Destination Panama Information Blog on Panama. A Life & Travel Guide with Tips on Panama for Vacationers, Panamanians, and Expats. Listings for Hotels, Restaurants, Doctors, Tours, Vacation Escapes and more.
Boquete Mountain Safari Tours Whether you're seeking rugged adventure, cool mountain waters, award winning coffee, sizzling hot springs, exotic birds, nature, geology, or panoramic vistas, Boquete Mountain Safari has the right tour for you. We can accommodate groups of 2 to 20. All of our guides were born and raised in Boquete, so they know the area very well; they are bi-lingual and great at finding the rare Quetzal and Three Wattled Bellbird, Howlers and Sloth, on our hikes. You can see what others are saying about us on TripAdvisor, IgoUgo, ThornTree, or our web site.
We also have information about how to get to Boquete, Panama, accomodations, and other things to do while here. Let us know if we can help in any way.
Experience Boquete Today New blog designed by the Boquete Business Association to keep the world informed of the latest news, weather, activities, and hotels in Boquete, Panama.
Weather in Boquete, Panama Since 2002, the world's retirement population has been discovering Boquete as a retirement haven with low cost of living, perfect weather and beautiful people. As a result, unemployment here is low and quality of life is high. Boquete weather is characterized by a warmer Dry Season (December through March) known as Summer, and a cooler Wet Season (April through November) known as Winter. Temperatures are highly dependent on elevation, cloud cover and rainfall, with variances of up to 20 degrees Farenheit between the sea level cities of Panama City and David, to the 1,200 meters (4,000 feet) above sea level elevation of Boquete. Nights and sometimes even days, on the summit of Volcan Baru at 4,000 meters (13,000 feet), can get VERY cold so be sure to prepare for this if you intend to scale the summit. The climatic conditions and sharp incline in topography make for breathtaking beauty, as well as several micro-climates within the valley itself. Check out the weather right now by clicking on the icon below.
If you are a Horse Lover coming to Boquete, Panama, to visit or possibly re-locate, then you need to look at this new blog. It has been created by a long time resident of Boquete who is very involved with the horse community. You will find information about horse communities; horse clubs; horse events; rodeos; and interesting horse care articles from around the world. Horse Talk Panama is a great network to help you find horses for sale if you plan on staying in Boquete, Panama.
Boquete Safari is now offering Horseback Riding in the Mountains above the Boquete Valley. Enjoy the fresh cool air; views of the Pacific, the Volcan Baru, and the Valley of Boquete. Drive in our famous Yellow Jeep to our high elevation ranch where you will saddle up and head out for the most spectacular views on horseback in Panama. The trail meanders across the mountain ridge and then down in to the rainforest. An unsurpassed Boquete experience; for horse lovers or first time riders. horses in panama Pick up at your hotel; 20 to 30 minute casual ride up the mountain; 10-15 minute riding orientation; average 2+ hours of riding; leave the ranch and head back down the mountain to your hotel.
Boquete Mountain Safari, an adventure tour company in Panama, has been in business for almost 10 years. When the original owners started the Famous “Yellow Jeep” tours 10 years ago, very little was known about Boquete and fewer tourists perceived this as an adventure destination.
Ten years later, Boquete is one of Panama’s most popular ‘tourist hot spots’. With that has come a fierce competition among Tour Operators. Boquete is home to the endangered and Resplendent Quetzal. Boquete is also a great destination for the high end and budget traveler. Hotels can range from $5.00 a night to $500 a night. You can find local Panamanian food for $2.50, a huge plate full, or gourmet dinning at the Panamonte, with world famous Chef Charlie Collins.
Along with all this growth has come a host of “tour guides”. Boquete Mountain Safari was one of the original tour companies in Boquete. As with any well run, and professional organization, comes “Imposters”. Because of Boquete Safari’s high standard for excellence, tour guides who might have been with us last year might not be with us this year.
Panama’s educational system and work ethic are not amongst the highest in the international community. Boquete Safari has trained and fired many of the tour guides that you will find at some of the other tour agencies in Boquete. “Customer Service, adventure and safety are upper most with the Boquete Safari staff”, says Brad , one of the US consultants keeping the Safari ship running smoothly. “We have had to dismiss several employees for behavior unbecoming of Boquete Safari Staff”. Many of those fired or dismissed are now working for Explora Ya, or out on their own. So, make sure you book with the original “Boquete Tour Company” and not one of the imposters; for the best adventure, and for your own safety.
Another problem with being the First and The Best is the number of “copy cats”. Boquete Mountain Safari started 10 years ago with only 2 tours, now the creative combinations and custom tours outnumber any other tour operator in Boquete. “It is very sad when not one other tour operator in Boquete can think on their own. The other tour companies are constantly sending ‘spies’ to our shop to see what new adventures we have created,” said Brad. “During staff meetings it is not unusual to see the owners of other companies lurking outside our window. Trying to figure out what new and creative adventure we are working on”.
Our purpose is to create and maintain a cohesive “trail-riding” group in our local area and throughout the Province of Chiriqui, RoP; to share advice on the care and management of horses, and to disperse critical information affecting all horse owners in Panama.
