Cabalgata – the Parade of Horses

I have never seen so many horses! Someone said there were 5000 horses and riders participating.

The parade, or cabalgata, takes place every year on March 19th and people come from everywhere to participate. We have been seeing horses in people’s yards and empty lots all around the neighborhood. On the day of the parade there were people riding horses through town, driving them in trucks, and putting them in every sort of available space.

The parade was supposed to start around 3 PM. My neighbor said we should go around 1-2 PM so we can find a space to watch since there will be a large crowd. We actually went about 3:30 and we still had to wait for over an hour for things to get underway. But, when things started happening there were hundreds and hundreds of horses coming down the street! We were lucky and ended up at a gas station on a sharp angled corner. The parade came up on our right, turned in front of the gas station, and proceeded down the street on our left. We had a perfect spot to see everything!

If you want a feel for what it was like there, watch this 3 1/2 minute video.


About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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15 Responses to Cabalgata – the Parade of Horses

  1. joeltc1 says:

    Reblogged this on FindingMySelfinPanama and commented:
    SO many horses, and so beautiful!


  2. Anonymous says:

    Great pics , commentary, and video. Missed it this year, but next year for sure.


  3. oh, so beautiful! those horses tuck their heads and prance prance prace down the street while guys and gals and wanna’be cowboys tune in to the event of the month! in guanacaste, they usually have cabalgatas during full moon weekends, and there´s a dance ‘ usually outside ‘ as the finale. in the afternoon are competitions on horseback ‘ the one with the little spindle and ring is quite difficult, though i´ve participated in the barrel racing ”’ what a story of that event!

    great post!


    • Thanks so much, glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Yes, the horses are so beautiful, and it was great to see them. I haven’t seen the competitions though, will have to ask about that.


  4. Hugo Ernst says:

    Was this in David? Or when you were in Panama City? If you said it in the blog I missed it, as I was looking at the photos too intently. If so, sorry in advance.


  5. indacampo says:

    Lovely pictures Kris. Panamanian horses trot so lovely. Thanks for sharing.


  6. Richard says:

    They had a cabalgata here in Boqueron late last year as part of their Saint’s Day festival. (It’s in my blog) I don’t know about the huge one in David, but the one here seemed more or less an excuse for people to ride their horses while drinking beer.

    Horses are a big thing here in Panama. It is the wild west and cattle country here in Chiriqui and horses are still a means of transportation for many. Really liked the buffalo photo.


    • I think I remember reading about that on your blog. Drink beer and ride horses? I supposed you are less likely to get in trouble than driving and drinking beer. Yes it is cattle country. I think it’s interesting when you see horses tied up at bus stops. You know that’s how they get between the bus stop and home. The buffalo was cool eh? When we went to Rambala Lodge we saw buffalo in the field not far down the road from there, had to look for a minute to figure out what I was seeing!


  7. Robert & Helen says:

    Hi Kris. I love horses and was a member of the Dutch youth national jumping team when I was 16 years old. I was living nearby the largest racing track in the Netherlands. During holidays I was riding the race horses as there was a lack of jockies for daily training. It was quite scaring the first times as these horses take off like a bullet.


  8. Karen Ama Panama says:

    How fun! I loved the video. It really captured the soynds of the event too. Does every town have one?


    • Thanks! I think other towns have other horse parades, maybe at other times, but I think this is THE horse parade and people come from all over the country to participate


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