Covenant of love

It is an endless passion, or better 'true love', that has flowed through the veins of Santì Serra Camps since he was a child, the instinctive and spontaneous love for a marvel of nature: the horse.

  • #spanish
  • #horsemanship
  • #show artist

Susanna Cottica Animo

Santì Serra Camps and his horses are a perfect symbiosis, a harmony of heart and soul that makes them capable of extraordinary achievements. Actions which in the eyes of us as observers seem incredible but which they, Santì and his horses, express with extreme simplicity and spontaneity. Everything for them is easy. All that is needed is a look between them to understand each other. Just a slight gesture to attract their attention: no noise, no crowds, no surrounding environment to distract their attention, where he is the sole focus of attention. This is how great actions are born between man and horse, whatever they may be: communication, from a mutual understanding. Beyond technique, beyond rationality; only emotion and sensitivity.

Santì Serra is a horseman or rather a ' horse boy ' by tradition. Born in Spain, in Barcelona, a land of strong equestrian tradition, at twenty-seven he is one of the best known equestrian artists in his country and now also in Europe. Moreover, Santì was born into a family of great equestrian tradition, true horsemen: "Even before I had learned to walk, my father taught me to ride – he recalls - I owe him and all my family the love for horses, that for me, since I was a child, have become my reason for living". Santi speaks with his horses, communicates and plays with them in complete freedom; he relates with them in the great outdoors and they are always beside him, focussing on him and interacting while having fun. Together they create truly exciting and beautiful artistic figures: "It's hard to explain in words how I communicate with horses. It is an instinctive relationship that arises from complicity, by mutual trust. The sensitivity, the feeling, this is something you can't teach, they are part of us, they are natural and instinctive - explains Santi Serra – the harmony is established from when horses are very young; usually beginning with horses of two years of age. Even at that age I'd rather leave the horses in the herd, to allow them to grow together according to their nature. There is no set time during which horses learn to recognise me as leader of the herd and then to trust me completely and play with me. Usually it takes from six months to a year to achieve complete harmony. At the beginning I only attempt communication from the ground, with freedom, then once the harmony has been established, I tame them and ride them. Once the bond becomes solid and the harmony is instant, we move together in freedom, we often go to the sea shore and I ride without saddle and bit. I spend many hours with my horses in the silence and darkness of the night, during which a deep feeling is established between us. My goal is for the horse to feel free even when it is with me, to keep intact its nature and to have fun with me and ensure it is happy. Sometimes I happen to work with horses that have suffered trauma from previous incorrect taming or from hard and bad riders. With these horses you need to be very patient, to engage them in short work sessions and as soon as you get a result, even minimal, pause. Cesar, for example, my Lusitano, had suffered extreme ill-treatment and when I got him, he was terrified of humans. I gave him plenty of time to regain confidence by proving that he could trust me. Now we are inseparable, he is one of my best companions, he is a great artist. And what about Nika, my Arabian intellectual prodigy? We have such a relationship of friendship and love that she is even jealous of me. When I and my girlfriend, Nicole, embrace, she approaches us and stares straight into Nicole's eyes as if she were a jealous girlfriend. Horses let go of their fears and bad memories and can once again trust, giving us priceless emotions, intimate moments that are worth more than any victory or success. There are no difficult horses, only people who are difficult, and horses suffer the mistakes of humans".

When a horse chooses a human as leader of the herd, it relies on them and follows him in any undertaking: "The horse that must participate in an equestrian show must have a strong personality - continues Santi - It must be brave and must know its own mind, characteristics it assumes if the first contact with humans is instantly the right one. If it suffers ill-treatment or bad training, it loses its spontaneity and becomes shy and fearful - explains Santi Serra - When there is understanding and communication, the horse does not fear the public, the applause or the confusion of the surrounding environment. If I see that a horse is shy by nature and does not feel at ease in the environment of the show, I simply don't insist, I keep it at home or give it as a gift to a friend who can go for walks with it where it can enjoy a life that is more appropriate to its nature".
Santi works with horses of all breeds and types, although currently his companions at the shows are mostly Arabs, Frisians and Lusitano: "I like all horses, I choose them following my gut feeling. When I feel something special, I take them. The Arabs are harder to manage, they have a lot of blood and a strong character, a fighting spirit but once you have earned their trust, they are exceptional, the best, like Nika and Loretta, two real stars! Napoleon, Leopoldo and Maximiliano are Frisians, extraordinary horses, strong, intelligent and proud! Napoleon has even learned to paint; he takes the brush between his teeth and paints on the canvas! The Arab Kyfruc was instead my teacher, he taught me everything! My family gave him to me when the mare was four months pregnant. We grew up together. Now, at the age of seventeen, he is still my point of reference, my greatest friend. Among these wonderful artists there are also Texas and Dakota, my two very faithful Border Collies. And with them many other dogs, horses, a zebra and a lama. They are all friends! It's great to see them all together, to have fun with them, to observe them without ever losing sight of them, always ready to intervene to do their bit with pride. This is my life, what I have dreamt of since childhood and something I would never change. I am very lucky to be able to share this with my family and with Nicole".
The childhood dream of Santi Serra Camps came true and who knows how many other great undertakings he will be able to accomplish with his horses ... When man and horse become one, the highest expression of nature, the two opposites blend into a single soul. It isn't just art, it's life. 

Info on Santì Serra Camps