Sun Dec 17 01:00:00 CET 2017

The Vía de la Plata adds the first equestrian pilgrimage route after obtaining official recognition from the Spanish Royal Equestrian Federation

  • The director of Turismo de Galicia and the regional representative of the Xunta in Ourense visited this horse trail between the municipalities of A Gudiña and Laza today
  • The Way of St James Master Plan includes actions of this kind to diversify pilgrim flows and enable the different routes to specialize by type
    Beginning next year, Monte do Gozo Park will have a reception area for pilgrims on horseback, one of the types of pilgrimage that is eligible for the Compostela

Laza (Ourense), 17 December 2017

This weekend, the Vía de la Plata added the first equestrian pilgrimage route, which has obtained official recognition from the Spanish Royal Equestrian Federation for this type of pilgrimage. Turismo de Galicia Director Nava Castro, accompanied by the regional representative of the Xunta in Ourense, Marisol Díaz Mouteira, visited this trail where it passes through the municipality of Laza.

The initiative marks the establishment of this official recognition, which affects the entire Vía de la Plata Route up to its destination in Santiago de Compostela. Identified as code IE-016, this is the first Galician route to receive certification, a goal which the Xunta de Galicia achieved this autumn.

The section of this equestrian route between A Gudiña and Laza was completed on Saturday and Sunday by a group of riders belonging to the Galician Mountain Horse Association (Boqueixón), Knights of Brión Equestrian Association, Jinetes de Noia, Jinetes de Villestro, Club Hípico Pura Raza Gallega (Ames), Centro Ecuestre El Paso (Castro de Riberas de Lea) and Hípica Ares (Vilagarcía de Arousa). Also taking part in the initiative were representatives of the Galician Equestrian Federation, responsible for the recognition commission for the routes of the Way of St James in our community, a project funded by Turismo de Galicia.

20% more pilgrims on horseback

Doing the pilgrimage on horseback is one of the three options recognized by the Pilgrim’s Office. In order to obtain the Compostela, it is necessary to complete the final 100 kilometres of the route. This type of pilgrimage experienced a 20% increase in the past year, surpassing 400 pilgrims. Thanks to the official recognition from the Spanish Royal Equestrian Federation, it is expected that this growth will continue in upcoming years. This marks a step forward in achieving the aims set out in the Way of St James Master Plan, which contains actions to diversify pilgrim flows, while at the same time enabling the different routes to specialize and highlight their unique features.

To complement this official recognition, beginning next year, Santiago de Compostela will have a space to receive pilgrims on horseback, located in the refurbished Monte do Gozo Park. This is among the Action Plan items currently being implemented, which will expand the services available at this facility.

Like the other pilgrimage routes to Santiago, this year the Vía de la Plata saw an increase in its pilgrim numbers, which now exceed 9,000. This represents a rise in total pilgrims of more than 3%.