The Day She became the First Woman Bullfighter on Horseback in France – Part 2

(Joel D.,  friend and  author here in Amour Toro, gave me the links to a temoignage written by Marie Sara, the first woman bullfighter on horseback in France. I am so impressed and fascinated by this story that I feel the need to translate it from French, to give as many people as possible the possibility to read it. The basic message has in fact nothing to do with bulls and bullfights. It is simply  a great lesson of courage and will, and the proof how dreams can become reality if we really want it. This is why I believe that it is a very important message for everybody!)

The Day when I became the First Woman Bullfighter on Horseback in France   – Part 2
I had planned to spend only some weeks there, I finally stayed 6 months.
I have to learn everything, I can hardly ride a horse. Mr. Domecq will take me under his wing and teach me all the fundamentals of the profession. Once again I had the luck to have a guardian angel watching over me.
The work is rough, But I grasp the nettle. I also know how privileged I am to be in this place. It is a unique occasion, and I feel obliged to grasp it.
I will come back to Mr Domecq every winter, for 5 or 6 years. There, I will go on practising and perfecting myself.
On the 5th of August 1984 I will attend my first bullfight on horseback in Viñaros, Spain.
I  have incredible “stage-fright”, but everything will work fine eventually, in front of the 6,000 spectators of the arena.
But in fact my real début will take place 4 years later, in 1968.
In May I fight in the prestigious arena in Nîmes, what no woman, since Conchita Citron, had done before. This is where I become a professional. Where I really start to touch my dream. After that I fight incessantly between France and Spain, and even Venezuela where I will triumph at the Feria de San Cristobal in 1990.
And then the big day arrives.
We have reached the 21st of September 1991 and on that day I receive the “Alternative” (which one could compare to a Doctor title which symbolises the official entry into the big family of the Tauromachie) from the hands of Conchita Citron, who accords me the big honour to be there to give me the baton. This is certainly the strongest memory of my career.
The arena was full to bursting -20 000 people giving a standing ovation- and me, I was living a dream, awake. A happiness, an emotion and a pride so strong that no words could ever express it.
I will go one bullfighting around the world for 8 years. Then, at the end of 1990, I take my final bow in front of the 15 000 spectators filling the arena of Arles. I go away for two main reasons: I have become a mum, and I feel used up from this life, passionate of course, but so demanding. The permanent competition -especially with the men- has tired me eventually. I need to stop to be able to breathe and to regenerate.
I stopped for 5 years. And then…
And then the passion came back, stronger than everything.
I needed to come back. I felt that I had not gone to my limits, I still had things to prove and to prove to myself. Perhaps I had gone away too early, I still had regrets and frustrations.And then me, who is a fighter, a competitor, I needed to prove to myself that I could come back to the top after 5 years of retirement and two pregnancys.
This come-back was much more difficult than I had imagined. I had to work more than ever, in 5 years one loses everything or almost everything, to start with, the physical condition, like top athletes who make their come-back. And then, in the meanwhile, the technique has fantastically improved, and young bullfighters on horseback had become the new “figuras”, the new stars of this discipline.
The mountain was very difficult to climb. But I did it. I won my bet..
I could then take my final bow, which I did in 2007.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: The Day She became the First Woman Bullfighter on Horseback in France - Part 1 « Amour Toro
  2. kevmoore
    Jan 16, 2009 @ 11:33:53

    I find this story fascinating, and whilst she deserves respect for the single-mindedness in which she undertook her “mission” – for that is what it seems, I fear her “cultivation” of eerily apt acquaintances more than a little calculating, and perhaps, looking down from the pinnacle of her career, finds it hard to see many true friends.

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