Puerto Rico’s Dulce Sueño Fair

The charismatic Paso Fino horse is the pride and joy of many a horse owner in Puerto Rico. This striking horse is used for farming, transport and tourism all over the island and it is bred extensively as Puerto Rico’s native horse breed.

The Paso Fino is said to have descended from Berbers, the Andalusian and the now extinct Spanish Jennet. All three of these breeds enjoyed similar physical and mental characteristics that made them popular riding horses in between the 1400s and 1700s. Their short, strong backs, powerful hindquarters and necks allowed for natural collection while their minds were easily moldable since the horses had an aptitude for work. More than this, their stride was incredibly smooth providing an excellent riding horse for those who spent hours in the saddle.

In 1510, governor Don Juan Ponce de Leon ordered Captain Martin de Salazar to bring a few horses into the country. At the time there were no horses on the island and there was a desperate need for this sort of transportation. These original few horses that were brought over were the forerunners of today’s Paso Fino. In time the horse’s natural gaiting ability and smooth stride was bred in more strongly until it became a feature of all Puerto Rico’s horses. Today the unique Puerto Rican Paso Fino is well known across the globe and it is used for a variety of disciplines and activities. It is often a recommended breed for people with back problems due to its smooth action and it is highly regarded as both a family and show horse. There are currently more than 7000 registered Paso Fino’s on the island and a number of these have been exported to the North America.

Every year in March, the spectacular Dulce Sueño Fair is held in Guayama. This family-orientated fair has a number of horse events and it takes place over a period of two-days. The fair is traditionally one of the most highly favored of all the horse fairs held during the year and many of the horse breeders and riders which partake in the event are held in high regard. It is a must-see event for any horse lover but if you are not able to visit Puerto Rico at this time of year you might try a beach ride aboard a Paso Fino to find out what all the fuss is about.