Guatemala: healthy horses

The Brooke has been improving the welfare of working horses, donkeys and mules in Guatemala in conjunction with local partner ESAP, since 2004.

Guatemala: Equinos Sanos Para el Pueblo

Lack of understanding about horse welfare and equine disease are some of the main issues holding back communities in Guatemala.

“Horses bring in our crops at harvest time, take us to work and provide extra income when we rent them to neighbours,” said Lester Lemus who works for Equinos Sanos Para el Pueblo (ESAP) or ‘Healthy Horses for the People’, the Brooke’s partner in Guatemala.

“Horse welfare is crucial. If we keep our horses in good health, they will help us in our jobs, provide breeding stock and improve our livelihoods,” he said.

The Brooke has been working via ESAP in two of the poorest regions of the country: Peten, an isolated region in the north near the border with Belize, and Chimaltenango in the western highlands, for the past five years. Both areas have poverty levels of over 60 per cent.

In addition to providing emergency veterinary treatment, ESAP also runs equine welfare clinics where vaccinations and de-worming are carried out. It also trains vets and equine welfare advisors.

For ESAP it is very important to teach children as they are usually very involved in the feeding and watering of family animals.

So this year, ESAP is running a programme of annual horse days, providing poor families with training and easy to understand information about good equine care and handling.

ESAP has also successfully reached out to more remote communities with a series of radio broadcasts about the importance of good equine welfare, echoing similar work in Kenya.

Guatemala remains one of the most impoverished countries in Latin America with many of the poorest communities relying on working animals, particularly horses, to survive.

ESAP works with the Brooke to improve equine welfare and disease awareness in the region

ESAP works with the Brooke to improve equine welfare and disease awareness in the region. ©The Brooke/Laura McNamara

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