Our Moroccan photo essay of this year's Tissa Horse Festival is by John Horniblow, whose photographic work has been widely published, including in Time and National Geographic. He is the editor and publisher of Photojournale
Every year in October a spectacular event is held in the small north Moroccan town of Tissa. Celebrated in remembrance of Sidi Muhammed Ben Lachen, a fifteenth century patron saint, the Tissa Horse Festival attracts hundreds of horse breeders and horse owners. They come to show off their beautifully groomed thoroughbreds, which are put through their paces in displays of remarkable horsemanship, echoing skills used in inter-tribal wars of previous centuries.
The horses that are brought here are of the finest breeding and include Arab-Berbers, Arab stallions and Barbary mares. Riders get the opportunity to display their horse’s capabilities in different events, exhibiting qualities such as grace, speed, manoeuvrability and endurance. Onlookers watch as lines of riders charge towards a fence at full belt, before pulling up suddenly and discharging their muskets.
All photos copyright John Horniblow.