Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Morocco's Tissa Horse Festival 2012 - Latest

For sheer excitement nothing beats the Tissa Horse Festival - photo Sandy McCutcheon

The confusion over the dates for the Tissa Horse Festival has been cleared up. The 2012 event will take place in Tissa between the 19th and 23rd of September.

The annual festival which involves a competition between rival teams that battle for supremacy on the field is a major attraction. The Tissa Horse Festival re-lives Morocco's rich and often war-like history. It's still extremely daunting to see a line of warriors dressed in white charging straight towards you on their spirited Arab stallions. Stopping within centimetres of the wooden fence at the finish, they fire muzzle loaded rifles in a deafening volley. On occasion a horse can't be restrained and breaks through.

While the Tissa Horse Festival is held in honour of a local patron saint, a fifteenth century Holy man, called Sidi Muhammad ben Lahcen, the displays of skilled horsemanship are primarily about speed, team work, discipline and manoeuvrability.

Teams are judged by officials who watch from in front and on both sides. The criteria involved includes the neatness of the formation as it charges, the ability to charge right up to the fence at the end of the field and the discharging of the rifles in unison. It was an extraordinary event that thrilled the more than four thousand spectators.

Skill, chaos and mayhem - Tissa has it all   photo Suzanna Clarke

Sadly, the organisers seem unaware of the potential to attract international visitors and very little accurate information is available to the public. The problems probably arise because the competing teams are the main focus for the organisers. That visitors need to book flights to Morocco and make transport arrangements is incidental.

The Tissa Festival is a photographer's delight - photo Suzanna Clarke

Booking transport to Tissa

For visitors wishing to visit the Tissa Horse Festival, day-trip transport is available from Fez, however, it is important to reserve this in advance. Bookings can be made by contacting Michele at Plan-it-Fez or email:


See our photo essay on the 2012 Tissa Festival here.
Another worthwhile day-trip is to the colourful Khenifra carpet souq in the Atlas mountains.


1 comment:

Marcia said...

Thank you so much! We have been waiting for this.