Any person owning (or with access to the use of) a riding horse, and wishing to take part in events organized by CSC may be proposed (including self-proposal) for membership of the Chiriqui Saddle Club. Membership proposals may be approved or disapproved by a super-majority of voting Members. An approved Member agrees to the precepts that are the substance of these By-laws, and to the rules of common trail-riding etiquette appended hereto. Guests:
Any SCS Member may invite any person of their acquaintance to any event organized by CSC as a Guest of the Member. The Member extending that invitation is wholly responsible for the conduct and safety of the Guest, and agrees that the Guest will comply with the precepts that are the substance of these By-laws.
Unless otherwise determined that an event will be open to the public, only Members and Guests will be permitted to participate in CSC organized Trail-rides, clinics, seminars, or other events. Trail-boss:
All Trail-rides and other CSC organized events will be conducted by a designated Trail-boss. The Trail-boss is responsible for the safe conduct of the event, and has the ultimate authority to accept or deny the participation of any Member or Guest based solely upon his judgment of the experience and ability of any participant to comply with CSC safety requirements, and to meet the physical and skill demands of the event. The Trail-boss may cancel, shorten, extend, re-route, or change the planned event to accommodate weather, trail conditions, rider competence, horse condition and abilities, health and safety concerns, or any other circumstance that may prevail. Members and Guests will respect and adhere to Trail-boss’ judgment and instructions at all times.
Health and safety:
All horses participating in, or visiting, CSC events must have the health, vaccination, and ownership credentials required by National and Provincial Law. Together with any other transportation, agricultural, and livestock laws if travelling outside of Chiriqui.
All Members and Guests must comply with CSC and Trail-boss requirements for safe conduct, and must use appropriate clothing and tack for the event. Primary Purpose:
The primary purpose of CSC is to organize and promote exhilarating and challenging group trail-riding, in the mountains and rural areas of Chiriqui Province and beyond. Respect for the pristine natural environment, and the tranquility and pastoral nature of Trail-riding, is essential to the achievement of that purpose. It is therefore required that Members and Guests follow the principles of nature conservation, and avoid littering, damaging, or polluting the natural environment. All perimeter fences and gates must be returned to their original position after use, and all private property rights observed.
For more information, to particiapte in tours, or to inquire about membership please e-mail:
The festival in Bugaba is an all day (all weekend) affair. There are a lot of happy people having fun. The bull ring is used for various functions (and political speeches). The bull running started at 4:00 PM. The Cavalgata was scheduled to start at 3:00 PM. In true Panama fashion, it started around 4:30 PM. But it was closer to 5:00pm by the time it got into its stride. Of course, once the beginning of the parade laps the end of the parade, there is no beginning and end.
The parade goes first to the Municipal building to collect the flag, and then to the bull ring where many more horses attach themselves to the throng. After that, the parade becomes a crowd pleasing mass of equine movement with happy (read rowdy) horsemen and horsewomen showing off some of the finest horseflesh in Chiriqui. The parade is led by a truck bearing a brass band (a very loud brass band) surrounded by horses and followed by a drinks bearing truck surrounded by riders on horses, and a food truck surrounded by horses and well-oiled riders. Brave pedestrians mingle and pass among the horses surrounding the band truck, the drinks truck, the food truck, and the fireworks truck... the entire assemblage is followed by hundreds of horses, which in turn are followed by hundreds of people. The food (usually meat and fried yuca) and drinks and fireworks are (in theory) for the benefit of the horse riders, but there are prodigious quantities of everything.
I’m going to let the pictures tell the rest of the story.
Text written by Chiriqui Saddle Club member. This is a new riding organization in Boquete, Panama. For more information, or to join: e-mail [email protected]
The recent implementation in Chiriquí of equinotherapy in the treatment of children with psychomotor disabilities represents new opportunities for improving the quality of life and social insertion of this segment of the population.
The national director of the Instituto Panameño de Habilitación Especial (IPHE, the national institute for special education), Itzel Palacios de Guilbauth, indicated that in Chilibre, Panama, equinotherapy has provided excellent results in the rehabilitation of 300 children who suffer from cerebral palsy, autism and Down syndrome.
Early last month, the construction of the nation’s second equinotherapy track was begun on the grounds of David’s IPHE headquarters, and additional tracks are projected in the next few years for Antón (Coclé), Santiago (Veraguas) and the Azuero peninsula.
“It is wonderful to see how in a few short weeks of therapy with these noble animals, some of the children have spoken their first words and seem quite happy,” expressed Palacios de Guilbauth, who pointed out that the service is provided free of charge to a dozen children in David, while in other countries private businesses offer the service at a cost of $100 per hour.
The director of the IPHE in Chiriquí, Deyanira Rojas, indicated that equinotherapy is being offered to a dozen children in David since last year, with two horses donated by area businesses.
It is estimated that in Chiriquí more than 150 children suffer from cerebral palsy, however not all of them can receive equinotherapy, since each child must first be evaluated by an orthopedic physician who certifies that he or she is in condition to receive this type of treatment.
