It is late morning in Granada and the city is starting to rev up for Hipica.
People will come from all over the country to participate or to watch. The narrow streets start to fill with cars, an unusual site and the main “restaurant” street is filled with extra tables.The fountain in Parque Central is decorated and the vendors from Carnaval (a couple of nights ago) are still there.
The main activity is the procession of horses. A stream of cowboys and cowgirls proudly display their best horses, boots and cowboy hats and parade through the streets.
The “horse culture”, brought to South America by the Spaniards, is vibrant in Nicaragua. There are many small cowboy towns that specialize in hand-made leather saddles, boots and all manners of horse paraphernalia.
Hipica is a much anticipated event, for children and adults alike. Our neighbors have been talking Hipica for weeks, it seems. Oh, and of course, it’s another reason for school to be closed Monday, the day after Hipica.
The horses’ manes are groomed and cut in various styles. The tails are sometimes braided and decorated.
There are also plenty of floats, mostly sponsored by Tona beer and these floats always have hot babes in skimpy outfits dancing to eardrum-busting decibels of Latina pop.
For some people, Hipica is yet another excuse to dance, party hard and get drunk.
But most of all, it’s about meeting up with friends and family, on horseback or by foot, and continuing the equestrian tradition and culture of Nicaragua.
Granadinos are proud of their city, which they call “la Gran Sultana”. Granada in return does her population proud as it provides an architectural backdrop that goes back to the Spanish conquest and introduction of the horse in the region.