The Straôrieen is a spring festival that begins back in the mid-19th century. In the run-up to Easter, the horses were released from their stable to work the land, but before being put to work, the ‘evil spirits’ (mud fever, mange, and other leg disorders) were chased away by the healing effects of saltwater.
In this video, we can see the Dutch farmers riding to the Zeeuwse Beaches after winter and washing the working horse’s legs in the sea. People believed in the healing effect of seawater. The origin of this traditional folk festival or “spring festival” goes way back in time. To this day, this festive event is still taking place where every village has its own customs. The riders usually gather with their decorated horses (Whoever decorated his or her horse in the most beautiful way, is announced the winner at the end of the event) at a fixed point in the village, after which they ride to the beach together. Noordwelle is known for its large procession of decorated horses, including a large number of farm draft horses. Impressive to see!
Horses, like humans, deserve to rest and sleep well. They also deserve not to work all the time. Horses at rest are calm and relaxed, and a restful environment is a healthy one for horses. Physical and mental rest is important for recovery for horses in training or those overcoming illness or injury. Promoting good sleep and rest behavior in horses ensures that you’re giving your equines the opportunity to maintain and heal themselves whenever they need to.
This festival in the Netherlands is perfect for horses that work the land almost all the time. Horses also get tired just like humans. So why not have such a holiday all around the globe, to thank the horses for all the help they offer to us. This party, for example, starts eight weeks before Easter and has become increasingly popular these last few years. Horses are a blessing, so let’s treat them right!