Equinotherapy stimulates the function the hypothalamus – the part of the brain that controls movement and equilibrium – and, when done in a natural environment, provides children with greater nerve impulses and stimuli, helping them improve their posture and agility, Rojas pointed out.
Irene Araúz, one of the physiotherapists who participates in the IPHE’s equinotherapy program in David, says that she shares the happiness of the parents of children who make significant progress once they come into contact with the horses.
“We need to be patient in order to see results like the ones obtained in Chilibre, where the children have demonstrated greater mobility, better behavior and communication skills, although here, we can already see better moods and disposition in the children who are in contact with the horses,” Araúz stated.
According to the census carried out in 2009, 13,836 children and young people suffer from some type of physical disability, of which 653 reside in Chiriquí; approximately a third of this segment of the population participates in the conventional education system, while a smaller number receive special education in the IPHE facilities.
From my experience in Panama, 'men' ride horses. It is very rare to see a Panamanian Woman riding a horse in the Highlands of Boquete. For the working class horses are used for transportation, to herd cattle, and to go in to town for a brew with his friends. Most working class woman don't aspire to those activities.
In the city where the 'money' horses are, woman own and show their horses. So when I found this picture on 'Panama America' I just had to post it. It is part of a collection on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Panama City. If you are in Panama City during this time please try to support the Museum. Thanks!
The exhibition is being presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art and will last until October 3, Tuesday to Sunday.
Sandra Eleta not believe that there should be a separation between art, information and reality, since all can coexist in the same image, though she prefers to be on the side of the fence where his heart, because that's where you feel better.
This Panamanian photographer, who enjoys wide international recognition has been done with the help of some colleagues, gathering 40 years of his work, which has been divided into seven trials are being exhibited from Thursday this week at the Museum of Art Contemporary (MAC).
The presentation of the "Sandra Eleta Photographic Retrospective" is the closing of his photographic life stage, so says the artist who understands this sample as a natural cycle. As there are different stages in the life of a human being, nature and history, this retrospective likewise meets the end of an era, he explains.
The photographic exhibition comprises 60 works collected under seven themes or photo essays: Portobelo, Embera, Bondage, The Peasant, Grandparents, The Ways of the Piely Cuba. They register people, landscapes and moments that have captured Sandra Eleta for his work and go through different ends of our country and the world. Together they form an emotional poetry and aesthetically perfect.
How comes the idea.Sandra Eleta recalls that he asked his friend Gustavo Araujo (RIP) who printed some pictures of different tests to feel better the relationship between them.
He replied that he felt really, but he had left the profession of photography by the artist, but smiling, told him not to go crazy, as soon receive a surprise. Suddenly, Araujo took him all his photographic equipment and a darkroom set up in the tank from the house of Sandra.
Rose then introduced him to Cromwell, a young full-bright scholarship of living in Panama and from there began to take shape as can be seen today in the MAC.
Photo of Sandra's work is universal Eleta, it comes to the senses of all the world, although she cautions that this retrospective is addressed to "to whose eyes and heart to know how to look."
And this does not seem to be a sentence brought by the hair, since the images are displayed on two floors of the MAC rather than portraits of people, are portraits of souls.
Is that the picture of Sandra Eleta interrelate is characterized by people with things and landscapes, creating a very strong and dense symbolism, but also simple. Its people and their scenarios speak the universal language of feelings. This is where lies the nature of his art, finding the essence and meaning of things.
Lola Garrido, renowned art critic and collector of photography of Spain, describes it: "People who go through the subtle and experienced eye of the artist, become temporary and atmospheric portraits. She is able to use your eyes as a sounding board for their feelings, without resorting to tricks for a simple, pure and universal shape around him in a faithful, but subjective, standing very close to utopia cinematic immediacy. "
Selection: The choice of the 60 images that make up the hindsight of 40 years of seeing the world through his lens, was a work originally made the artist herself with her cousin Aurora Fierro in whose gallery, Photo Centre, the first picture gallery in Spain in the 70s, was where Sandra Eleta made one of his first exhibitions.
German corresponded Carmen finally serving as curator, who spoke of the immensity of the activities of Sandra and said the photographer "has angel, has the gift to make people open."
Despite Destination. Sandra Eleta long way still has that concern it is innate, so do not discard the idea of returning to Cuba to finish her photo essay on "When the Saints down."
He says not really knowing what to do after this show and not the restive, as the stream of life has always been able to take unexpected places.
"I'm sure that still surprises await me on my way," he predicts.
Do you think? Apart from the technical side what does the picture of yesterday, 30 years ago for example, who is not now?
The photograph of yesterday had a photographic task that was like a ritual .. my first teacher, Carlos Montufar, was a person dedicated to their craft with almost religious fervor. We spent hours in his laboratory with the chemical smell and a firm determination on my part to discover the secrets of the magical alchemy to see appear, see images emerge from the liquid chemicals, I still wonder.
t's like attending a birth ... aside from this ceremonial rite that has the analogue photographic endeavor, the result images, at least for me, compared to digital photography is almost indescribable ... photography is a presence of negative an aura. When properly processed black and white, with no digital photography. It may have more versatility, but never the "aura" of a good analog picture. Finally, comparisons are always odious ...
