Close your eyes. Picture yourself on the back of a shiny chestnut mare, trotting along a sandy shore, the cool turquoise waves lapping at your horse’s hooves. Is this a dream? Nope, it’s just another day in magical Vieques, where all the wild horses run free.
Walking around Vieques, you might be surprised to spot these black, brown, and palomino beauties romping along roadways and galloping on the beach. We couldn’t believe our eyes. Wild horses mosey over the island all day long, munching on mangoes (trust us, it’s real life) and roaming the streets like they own the place. And we mean that literally.
Nothing seems to bother these equine cuties. Traffic stops as they slowly cross the street, and if you’re driving with an open window, they might just pop their head in to say hi. It’s not uncommon for locals to hitch a ride on a pony, or to spot them tied up outside of bars and restaurants at night. We definitely don’t recommend drinking and riding, though, so be safe!
So where do these beauties come from? The horses originally brought to Puerto Rico were a mix between the Berber and Spanish breeds. Those horses were then bred with others to create a special type of horse capable of handling Puerto Rico’s tropical conditions. This particular breed is known as the Paso Fino (fine step) horse. The “fine steps” mean the horse’s back stays level as it walks, so you won’t bounce up and down if you’re riding one. This special gait comes in a rapid four-beat rhythm, which creates a very unique sound. The horses almost look like they’re scurrying or dancing as they trot along. We know. Dancing horses!
Visiting Vieques, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to hitch a ride on a trained, saddled horse. Definitely take the chance to hop on one of these beauties! A beach view from a horse’s (steady) back just can’t be beat.