The wild horses of Vieques are just as much a part of the island as the sand and sea! Upon arriving on Vieques, your first encounter may very well be with a horse. You may come upon them strolling on the beaches, grazing by the side of the road, or living on the grounds of a guesthouse. The locals of Vieques allow these majestic creatures to have free reign of the island.
Daily life on Vieques is tranquil, and these magnificent and docile creatures add to the simpatico way of life. Horses are a primary mode of transportation for many locals. Don’t be shocked if you see many riding, sometimes bareback! horseback riding is one of the most desired activity on Vieques, with several businesses offering beach rides on both coasts of the island. Some also provide interior rides through the streets, and up into the mountainsides. Vieques is known for fulfilling the bucket list of many visitors with a sunset beach horse ride!
Horses still play a significant role in social outings as on the Island. A cabalgata, or “group ride,” is similar to the gathering of a motorcycle rally A cabalgata is a procession of horses and riders that takes place in the main streets. They assemble in a designated place, then ride to other locations, usually stopping at local establishments along the way for refreshments and socializing. These gatherings happen often and are usually a means of celebration for the ones participating. Traditional riders will wear western riding gear – boots, hats, and jeans. They may also dress the horses in decorative and unique tack including custom saddles, cinches, and breast collars.
Paso Fino, meaning “fine step” or “the horses with the fine walk,” is a breed of horses brought to the Caribbean from Spain. The Puerto Rican people are extremely proud of these horses for their step and “brio” or energy. They desired for their smooth and steady, four-beat gait, or stride. They produce a rapid footfall, an unbroken rhythm, and little forward movement. Over the years, breeding was focused on their gait, which gives such a comfortable ride, that the riders barely move. If you see a Paso Fino horse, it is unbelievable to think that it hasn’t been trained to move in such a way. The foals even exhibit the gift of gait from birth. Many owners will still teach their horses to refine their step
In the past, Vieques held competitions where the riders would balance a glass of water on their hats. They would then ride down the main streets without trying spilling a drop! Many Paso Fino competitions still exist on Vieques and in Puerto Rico. If the opportunity arises to attend a competition, take advantage, and witness the brio and gait of the Paso Finos live in action! It will be one of the most memorable experiences of your Puerto Rican Vacation!
We can’t wait for you to come down and experience the beauty here and keep coming back year after year. We will see you soon.
Safe & fun travels!