If you can read Spanish you can go to the entire article:
The top Premier tour companies in Boquete have joined forces and created a 3 day adventure for a discounted package rate. No need to go to 3 different web sites to book your fun filled days in Panama--one stop shopping for the most fun. Just let us know when you are arriving and we will do the rest. This is a 'wholesaler' price being offered directly to you. Why pay the up charge? Save the money for dinner because lunch is included on the full day packages.
More commonly known as "sleeping sickness," this disease is caused by the Western Equine Encephalomyelitis (WEE) virus or the Eastern version (EEE). WEE has been noted throughout North America, while EEE appears in the east and southeast. VEE, the Venezuelan variety, has not been seen in the United States for many years. However, a recent outbreak of VEE occurred in Mexico. Sleeping sickness is most often transmitted by mosquitoes, after the insects have acquired the virus from birds and rodents. Humans also are susceptible when bitten by an infected mosquito, but direct horse-to-horse or horse-to-human transmission is very rare.
All horses need an EEE and WEE vaccine at least annually. Which is why the outbreak in Panama has been so devastating for the horse population near the Darien, where the indigenous population cannot afford the vaccine.
Although the outbreak seems to be focused in the Darien, where mosquitoes are more abundant, the entire country is on alert. All horses have been quarantined, unless they have received the vaccination. In other words, horses cannot be moved around the country, rodeos and horse shows have been cancelled.
The Boquete Safari horses have received 2 doses of vaccines. That is why, while other tour companies in Boquete, who offer horseback riding, are not conducting business now, our horses are healthy and touring.
You can often find Horseback Riding in Latin American countries for little money, but the money that you pay for the tour is rarely going for the care of the horses. You save a little money, but you are only promoting the animal (horse) neglect that is so rampant in countries like Panama.
Tourists who decide to book their Horseback Riding adventures with Boquete Safari are always commenting on how healthy our horses are. After riding in Costa Rica, or other Latin American countries, they seem truly amazed that the horses are actually ‘plump’.
Before you set out on a Horseback Riding excursion, take a look at the horses. Support the companies who are investing in their most precious commodity—The Horses.
To see pictures of our horses or for more information about us and our very special friends:
Most of the horseback riding in the highlands of Boquete actually takes place in Caldera--a 40+ minute ride from Boquete, and a much hotter climate. Our new adventure is only a short jeep ride up the mountain side to our farm. There you will saddle up and head out along the top of the mountain ridge, with views of the Volcan Baru, Pacific, and the valley of Boquete. Enjoy the views and the lush rainforest filled with butterflies and birds that have made Boquete famous as a 'birding' destination.
You can also add a Coffee Tasting to this 1/2 day tour, our favorite Coffee Estate is just around the corner.
I had several thoughts at once: "How do I stop this from happening to the others? ; What kind of treatment is available? ; Will I be able to find the vampire bats that did this?"
Yes, Vampire Bats.
For those of you in Central or South America, vampire bats attacking livestock--cows, pigs, or horses--is not uncommon. We know they are there, we hear about an animal being attacked, or see it on National Geographic or Discovery. But when I spotted the first bite on my beloved horse Sugar I thought, "Oh No".
Over the next couple of days all but one of the horses at my pasture had been bitten, at least once. The only horse that seemed to escape was my little "Stinker"--could be the bats recognized a tough bite also. So the on line and networking research began. The more I dug in to the internet, through University studies, the more horrified for the horses I became. Until I received a couple of e-mails from a friend who has lived in Panama his whole life; and also has cows and horses. And also from a web site in Costa Rica explaining about the habits of the vampire bat.
The legends are true, they do come out during the full moon, and attack livestock. They can spread rabies to the animals that have been bitten, so vaccinating against rabies is essential. Thank goodness all of our horses have been vaccinated. Another source explained that a bite from a non-rabid bat is no more serious than a mosquito. I have to say that the blood dripping down the horses neck makes one think it is a little more serious than that.
But the treatments advised by my friend and the helpful site in Costa Rica have, for now, stopped the onslaught.
This is the treatment that seemed to help:
1. Dab the wound with Hydrogen-Peroxide, to stop any infection
2. Wash around the area with Alcohol to remove any urine left by the bat. After biting they urinate so they can find their way back to the same great spot the next night.
3. Apply Gel Vampirisan around the wound, to repel and kill them once they clean themselves. I guess they spend a lot of time cleaning.
4. Spray the target areas with Iodine. It seems that they don't like the taste or smell. Spray neck, butt, legs,...
So far this seems to be working. Unless they have just gone back to the bat cave until the next full moon.
PS: I have also heard that the local farm ministry, MIDA, during a full moon, will come out and do a capture for free.
This has all just been a little too creepy for me.
Mario Chamorro, a horse owner living in Panama said, “I started barefoot trimming on my own about 3 years ago, in 2007. Since I didn’t have any guidance, I looked at the Hoof Jack™ as a non vital part of my tool set. When Dawn Willoughby came to Panama to teach a seminar this past January, she brought some stands with her. It was the missing link of my trim; it was what I’ve needed all along. I can now get very good mustang rolls on my horses’ hooves; they are even all the way around. Before I would rest the hooves on my leg, and to be honest, it is very hard to look and roll them in that position. Now I don’t even think of trimming the without the stand.”
