In May 2013, we began working in Nicaragua, a country with an estimated 317,000 equines.

Nicaragua at a glance

Nicaragua flag

Population: 6.1 million
Percentage of people living below  the international poverty line:  6.2% 
Number of working equines: 317,000

Sources: World Bank 2015, World Bank 2014, FAO, 2006


Despite recent macroeconomic stability, Nicaragua remains one of the poorest countries in Latin America and access to basic services is a daily challenge for many, especially farmers and indigenous people.

In rural areas donkeys and mules are used in agriculture and in urban areas horses are used for transporting people and goods by cart. Some of the main welfare issues they face are poor body condition, heat stress, tick infection, abnormal eye conditions, inability to walk normally and untreated injury or disease.

Cart pulling horses, Masaya, Nicaragua

Cart pulling horses, Masaya, Nicaragua

What are we doing?

In 2013 we started a four-year pilot project through the local partner Oikos, and in 2017 Brooke registered a branch in country. Building on our learning from the past few years, the new Brooke Nicaragua branch will work to make a sustainable difference to equine welfare by working with:

  • equine owners, so that they acquire and sustain good practice in animal welfare
  • animal health practitioners, to increase the quality of the services they provide to equines
  • policy makers and influencers, to achieve positive changes in policy and legislation

Snapshot of our work

Farriery workshop, Nicaragua

Farriery workshop, Nicaragua

Working with animal health practitioners

We train local animal health practitioners such as agrovets, farriers and harness makers in good practice, basic veterinary care and good handling as well as encouraging them to exchange expertise and experiences among themselves. We also help practitioners run meetings with communities on the benefits of equine-friendly practice. 

Working with communities

We engage local communities in learning about and carrying out best practices for equine welfare through approaches such as equine welfare groups, developing community “equine champions”, holding events and awareness days and distributing welfare-related newsletters, magazines and story books.

Advocacy work

We engage with government bodies and other organisations at national and local level, promoting the importance of equines to Nicaragua's economy. Our aim is to achieve better representation of basic equine welfare standards in the country's laws, policies and programmes.

The Nicaragua team sucessfully lobbied for an equine welfare column in a national daily newspaper and team members have been interviewed several times on primetime breakfast TV shows.

Related news

Working horses in Nicaragua are now lighter on their hooves thanks to an expert farriery workshop. 

Brooke partnerships

We operate in partnership with a variety of organisations to extend the range and impact of our work.

Make a difference to working equines in Nicaragua