Girls Horse Club Blog

Horse Life in Guatemala

Published by • Nov 10th, 2011 • Category: LeadMare Tales, Picture This

Hola GHCers! I hope you’re having a fantastic Fall. Mine has been jam-packed with amazing experiences, primarily centered around my Blue Sky adventure in Guatemala. It was a whirlwind with no time for diversions to explore local horsy activities, but as it turns out I didn’t need a detour—caballos crossed my path every day!

Together with a team of hard-working, generous people from around the world, days were spent in San Andrés Itzapa, a vibrant municipality about 30 minutes from where we stayed in the beautiful city of Antigua. Working with local masons and Habitat for Humanity, we helped construct a home for a deserving family. The Habitat homes are built of HEAVY concrete block, rebar, and mortar, and there are no power tools—only the basics like shovels, hammers, buckets, and our strong bodies. Although I returned with many bumps, bruises, and aches, the work was incredibly fun and satisfying.

Horse hooves echo on the cobblestone streets as a curious neighbor passes our build site.

It’s no surprise that in a country where half the population lives in poverty, pets (certainly horses as pets) are a rarity. Yet in the cities I visited, dogs and horses were everywhere. We even saw a herd of pigs pass by one day!

Stray Dogs
Stray dogs wandered the streets, alone or in packs, looking for food.

Horses as Commuter Vehicles in Guatemala
A farm worker commutes out to the fields on his horse.

Horse Grazing While Children Play in Guatemala
Working children take a break to play while their horse grazes alongside the road.

Horses as "Beasts of Burden" in Guatemala
On the commute home, horses carry crops harvested from the fields.

Horse Grazing in Guatemala
A lone horse grazes untethered in an open pasture at the end of the work day.

In general, Guatemalan horses are “beasts of burden” used for labor and transportation. Some of the horses may look undernourished and over-worked, but don’t be too quick to judge—I saw families who barely had enough for their own children take in skinny, sickly stray dogs and offer them whatever food they could spare from their own.

Undernourished Strays Find a Home
People living in poverty still have compassion for animals in need.

I hope you enjoyed this pictorial glimpse of life in Guatemala. If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a photo-video-journal-thingie created to share the experience with family, friends and colleagues…


6 Nickers »

  1. sounds like you had a great time, Leadmare! can’t wait to here more about guatamala!

  2. Sounds like so much fun:) I love the pictures

  3. sounds great! some day i want to go there(:

  4. Wow, that was so interesting to read and now im doing my talk in class about horses around the world ( i already knew it would be on horse =D . Thank yoou for providing me with so many ideas ( dont worry i wont copy although i wish i could write and have the same adventures as you :)

  5. Thanks everyone for the nice comments.

    sAyChEeSe hOrSeTabs, happy to hear my adventure gave you some ideas for your class presentation. I’m sure you’ll do a great job! When you’re done you should write it up and submit it here too.

  6. That’s amazing! I wanna go! :)