Crow Fair, Crow Agency, near Billings, Montana, USA, August 2011
Traditionally dressed samurai (warrior) from the Takeda School of Horseback Archery with bows and arrows, during a Yabusame (Japanese mounted archery), at Meiji Jingu Shrine, Tokyo, Tokyo Prefecture,... - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / Traditionally dressed samurai (warrior) from the Takeda School of Horseback Archery with bows and arrows, during a Yabusame (Japanese mounted archery), at Meiji Jingu Shrine, Tokyo, Tokyo Prefecture,...
An Indian cowboy, mounted on a quarter horse, tries to catch a bronc or wild paint horse during the All Indian Rodeo, at the annual Indian Crow Fair, Crow Agency, near Billings, Montana, USA, August 2... - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / An Indian cowboy, mounted on a quarter horse, tries to catch a bronc or wild paint horse during the All Indian Rodeo, at the annual Indian Crow Fair, Crow Agency, near Billings, Montana, USA, August 2...
A traditionally dressed Crow Indian woman rides a paint horse during the parade, at the annual Indian Crow Fair, at Crow Agency, near Billings, Montana, USA, August 2011 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / A traditionally dressed Crow Indian woman rides a paint horse during the parade, at the annual Indian Crow Fair, at Crow Agency, near Billings, Montana, USA, August 2011
Silhouette of two traditionally dressed Indian riders, mounted on Kathiawari mares, backlit at sunset, in Gujarat, India, January 2011, Model released - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / Silhouette of two traditionally dressed Indian riders, mounted on Kathiawari mares, backlit at sunset, in Gujarat, India, January 2011, Model released
A Khampa warrior, mounted on his running Tibetan horse, tries to catch sweets laid out on the ground, during the horse festival, near Huangyan, in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the Sichua... - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / A Khampa warrior, mounted on his running Tibetan horse, tries to catch sweets laid out on the ground, during the horse festival, near Huangyan, in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the Sichua...
Close-up of the reins and saddle of a Berber warrior during the Fantasia, in Dar Es Salam, Morocco, June 2010 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / Close-up of the reins and saddle of a Berber warrior during the Fantasia, in Dar Es Salam, Morocco, June 2010
Mounted police officers parade, during the National American Police Equestrian Competition (NAPEC), at Kingston Penitentiary, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. September 2016. - Kristel  Richard
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Kristel Richard / Mounted police officers parade, during the National American Police Equestrian Competition (NAPEC), at Kingston Penitentiary, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. September 2016.
Portrait of a mounted police officer and his warmblood horse, during the National American Police Equestrian Competition (NAPEC), at Kingston Penitentiary, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. - Kristel  Richard
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Kristel Richard / Portrait of a mounted police officer and his warmblood horse, during the National American Police Equestrian Competition (NAPEC), at Kingston Penitentiary, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
A tradionally dressed Berber warrior riding his Arab Barb stallion during the Fantasia, in Dar Es Salam, Morocco, June 2010 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / A tradionally dressed Berber warrior riding his Arab Barb stallion during the Fantasia, in Dar Es Salam, Morocco, June 2010
Eagle hunter mounted on Mongolian horse with his female Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) at Eagle Hunters Festival, near Sagsai, Bayan-Ulgii Aymag, Mongolia. September 2014.. - Kristel  Richard
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Kristel Richard / Eagle hunter mounted on Mongolian horse with his female Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) at Eagle Hunters Festival, near Sagsai, Bayan-Ulgii Aymag, Mongolia. September 2014..
A Sikh man makes his Nukra horse dance to the rhythm of a drum during the Maghi Mela festival, Muktsar, Punjab, India. January 2010 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / A Sikh man makes his Nukra horse dance to the rhythm of a drum during the Maghi Mela festival, Muktsar, Punjab, India. January 2010
A traditionally dressed cowboy tries to remain on a bronc (unbroken) Quarter mare, during the rodeo of the Festival de la Doma y el Folclore, Estancia Tacuaty, Misiones, Paraguay. Sequence 2/2. Januar... - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / A traditionally dressed cowboy tries to remain on a bronc (unbroken) Quarter mare, during the rodeo of the Festival de la Doma y el Folclore, Estancia Tacuaty, Misiones, Paraguay. Sequence 2/2. Januar...
