Cuba’s Horse Industry Revived with Dutch Warmblood Sales
Cuba is known for its cigars and rum, and while the Cuban embargo made the country somewhat isolated for decades, Cuba has made its way into the breeding and training of horses. The equine world has benefitted from relations increasing between Europe, the United States and Cuba.
Cuba’s niche in the equine world is still unfolding, with the country’s equine popularity growing among Latin Americans. Elites from Latin America and around the world are going to Cuba because of the island’s elite jumping horses.
The communist-run country’s government leads the equine industry, and the majority of the proceeds from horses goes back into the government.
Cuban trainers are importing fillies and colts from the Netherlands to train them to be top-tier competitors. The top-tier horses go to private auctions where they sell for as much as $40,000 a horse.
Buyers from Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala and the Netherlands gathered in Cuba for an auction even at the National Equestrian Club. The night’s activities revolved around drinks and enjoying the tropical weather, but the night was all about business.
Horses were paraded in front of the wealthy visitors, with 31 horses selling in a single night.
The horses, all Dutch Warmbloods that were trained in Cuba, sold for over $430,000 that night. Champion or very respected blood lines, advanced training and well-behaved, collectors opt to go to Cuba for their horses.
Since the horses are already in the Americas, it makes horse air transport less expensive for buyers in the Americas to transport horses.
Horses were once well respected and known in Cuba, with the history of the country’s horses dating back to the 16th century. A revival in Cuba’s horse economy was spurred in 2005 as a way to bring in money. Fidel Castro banned horse racing in 1959 causing the industry to suffer despite top-tier horses and riders being in the country.
Cubas are trained for competitive jumping for a year and a half before they’re sold around the age of 3.