Saturday, July 4, 2009

Horse owners life in Belize

Horse racing in rural Belize
Horses of Crooked Tree
Annual Belmopan rodeo in Belize


Foreigners are often curious about life in Belize. Here in Western Belize we have a whole segment of Mennonites who refuse to use modern things and they use horses as their main transportation system and you can see them driving their wagons miles and miles for hours, back and forth along the roads to their farms, after being to the local villages and towns selling their produce, or for doing their shopping.
Some people even use horses as transportation to live within their means, as they do work like day labor and grow their own food on the lower end of the cash flow scale. Certainly children love horses and horses love children and it is not unusual in our suburb of Hillview of Santa Elena Town of the Western Twin District towns to see school age children riding horses in play after school around the community.
There is probably no finer sight than to see the bond of young children with their equally young horses, who are their best friends. Riding around here is primarily bareback. Riders use halters for steering with reins, but that is usually the limit for horse riding paraphernalia. I rarely drive to the coast. Perhaps, once a year or two, to the port town, en-route to my home island of Caye Caulker. I was very surprised about a year ago, the last time I went down the Western highway ( one of two highways in Belize ) to pass a gymkhana, with regular American style obstacles and training corals for horses on the side of the highway. We have a lot of expatriates from foreign countries, retired here, or doing business and living here. So I suppose there is a growing demand for the more upscale type horse facility.
The whole thing came to mind, because of the trouble you can have with animals in this world, co-existing with human populations. This weekends newspaper, ( one of them ) ( Belize has no daily newspapers ) had a story about a fuss in a coastal village called Gales Point, located on a peninsular in Gales Point Lagoon, famous for it’s fishing and Manatee population, which is a mecca for Tourism. The village has at least one tourist place and maybe two? Seems like a tourist went up to pet a horse, eating grass, hobbled and on a staked rope somewhere in a village open yard. The horse didn’t want to be bothered ( maybe it was too hot? ) and turned around like some horses and dogs do and gently nipped the tourist on the shoulder. Both horses and dogs use their mouth and teeth to communicate with. They don’t have hands and cannot speak. No blood was drawn or anything. It is just a polite gesture to say, you are a stranger and don’t annoy me. In the newspaper article, the expatriate tourist owner of the facility in the village, catering to manatee watching and sports fishermen, is complaining officially that the horse whose home is with a family in the village should be removed from the village. That is nonsense of course, the horse is the families transportation to their plantation, where they grow the food they eat and sell along the coast to the market in Belize City. Besides the horse is a member of a family, like a brother or nephew. The horse is not a pet, it is family. Which just goes to show the problems you can have with different cultures of humans trying to live together with different historical backgrounds.

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