Show Jumping Horses in Cuba
By Roberto F. Campos, Photos: Manuel Muñoa and José Tito Meriño
As part of the drive to draw more visitors to Cuba, Havana’s elite show jumping horse auction has grown in popularity over the past seven years, mostly among Latin American equestrian experts.
At the current 2016 Elite Auction being held in Havana, 32 Royal Dutch Warmblood horses were presented.
Frank Domenech, the Havana Equestrian Center’s technical director, said that some high quality horses purchased in Cuba, at lower prices than in Europe, have already won prizes in Pan American and Central American competitions.
Edgardo Carulla, equine specialist at the National Company for the Protection of Flora and Fauna (ENPFF), highlighted the importance that the breeding of jumping horses has acquired in the archipelago, and it is gaining interest abroad.
Such achievements bring them to celebrate Havana’s Seventh Elite Auction 2016, an auction of show jumping horses bred in this nation. This event is prepared by the ENPFF and Holland’s VDL-Stud, with the participation of the Naturaleza Alcona S.A. company as well as the Ecotur S.A. travel agency.
Carulla explained that the first specimens of this breed raised in one of Europe’s best centers, VDL-Stud, were imported to Cuba from Holland in 2005. At that point four broodmares were brought in along with fourteen 3-year-old fillies. Beginning with this import, every year thereafter a large group of two and three-year-old horses were added to the Azucarero breeding ranch (Rancho Azucarero) in the province of Artemisa. These animals are developed, trained and cared for as in their country of origin.
The ranch already has 30 broodmares and two stallions. It produces its own horses using assisted copulation and artificial insemination with semen imported from the best stallions of the breed in Europe.
In four years, Cuba could shine in show jumping Carlos Alberto González, head coach at Havana’s Equestrian Center, told Cubaplus that in four years Cuba would return to Central American and Pan American show jumping events thanks to the quality of its riders and horses.
This sport, which brings great potential to sectors such as tourism, medicine and finance, begins with the good breeding of show jumping horses, and its development is well underway in the archipelago.
The expert indicated that they currently have three high level riders and eight others that might, over the next four years, be trained and ready to participate in international competitions.
He said that the quality of the horses is very high and the riders have huge potential. All that remains now is very thorough and detailed team work, since this sport hinges on the perfect relationship between man and animal.
The specialist recalled the recent visit to Cuba of Jean-Philippe Camboulives of the International Equestrian Federation (IEF), who spoke with authorities, breeders and athletes. Camboulives has been part of the IEF’s Solidarity Committee for more than four years, and its mission is to evaluate the performance of equestrian sports in Latin America.
Camboulives assessed the level of the sport on the island, and was surprised by the care and the quality of horses. He said that with work and a bit of luck, Cuba’s young riders could form a team to participate at the the upcoming Pan American or Central American Games.
Meanwhile, Italian Fulvio Mazzoleni has been working for ENPFF, Cuba’s national flora and fauna protection company, training dressage riders and horses on the island. With over 50 years’ experience in the industry, he produces quality riders and horses.
Cuba’s Seventh Elite Show Jumping Horse Auction raised €541,000, it was officially reported, which will go towards improving breeds and protecting Cuban wildlife. The best selling horse was Grandeur, offspring of of Indorado and Cálido at €48,000. Buyers from Mexico, Guatemala, Peru and Panama participated in the auction.