Mario’s testimonial was typical of everyone I met in Panama who was new to trimming. I encouraged clinic attendees to trim with and without the stand. Learning to trim your own horse is hard enough without having him lean on you throughout the process. Horses love the stand too.
Only the two experienced farriers I worked with preferred to hold the hooves without the stand but of course they have developed the muscles for this work over many years. For novice trimmers, I strongly recommend the Hoof Jack hoof stand. I always have a few on hand at my place in Delaware and keep a few at Laura Florence’s HolisticHoofCenter in Unionville, Pa. I have tried metal hoof stands and the knock off of the Hoof Jack. They all have serious drawback.
Carol Delonis of Boquete Mountain Safari Tours organized my 3 clinics in western Panama for American and British Ex Patriots as well as local Panamanians interested in natural hoof care. Half day lectures, followed by lunch and full afternoons of hands on trimming made for a great 10 days in Caldera, a tropical paradise. We worked on the beautiful horses used for safari tours as well as horses located at attendees’ farms.
Gina McCall kindly hosted my 10 day stay at her boutique hotel, Rancho de Caldera, an Eco-tourist’s dream. I was awakened by the sun warming my toes and went to sleep with the sky filled with more stars than I had ever seen. Tropical birds visited my porch every morning sharing breakfast crumbs from my English muffin. Happily they weren’t interested in my famed, organic coffee grown near by. With unlimited wind, solar and hydro power, Rancho de Caldera is off the grid. I don’t have words to describe Chef Craig’s ethnic cuisine. You will have to visit Caldera and experience it for yourself
Texan Ex-Patriot, Bradd Ferraris of Boquete Safari Mountain Tours inspecting the mustang roll applied by Mario Chamorro on broodmare, Louisa’s rear hind foot. I was told Louisa kicked and so saved her for when I wasn’t rushed. Gentleness won her over and she was fine. This was a lesson I stressed to the local Panamanians throughout their training. Treat the horses kindly and in most instances they will be much easier to work with.
This is my home base at Rancho de Caldera, owned by Gina McCall. An early morning swim and stretch prepared me for my days of teaching the natural trim. ‘A Sanctuary for the Soul’, this boutique hotel is a must for any Panamanian trip.
Close up of Cliff’s trim. Notice the lovely thick wall. For the rehabilitation trim, I just added a bevel, rasping right to the laminae allowing the flared to grow out. Once the flare is grown out and the wall well connected, trimmer Eliezar will bevel just the outer wall, letting the bright white inner wall grow up over the sole a 1/16” to 1/8”, for the maintenance trim. This slight increase in the sole concavity will take Cliff to a new level of soundness. I balanced the heels but tried to leave them standing over the frog to protect it, enabling Cliff to come down as hard as he wants on the back of his foot. Eliezar will not trim the frog or sole. Cliff got his name from, falling off a cliff! I did some Equine Touch body work on him. His back end was so sore!
Trimming from the top is easy with the ball attachment on the Hoof Jack stand.
John, of Boquete Mountain Safari Tours, lead Cliff off after a trim. He walks comfortably on the gravel driveway but with someone on board still prefers the grassy shoulder. Carol’s horses are ridden in bitless bridles and well padded saddles. I gave Cliff the black Nurturel that he is modeling
Dawn Willoughby is a lifelong horse lover. She started riding lessons at Derby Down Stables in Kennett Square, Pa. at 7 and was given her own horse, Bridgette Belle, when she was 10. Dawn now lives in Wilmington, Delaware with her husband, Drew Knox, Rottweiler, Lily and rescued racehorse, Love “Sunny” Days. Her main interest is teaching horse owners to trim their own horses using information and methods gleaned primarily from Pete Ramey and Dr. Bob Bowker. She teaches 1:1 locally, and does clinics nationally and internationally, working with owners and their horses. See www.4sweetfeet.comfor more information on the natural trim and natural horse care; go to Equihab on YouTube for 3 trimming videos on the Rehabilitation Trim, and 4SweetFeet on YouTube for more videos from Panama.
It was a lot of hard work for Dawn, Rancho de Caldera, and Boquete Safari to pull this clinic off in a country where most ‘gringos’ shod their horses, and most locals, even though barefoot, are doing it wrong, and ‘know everything there is to know’. What could a gringo woman from the U.S. possibly teach them?
The clinic was divided in to Spanish days and English days, but by the final day, word had gotten out about the clinic, and we had a mix of local guys from country clubs to simple cattle and horse farms; and expats from the U.S., Canada, and England (or maybe Australia—I get confused with the accent). We even had a few local guys who were so excited about learning the “Mustang Roll”, they came to several clinics. If we could have kept Dawn here a month, I’m sure we would have touched every corner of Panama—one week was just not enough time.
