Horses that Dance the High Step

CostaRica_0596Besides being used by Sabeneros as a means of transportation and cattle herding horses can often be found with riders on their backs walking in such a a way as to suggest they are dancing.

Called Tope it is somewhat peculiar practise that is limited to Costa Rica and is most common in and around Guanacaste.

Mostly when you come across single riders working their horses in such a fashion it is because they are practising for local horse shows also called Tope traditional events that mark important cultural celebrations where the standards are high and the competition fierce.

Topes and Cabalgatas (a kind of informal tope) as well as horse games, such as Carrera de Cintas, are often seen in every small village throughout Costa Rica.

Historically, each village holds festivals in honour of their patron saint and at these fiestas a significant part of the event will feature the kind of horse display.

Pasafino, horse dancing a local skill of Costa Rica

We encountered several riders working their horses during our travels around Costa Rica and almost always the riders were happy to pose for photographs and continue their practise right in front of us.

With the prevalent cowboy culture in rural Costa Rica and their obvious love of horses these enjoyable events still play a part of local life and are a good excuse to throw a party, Costa Rican style!