A horse ride trip in Viñales is truly memorable and beautiful. However, I could not enjoy the trip to the fullest, observing how the horses are abused.
Starting the trip, I was given a horse. His name was Chocolate, and I was told that he was 5 years old. However, he was so small and thin, and did not look like he was that old. Unless they never fed him. Which could be.
Almost from the start, the poor horse was tired. He walked like an automatic, until he fell exhausted with me on top. When we were going over a bridge, his tired feet stepped wrong, and we fell. Luckily, I did not get the horse over me, and was not seriously injured. Neither, was Chocolate. Later, he walked in fog into a fence with tags, which was stuck in his skin. If he did stop for rest or eat, or walked slowly he was wiped. The guides kept on whipping and whipping the horses that already had several scars. I felt very bad for Chocolate and the other horses, which were struggling with the journey. I felt like going of the horse, and walk next to it. But that would not be possible as we were in a group, and that would delay everyone.
All over Cuba, you can see drivers brutally whip the horses, make them pull larger loads than they can bear. Furthermore, they fail to feed them well. Nevertheless, there is no law or punishment for abusing horses in Cuba. Nevertheless, independent farmers cannot be blamed for the bad conditions of the horses that transport tourists, as these trips are governmental ran and controlled with fines for unauthorized.
However, as already mentioned, the trip in-itself is beautiful with amazing nature. That being said, if you care about the well-being of animals the trip can be hard to enjoy.
I have also seen how many of the Elephants that tourists ride in India are brutally abused. But, that is another story, that I might come back to another time.
What do you think about such treatment of animals for the sake of tourism? Have you ever experienced something similar?