The following pictures were taken from the classroom portion of the clinic, (where Dawn had prepared a simple but informative Power Point presentation), and the hands-on with some of the horses from Rancho de Caldera. I would like to express a HUGE thanks to Hoof Jack Hoof stands for donating several stands for use at the clinic; and to Heller Legend rasps, for giving us a box of tools for the clinic. http://www.hoofjack.com/v/vspfiles/home.asp (I don’t have the Heller Legend rasps web site link as of this writing—I will re-post when I find that info).
The Hoof Jack was a totally new concept to most of the local farriers and horse managers here in Panama. The stand enables you to trim from the top or bottom; allows the horse to lean on the stand, instead of on the trimmer. The horse is more secure and the trimmer can use both hands and be perfectly balanced. We had several horses that are always a bit itchy getting their hoofs trimmed—but with the stand holding their leg up, several of them were actually falling asleep.
The Heller Rasps were also new to some. They were long and extremely sharp. Gloves are essential when using one of these rasps. However, the comments were glowing from the guys who usually use a nipper or machete (very common in Panama). The rasp enables you to trim more precisely, and achieve that beautiful Mustang Roll.
Although there are barefoot horses in Panama, and trimmers who think they are doing it right, Dawn and her Mustang Roll have taken the clinic attendees to a new level of expertise and hoof health.
For more pictures of the clinic, and other things to do in Panama:
Jan Hancock and Larry Snead from Arizona took these pictures while riding with Boquete Safari this week. Jan is an artist and writer; and Larry is an avid fly fisherman. Jan has written many books on Equestrian Guides to Trails throughout the United States. I have included a link to her books below. The pictures will speak for themselves:
Jan and Raul riding Lulu and Colorado.
View of the mountains, while on horse back, from the trail.
Pepino, Zoe and Bradd.
Pepino, Zoe, Max and Bradd•Notice how careful Pepino is crossing the stream.
Raul and Lulu. Raul is our best birder and wildlife guide.
Max and Zoe finally getting tired.
Back at the Ranch.
Louisa and her new little colt, Tornado.
For more pictures of the horses at Rancho de Caldera, and riding tours in Boquete, Panama.
Here is the link to the online version of Jan's latest book, "Equestrian Design Guidebook for Trails, Trailheads, and Campgrounds:" www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/fspubs/07232816/index.htm and the link to the book on Amazon.com "Horse Trails in Arizona" http://www.amazon.com/Horse-Trails-Arizona-Jan-Hancock/dp/0914846965 - although it is currently sold out and only used copies are available. The design guidebook is available for free by filling out the Federal Highway Administration Order Form online at: : www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/rectrails/trailpub.htm
Aquel Viejo refrán de que 'sin cascos no hay caballo' aun sigue siendo una gran verdad hasta hoy. El Casco del Caballo es la base para su movilidad, la salud de las articulaciones, y su circulación. Sin embargo, a lo largo de los siglos ha existido una preocupación creciente en cuanto a si la vieja práctica de clavar herraduras de metal al casco del caballo es o no una buena práctica. De ser tan preocupante, ¿por qué lo hacemos?, y ¿Cómo fue que todo esto comenzó?
Calzar a los caballos se convirtió en una práctica habitual en Europa alrededor del año 1000 AD. Los Romanos usaban una “sandalia de hierro”; una forma de zapato temporal amarrada al casco del caballo para su uso en carreteras y fácil remoción cuando no era requerida. Calzar al calor una herradura se volvió popular en Gran Bretaña y Francia en el siglo XVI. La palabra “herrar” en francés vino a significar el proceso de calzar caballos. Ésta práctica continuó así, incuestionable durante siglos.
De modo que el ‘casco de hierro’ continuo siendo la forma más popular de proteger los cascos de los caballos y no fue hasta que Jaime Jackson publicara su libro, “El Caballo Natural: Lecciones desde lo Salvaje”, en 1992 que todo cambio. Jaime estudio los caballos salvajes en su medio ambiente natural desde 1982 hasta 1986. Algunos de sus descubrimientos, explicados en su libro, incluyen una radical diferencia entre los caballos salvajes y sus contrapartes, los caballos domésticos. Los caballos salvajes no solo vivían mucho más tiempo que los caballos domésticos, sino que no sufrían de muchas de las agresiones y plagas en sus cascos como si sucedía con los caballos herrados. Sus descubrimientos han revolucionado desde entonces la manera en que los cascos de los caballos son manipulados alrededor del mundo.
Entonces, por qué cascos descalzos versus cascos herrados:
• Los cascos al natural están diseñados perfectamente para moverse bien debajo del caballo
• Los cascos al natural absorben impacto.
• Los cascos no se mueven. La parte anterior de la pata, contiene cartílago para la absorción del impacto y circulación adecuada.
• Los cascos al natural pueden sentirse y son acomodados en su espacio correcto. Los caballos calzados con herraduras pierden esta habilidad.
Los cascos calzados re direccionan la energía del caballo directamente sobre sus patas y estas no son receptores de impacto; los cascos al natural si lo son. Esto es especialmente notable en una carretera pavimentada. Cabalgue un caballo descalzo al lado de un caballo herrado en una calle pavimentada y sienta la diferencia. El impacto del hierro con el pavimento se transfiere directamente por las patas y son percibidos tanto por el caballo como por su jinete.
