Animals in Mexico, part 1, Horses

Mexico continues to amaze me with the number of animals one sees on a daily basis.  In the USA, you normally see large herds of animals in one place [i.e. on ranches] or you don’t see them too much at all because pets are kept inside and/or on leashes in relatively small numbers.

Not so here around Lake Chapala.  Animals are everywhere!  On the highway; on the main streets; on the side streets; in parades; at restaurants.

Maybe I’m just ignorant about the plethora of animals in the US because I worked in the National Parks for so long where neither visitors nor employees were encouraged to let their pets out lest they be gobbled up by elusive creatures like coyotes, wolves, or bears.

But here in Jocotepec municipality, we have lots of animals and we see them all the time.  I have literally come to four-way stops where, in addition to motorized vehicles, there are burros, horses, and dogs waiting to cross.  [Cows don’t wait for no stinkin’ stoplights.  They just go whenever they want to.]

Lots of people here have dogs, but for the most part they aren’t mascotas [pets].  They, as well as the other animals, are expected to earn their keep.  Cats are mousers or scorpion killers.  Dogs are guards or watchers or herders.  Cows produce milk and meat, as do goats. Horses and burros cart people and things around.  These are the working class animals of Mexico.

There’s an underclass as well.  Street dogs and feral cats are expected to take care of themselves.  They’re pretty sad to see.  Turned out onto the streets at an early age, only the strong survive.  You can see evolution in a revolutionary way here in Mexico.

If there’s an upper class of Mexican animals, it primarily consists of birds.  For whatever reason, people here seem to love them.  Chickens, of course, can produce eggs and meat, but many of my Mexican friends have other kinds of birds.   I think they just love them for their beauty and their music.

When I started looking for photos that I’ve taken of animals over the years down here,  I discovered there are animals….either live or representational….in lots of my photos. Therefore, I am calling this posting “part 1” because I am not including them all.  We’ll do more later.  In this post, I am going to concentrate on horses.  So this one is for my friends Joe and Dom, equine fanatics both!

The horse in the photo at the top of this blog was in one of the Senor del Monte parades here in Jocotepec a few years ago.  He was absolutely huge.  Here’s another snap of him prancing down the street:

There were other horses in the parade, including the two below.  I love the braided tail on the one and the dance steps of the other.

 And here’s a group of horses in the same fiesta parade:

One day, during a road trip to Tapalpa, Jalisco, with my friends Kathi and Warner, we stopped at a small pueblo for a beer and cigarette break and stumbled onto this Sunday afternoon band concert, complete with some working class horses:

And the dog seemed to be enjoying the music, as well.

On another daytrip with my friends Georgia and Tony and others, we stopped at Comala, Colima, for drinks and botanas [snacks] at the town plaza, and this horse and rider came walking and dancing down the street.  There was music playing and people swaying and a horse dancing in the street.  And here’s your video song for the day.   Enjoy!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdvITn5cAVc

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About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs....almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US -- and lived in lots of them -- i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default.
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5 Responses to Animals in Mexico, part 1, Horses

  1. Kathi says:

    That big horse and his brother are Joco’s favorites. They come out and help us celebrate very often.
    Love the Martha and the Vandells link.

  2. Pingback: social animals and cultural evolution of herds « power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci

  3. Joe Jensen says:

    Thanks Barb for the great pics. Some reminded me of places I’ve lived. Have you ever been to a Mexican rodeo? Can’t remember what they are called but they’re pretty cool. Contests of ropin’ bronc ridin’ and other traditional charro events They’re real colorful with all the traditional dress that bothe men and women wear.

    • Barbara says:

      Joe, i haven’t been to any rodeos or charreadas since i moved to Mexico, but went to several as a kid in Texas when we visited Mexico.

      • Joe says:

        Ya need to go If ya get a chance. would love to see some pics. I’m livin’ my Mexico dream thru you ya know. I can almost smell the taco carts, taste the chili and tequila. gracias mi amiga

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