The first time we went to Vieques, we heard there would be wild horses there. Our impression of the phrase, “wild horses” is probably very similar to the one you have. It conjures visions of the untamed, catching a glimpse of rugged escape, beauty in the power and unpredictability.
We thought we’d have to get lucky to spot one of these wild stallions – that a fleeting glance from the corner of our eye, as shades of palomino broke the burnt green of the jungle, would be all we’d get.
We were very wrong.
A couple days after our wedding we decided to go to Black Sand Beach. During our last trip to Vieques we had tried to find the beach, but were not able to since it’s pretty well hidden. We had never been there before, but after seeing a sample of the sand at Island Adventures, we knew we’d have to find it.
To get to the beach, you have to park your car at the top of a hill and hike down, into a small river-bed, and follow that to the ocean. There were plenty of opportunities along the way to get kicked in the face by one of these big fellows, but fortunately for us they kept their distance.
In the tight confines of the jungle-encased river-bed, it was a little more difficult to avoid them. We rounded a bend and found ourselves only 15 feet away from a defensive looking mare. After a few seconds of deciding what to do, we heard the sound of galloping hooves coming out of the brush behind her.
At this point we were certain we would find doom at the hands of a huge and angry stallion, but instead her playful son ran up behind her.
Knowing how mothers can get when their children are in danger, we climbed a few feet up the river bank, gave them a wide berth, and watched as they sauntered past.
It was only on our second trip to Vieques, as we rode the bus down to the Bio Bay, that our tour guide mentioned that they’re not actually wild. According to him, almost all of them are owned and belong to different families. They simply let them roam free because it’s cheaper than feeding and housing them, they don’t have to shovel their poop, and they simply collect them when they’re needed. He also said, “…don’t believe what you read on the internet…” about them being wild. Color us surprised!
After hearing this, we paid closer attention and noticed that many of the horses were indeed branded. Things are not always as it seems I suppose, but we don’t really care. To us they’re still the Wild Horses of Vieques, and we love them and their giant poops just the same.