Todos los caballos en Rancho de Caldera, donde tengo a mis caballos, están ahora descalzos. Pero es importante traer beneficio real a todos acerca de este movimiento de caballos “descalzados”, hay que ayudar a educar a los herradores locales, dueños de caballos, y criadores. Por ello hemos invitado a Panamá, a una “Experta” Norteamericana en el tema para enseñar y educar acerca de mejores métodos para mantener a nuestros caballos más sanos y seguros.
Dawn Willoughby; http://4sweetfeet.com/estará una semana enseñando todo acerca de lo que significa tener un caballo al natural. Esta clínica es gratis para los herradores locales, entrenadores de caballos, operadores y criadores. Habrá un cargo nominal por propietarios de caballos. La experta también dará clases privadas. Contacto: Carol - [email protected] • 6613-1472 Ingles. En Español por favor contactar con Mario: [email protected]Tel: 301.0150Cel: 6679.1483.
The old adage of 'no hoof no horse' still holds true today. A horse’s hoof is the foundation for its movement, joint health, and circulation. There is an ever increasing awareness, however, that the centuries old practice of nailing an iron shoe to the horses hoof is not a good practice. So why do we do it, and how did it all begin?
While the inventors of the first nailed shoe may always remain a mystery, horseshoeing became a mainstream practice in Europe around 1000 AD. The Romans used an “iron hipposandal” (picture above); a form of temporary shoe fastened to the hoof for use on roads and easily removed when not required. Thick pieces of ‘leather’ were also wrapped around the hoof for protection on rough roads. The practice of hot-shoeing became popular in Great Britain and France in the 16th century. At the same time the term “farrier” gradually came into use from Latin roots, while the verb “farrier” in French came to mean the process of shoeing horses.
Having a shoe is one thing, but proper shoeing is another. The ‘no foot, no horse’ phrase started in England in 1751; by 1874 the Journeymen Horseshoers National Union was founded in the U.S. for a country now teeming with horses.
So the ‘iron hoof’ continued to be the most popular form of hoof protection. Until Jaime Jackson published his landmark book, “The Natural Horse: Lessons from the Wild”, 1992. Jaime studied the wild horse in its natural environment from 1982 until 1986. Some of the findings, explained in his book, include the radical difference between wild horses and their domestic counterparts. Not only did the wild horses live longer, but they didn’t suffer from some of the hoof maladies that plague our domestic equines.
Horses have been used for work and pleasure by man for thousands of years prior to the invention of horse shoes. Some of the oldest writings about the care of hooves are found in the works of Xenophon, a fourth century BC Greek cavalry commander, who wrote "naturally sound hooves get spoiled in most stalls," and included the instruction that their hooves should be toughened by putting a cobblestone area in their paddock.
Hoof care is essential for a healthy horse. In the past year we have been thru 4 farriers to try and find someone who knows the hoof. One of the problems in Panama with putting an iron shoe on a horse is that the iron is heavy, not of very good quality, and the shoe is available in only a couple of sizes. There isn’t any anvil and fire here to shape the shoe to fit the horse. A little hammering and banging, and then the hoof is trimmed to fit the shoe. What if you went shopping for shoes and they only had 3 sizes? So they use a little “shoe stretch”, and then cut your foot to fit in to the shoe. I know this is a little extreme, but I’m going for a visual here.
My personal quest to find a better hoof solution began with a series of events. 1. Several horses at the Ranch started throwing shoes. 2. One day on a ride, a horse hooked his front hoof to his back hoof because the shoes were not on correctly. Seeing the horse standing on 2 legs was not a good moment. 3. My horse, Cliff, was always barefoot until he arrived at the Ranch. Once shoes were put on him, as everyone at the ranch had shoes, he became clumsy and trippy. At first I thought it was because he is blind in one eye (another story). 4. I change my computer wallpapers often. I put up a National Geographic picture of 2 wild mustangs fighting. While staring at this picture and thinking what to do about the horse’s hooves, I thought, wow, they have gorgeous hoofs. Thus began my quest.
So, why bare hooves versus shod hooves:
• Bare hooves are perfectly designed to move under the horse
• Bare hooves absorb shock.
• Shod hooves do not move. The back half of the foot, containing the internal structure of fibrous cartiledge for shock absorption and blood circulation, becomes useless.
• Bare hooves feel and know where they are in space. Shod horses lose this ability.
Shod hooves redirect the energy of the horse right up the leg. The leg is not a shock absorber; the hoof is. This is especially noticeable on a paved road. Ride side by side with a shod and a barefoot horse and feel the shoulder. The impact of the iron on the pavement, up the leg and be felt by both the horse and the rider.
According to several local horse vets, and horse enthusiast, it is difficult to find a good farrier or trimmer in Panama. Rumor has it that there are only two good farriers in the entire country; and even the horses at the race tracks are not shod correctly. We have found a fairly good local trimmer, but they are still not being trimmed correctly. There is no attention to balance; and the trim is often too short, or not at the correct angle.
All the horses at Rancho de Caldera are now barefoot. But in order to benefit our horses, bring awareness to the “barefoot” movement, and help educate the local farriers, horse managers, and groomers, we have invited a “Barefoot Expert” from the U.S. to come to Panama to teach and educate us on a better way to keep our horses healthier and safer.
