This morning the alarm rang very early, we had a 2 and a half hour journey to get to the Finca Zahariche, between Lora del Río and La Campana, 2 small villages in the Sevillean area. We arrive in front of the gate to the ranch and we face this image: 2 poles overlaid by a bow with metal forged letters to spell the name of the owner’s family, at the sides of the bow, two skulls of their bulls, the name of the family in question is Miura. Seeing this one could cite Dante, “abandon every hope, ye who enter here”.
We enter and keep going up a dirt road reaching a yard, the host, Antonio Miura Martínez, is standing there and welcomes us with a sincere smile and a firm hand-shake. If we asked anyone to imagine a breeder, they’d describe him: checkered shirt, with his initialed sewed on, trousers, booths and on his head, a typical wide-brimmed hat that must have seen many moons. The bulls farm Miura was founded on May 15, 1842 by Juan Miura, the horse one in 1845. The company has been passed on from father to son or from brother to brother since the beginning. The current owners are the brothers Antonio and Eduardo Miura Martínez.
The family and its collaborators, a total of 14 (7 ride the horses, 7 take care of the PREs, the facilities and feed the bulls), work in the 600 hectares of land that surround the farm. Work here starts early, Eduardo Miura Fanjul, Antonio’s nephews and only heir explains “we start at 8 am, we go count the cattle that includes: bulls, cows with their unweaned calves and cows with calves up to 1 year of age, we are talking about approximately 800 heads, therefore it is not very easy, especially because these animals are not particularly docile nor collaborative”. The enterprise operates in the field of fighting bulls breeding, agriculture (mainly cultivating sweetcorn, cotton – very typical in the area -, potatoes, oats, …) and PRE and hispanic-arab horses. Fecundation is done both through natural mating with mares and stallions of the house (at present the most used is Ojeroso x), and with artificial insemination with horses coming from the famous Yeguada Pallares. Miura’s horses are used mainly for work with bulls, therefore they need very functional and agile equines, that learn easily and that respond well, they most notbe fearful and must be very quick to avoid the rapid and unpredictable actions of the bulls.
The doma vaquera serves this purpose and as Antonio explains “it is learned in the field, day by day, there’s no school, only experience, passion and the respect for what we are taught through the generations”. The Miuras also breed and tame horses to sell them, the famous Invasor, olympic champion in Athens, is the son of Panadero VIII, a Miura’s PRE. Mares and foals run free in the fields, separated from the cattle, also free to wander around the pastures, but divided by sex and type: bulls for bullfighting, females and stallions, each of these groups, except for those used for reproduction, are divided by age. Females and stallions have their horns cut to avoide injuries or possible deaths. During our visit Antonio takes us to see them up close on his jeep, they’re there, enormous and muscly, they watch and study us. Finding ourselves a few meters away has a certain impact on us, even more when one of them decides that our visit is not appreaciated and charges us, thanks to Antonio’s infinite experience, that foresees the bull’s intentions, we hit on the accelerator and flee at top speed, he explains “if you know the animal, you can see when he’s going to go for it, his eyes change, the bull is a very fast animal on pickup, that must highly respected and with who we always need to be vigilant, engine and first gear always on”.
Miura’s bulls are reknown for their special courage, their tall and long shape, but also for the extremely acute ability to remember things and learn quickly “that bull will now try to charge the jeep again next time, remembering that it was useful to take away the annoyance”. The day with Antonio and Eduardo flew by, emotions were strong in seing a family that continues its activity for over 170 years with great passion, pride, respect fo tradition and humility.