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The Canarian Pastor (or Shepherd's) Leap is a tradition of the Canarian Islands and consists of using a long wooden pole to cross the countryside and to jump over gulley’s and cliffs. The origins of salto del pastor may date back to the Guanches, the aboriginal inhabitants of the islands prior to the Castilian conquest period of the early 15th century. In the past all kinds of people used this pole to walk across the fields, but recently it is only used by shepherds. There are initiatives to revive this kind of country-walking and to include it in local competitions.
These clubs are called “Jurrias” or “Colectivos” and the first ones were organised in 1994. In 2001 the “Federación Canaria” had been created.
The technique of jumping is rather complex and implies the use of both hands, the entire body and more specific the legs. There are three basic techniques to ascend and many options to descend which allows the jumper to jump higher than the height of the pole itself. In this way one can move quickly and become very agile across difficult terrain.
Michel Note: some elements in this article have been collected from Federación de Salto del pastor Canario. www.saltodelpastorcanario.org