THE REJONEADORA

Federico Scoppa

Lea first put her foot in a stirrup at the age of four. Twenty-five years later she has penetrated the “rejoneo” world, bringing a personal touch to this beautiful equestrian art. Lea was born into a family of riders in Nîmes on the edge of the Camargue of southern France, and she grew up surrounded by the region’s traditions of horses and bull fighting. She entered dressage and training competitions on her Camargue horse and won many trophies. Her riding instructor quickly realized how gifted she is: “She instinctively knows. She ‘breathes’ the horse,” he says. Hard work and her sense of observation, intuition and immense sensitivity drive Lea to push her boundaries and develop real skill in the art of dressage. A series of meetings with experts brought her closer to the “toro bravo” world and the horse riding “torera”. One in particular has had a profound influence on Lea’s fate: the Lord of the art, the centaur, the Marisma poet: D. Angel Peralta. The maestro’s years of experience and triumphs allowed him to detect early the talent of the young French rider. He then invited her into his operation to join his team of horse trainers in the “El Rocio” ranch in “La Puebla del Río”, near Seville, where his “toros bravo” and “cartujanos” horses graze. Don Angel Peralta, the master and renewer of the “rejoneo”, a form of bullfighting in which the principal fighter is on horseback, believed in Lea enough to make her a disciple and spiritual heir of the art that he has developed and refined over decades. Her biologist diploma in the bag, Lea became Andalusian. And it was under the critical but well-meaning eye of her mentor that over four years the young French woman spent 10 hours a day in the saddle, training her own horses, perfecting her bullfighting, developing her own style of dealing with cows and bulls, while also training horses bred by the Peralta brothers. After four years of sacrifice and hard work, in October 2010 Lea Vicens finally had the long-awaited reward of being officially introduced to the public as a “rejoneadora”, a bullfighter on a horse. After an introductory season, she achieved a very promising 2012 season (27 corridas, 60 ears and 10 tails) and was unanimously applauded by professionals and the specialist press who never tired of praising the young French woman’s elegant horse-riding and bullfighting style.

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