In my last blog I mentioned that our daughters joined the Yegua Roja at the many topes de caballos and the carreras de cintas. The tope is a gathering of horses at the beginning of a festival when ranchers and equine aficionados bring their finest horses in from the countryside to parade through the streets of each town and city dressed in their best riding outfits. Many of these horses are highly trained in “dancing” which is a type of gait where the horse lifts its hooves, often in time to music.
The carrera is a sport on horseback where the rider seeks to grab hanging ribbons or with a pointed stick topple tiny hoops hanging from a wire above head level all the while traveling at full speed. Our daughters Lily and Olivia still treasure the hand-whittled sticks made by Yegua Roja for the carreras they ran. And the colorful ribbons which he taught them to weave into the manes and tails of the horses when riding in the Grand Tope during Christmas week in San Jose. Thousands of horses and their riders took part in the Grand Tope with mariachis and cervezas flowing alongside the parade.