There will be a nominal fee for horse owners to attend the jam sessions and clinic. The money we have raised, and the fee for the clinic will go toward her expenses. We are also offering the clinic free of charge to the local guys; farriers, groomers, etc. Teaching them how to care for our horses correctly will benefit all of our horses. She will also be available for private sessions. Contact: Carol at [email protected] • 6613-1472 for English. In Spanish contact Mario at: [email protected]Tel: 301.0150Cel: 6679.1483.
No Hoof—No Horse
Horse Week at Rancho de Caldera; January 9, 2010 thru January 16, 2010
Monday: January 11-- 3 hour horse Jam session with Dawn from the U.S. Let’s talk horses; why natural, hoof health, power point presentation, bring pictures of your horses hoofs and Dawn will give advice. Includes lunch.
Tuesday: January 12--Spanish all day hands on clinic. Includes lunch
Thursday: January 14--English all day hands on clinic. Includes lunch
Saturday: January 16-- Spanishand English all day hands on clinic. Includes lunch
Dawn will also be available for private sessions with your horse at your farm. You can e-mail me for rates.
$65 full day includes lunch--single
$90 full day with lunch for a couple
$30 3 hour Jam Session with Dawn—includes lunch
Overnight Rates: Includes full day clinic and lunch the day of the clinic.
$175 one night single$285 for 2 nights single
$200 one night double$310 for 2 nights double
Accommodations are at Rancho de Caldera. Pre payment and advance reservations essential.
Horse transport in Panama is a little different than in the U.S. When I saw my first cow/horse "trailer" heading down the road I couldn't imagine how they got the horse to jump up in to the truck; there aren't any ramps. Well the answer is--just back up to the nearest berm.
It's a great article if you live in a country where so many conveniences are just taken for granted. I can't imagine seeing horses being moved like this in most any other country. The horses take the whole experience in stride; have plenty of fresh air, and when they jump off at the end of the ride, there seems to be no trauma. They just want to know where the food is.
These are the two new horses that have been brought to the ranch; Apache and Chevy. They were living on a coffee farm that just didn't have enough pasture. I'm sure they will miss their daily fix of caffeine, but now they will have 13 other buddies, and 50 acres of fields.
All loaded up and ready to go. This is Jajo, he specializes in cow and horse transportation. He gently encourages them on to the truck, from the berm, and away he goes. Great guy!
There are many opportunities in Boquete, Panama to get involved in the local community and really make a difference. There is a Rotary Club comprised of many retirees with significant resumes helping the Orphange, schools, and infrastructure development. The Amigo de Animals has a huge volunteer group who are involved in a monthly spay clinic that is only $10.00, or free to locals if they do not have the money.
Boquete Safari has become involved with the horse community. We have adopted and rescued several horses. In January we will be bringing in a Natural Balance Farrier to offer a free clinic on hoofs, nutrition, and general horse health. This clinic will be available, free of charge, to any local Panamanian horse manager, farrier, or groomer.
The clinic offered below will help cover the expenses to bring this expert in to Panama from the U.S.
Presentation on trimming to achieve natural balance.
Trimming Demonstration on a live horse
Demonstrate positions for holding horse safely
Use of tools
Live trimming of horses by students
Use of Equicast to help Build Better Hooves
Diet and the hoof, worming, colic prevention
Minor teeth care.
Optional session: measuring for hoof boots (if anyone present wants to order from the states.
Instructor Biography: George Spear, CNBBT, CNBF, CLS
George has been riding horses since his teenage years and rides both western and English. He attended the Oklahoma Horseshoeing School in 2000. In 2001 he became a student of Gene Ovineck (the developer of the Natural Balance principles, guidelines, & products) and has earned the CNBBT (Certified Natural Balance Barefoot Trimmer), CNBF (Certified Natural Balance Farrier), and CLS (Certified Lameness Specialist) certifications. He runs a successful farrier practice in Maine focusing on Natural Barefoot Trimming and the treatment of lameness.
This is a fund raising event to sponsor the Panamanian farriers, horse managers and groomers.
Boquete Safari has found another horse. This is Pepino. He is about 5 years old and has been living with his Grandmother in a field for about 3 years. As you can see he is not our typical rescue; good pasture alone seems to have kept him pretty healthy.
The story is that the original owner trained him for cattle roping, and then the owner hurt his hip, and could no longer ride. Pepino was then put in the pasture to just hang out with his grandmother. Three years later, we heard about him. We also heard from the owners grandson that he was "wild"; we expected him to be difficult to catch and that he would require a lot of training. Well you can see for yourself that Pepino is very healthy, came right over to the fence to get his banana, (the preferred treat in Panama 2 to 1, over apples and carrots). He was adopted by a friend and moved to Rancho de Caldera. Although he is a gelding he still created a ruckus amongst the other geldings when he arrived. The mares, however, took to him immediately, lining up to be in his pasture. Pepino has been a little frisky on the first couple of rides, as he is very muscular and wants to go his own way; but he is a welcome addition to the other horses at Rancho de Caldera.