A traditionally dressed Nihang (an armed Sikh soldier) standing on the backs of two galloping Nukra horses during the Maghi Mela festival, Mukstar, Punjab, India, January 2010 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / A traditionally dressed Nihang (an armed Sikh soldier) standing on the backs of two galloping Nukra horses during the Maghi Mela festival, Mukstar, Punjab, India, January 2010
Domestic horse, Portrait of a Nukra stallion presented at the horse show during the Maghi Mela festival, Muktsar, Punjab, India. January 2010 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / Domestic horse, Portrait of a Nukra stallion presented at the horse show during the Maghi Mela festival, Muktsar, Punjab, India. January 2010
A traditionally dressed officer from the Ahmedabad Police, gallops on a bay Thoroughbred horse (Equus caballus) during a tent-pegging competition, Ahmedabad Police Station, Ahmeedabad, Gujarat, India. - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / A traditionally dressed officer from the Ahmedabad Police, gallops on a bay Thoroughbred horse (Equus caballus) during a tent-pegging competition, Ahmedabad Police Station, Ahmeedabad, Gujarat, India.
Portrait of a decorated Tibetan horse, during the horse festival, near Huangyan, in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the Sichuan Province, China, June 2010 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / Portrait of a decorated Tibetan horse, during the horse festival, near Huangyan, in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the Sichuan Province, China, June 2010
A Khampa warrior saddles his Tibetan horse, during the horse festival, near Huangyan, in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the Sichuan Province, China, June 2010 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / A Khampa warrior saddles his Tibetan horse, during the horse festival, near Huangyan, in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the Sichuan Province, China, June 2010
Man riding a grey Andalusian stallion, performing the bot or walking courbette of the Doma Menorquina, during the festival Mare de Deu de Gracia, in Mahon, Menorca, Spain 2012. - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / Man riding a grey Andalusian stallion, performing the bot or walking courbette of the Doma Menorquina, during the festival Mare de Deu de Gracia, in Mahon, Menorca, Spain 2012.
Portrait of a traditionally dressed horse parading during the Feria Del Caballo (Horse Fair), Jerez De La Frontera, Andalucia, Spain, May 2009 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / Portrait of a traditionally dressed horse parading during the Feria Del Caballo (Horse Fair), Jerez De La Frontera, Andalucia, Spain, May 2009
Close-up of the naked foot in stirrups of a traditionally dressed Nihang (an armed Sikh soldier) mounted on his horse during the Maghi Mela festival, Mukstar, Punjab, India. January 2010 - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / Close-up of the naked foot in stirrups of a traditionally dressed Nihang (an armed Sikh soldier) mounted on his horse during the Maghi Mela festival, Mukstar, Punjab, India. January 2010
Delaware mounted police officer on his Clydesdale horse competing in dressage, during the National American Police Equestrian Competition (NAPEC), at Kingston Penitentiary, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.... - Kristel  Richard
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Kristel Richard / Delaware mounted police officer on his Clydesdale horse competing in dressage, during the National American Police Equestrian Competition (NAPEC), at Kingston Penitentiary, Kingston, Ontario, Canada....
A Khampa warrior picks up his two Tibetan horses, before the endurance race, during the horse festival, near Huangyan, in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the Sichuan Province, China, June 2... - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / A Khampa warrior picks up his two Tibetan horses, before the endurance race, during the horse festival, near Huangyan, in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the Sichuan Province, China, June 2...
A traditionally dressed Andalusian gentleman parades with his long maned Andalusian stallion (Pura Raza Espanola) during the Feria Del Caballo (Horse Fair), Jerez De La Frontera, Andalucia, Spain, May... - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / A traditionally dressed Andalusian gentleman parades with his long maned Andalusian stallion (Pura Raza Espanola) during the Feria Del Caballo (Horse Fair), Jerez De La Frontera, Andalucia, Spain, May...
A traditionally dressed samurai (warrior) from the Takeda School of Horseback Archery with bows and arrows galloping on a horse between targets, during a Yabusame (Japanese mounted archery), at Meiji... - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / A traditionally dressed samurai (warrior) from the Takeda School of Horseback Archery with bows and arrows galloping on a horse between targets, during a Yabusame (Japanese mounted archery), at Meiji...
A traditionally dressed samurai (warrior) from the Takeda School of Horseback Archery and mounted on a galloping horse aims an arrow at one of the three targets, during a Yabusame (Japanese mounted ar... - Kristel Richard
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Kristel Richard / A traditionally dressed samurai (warrior) from the Takeda School of Horseback Archery and mounted on a galloping horse aims an arrow at one of the three targets, during a Yabusame (Japanese mounted ar...
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