Horses in El Salvador

Barrios Plaza, Gerardo Barrios, horse
General Gerardo Barrios

Upon my arrival in El Salvador, I wasn’t sure what to expect. This was my first time visiting this Central American country. While there were many beautiful places to discover, I would not be taking a horseback riding vacation in El Salvador. After a few days in this country, I learned that horses are used here more for business, not pleasure riding. Horses cost money to keep and, rightly so, they are considered a luxury item.

The few times that I saw horses during our trip, they were individual sightings. The horses were tied up on short ropes, grazing on sparse patches of grass by the side of the road. I also saw a small band of horses grazing on an island surrounded by Lake Suchitlan in Suchitoto, El Salvador. My last horse sighting in El Salvador was of an older cowboy, his skin leathered and worn by many years working in the hot sun. He seemed out of place, walking his horse down the cobblestoned side street of Calle Poniente. I ran back to my hotel room to get my camera, but in the blink of an eye, or perhaps the swish of a tail, the vaquero and his caballo rode off into the sunset.

I’m told there is a Cowboy Parade in July when the cowboys come together in Suchitoto on horseback. I would love to see that gathering! I did find a noble steed in the bustling capital city of San Salvador. Located in the heart of the city, on Civic Plaza, I spotted General Gerardo Barrios on his bronze horse. The statue, designed by Francisco Durini Cáseres and sculpted by brothers Antonio and Carlos Ezeta, was unveiled in 1909 and depicts the shield of El Salvador taken from a battle scene.

To read more of Nancy Brown’s travel adventures in El Salvador, visit Nancy D. Brown’s What a Trip blog. Photo courtesy Nancy D. Brown.