Cuba is famous for their rum and cigars. What many people do not know is that they are also known in the equine world for training and breeding horses. In recent years, Cuba has been “opening up” their relations with the Europe and the US. natural horsemanship has even gained ground in Cuba, a country known for keeping more traditional methods. ~ HfH
From: ABC News
By: Anne Marie Garcia
By importing colts and fillies from the Netherlands, Cuban trainers are creating prized competitors capable of fetching more than $40,000 from buyers at private auctions, with much of the proceeds going back to the government-led equine enterprise.
At an auction last month at the National Equestrian Club, well-heeled horse collectors gathered in the tropical air to sip wine and raise their bidding paddles, hoping to find a champion among the Dutch Warmbloods paraded before them.
By evening’s end, 31 horses sold for a total of about $435,000 to buyers from Brazil, Canada, Guatemala, the Netherlands and Mexico.
“The great advantage is that they are already in the Americas,” said Cecilia Pedraza, a Mexico City collector who bought several of the Dutch Warmbloods. “In addition, they have been trained very well. They are advanced for their age, very well-behaved, perform concentrated jumps and have excellent blood lines.”
Rufino Rivera, from Xalapa, the capital of Mexico’s Gulf coast state of Veracruz, paid about $17,000 for a horse he hopes will follow the path of Aristotelis, a prize-winning jumper he bought at the club’s first auction six years ago.
Cuba’s tradition of horse breeding and training dates to the 16th century, but after the 1959 communist revolution, Fidel Castro’s government banned horse racing along with gambling and professional sports. Cuba continued to participate in amateur equestrianism, producing top-notch horse riders and trainers. But the costly sport slipped into decline in the 1990s, when the fall of the Soviet Union provoked an economic crisis that made it hard to care for the animals.
Then, starting in 2005, Cuba began seeing horses as a way to gain badly needed foreign currency. It began to import Dutch Warmbloods around age 1½, then train them for competitive jumping before selling them at age 3.