Saturday, February 13, 2010 8:00 AM
Papalote Visits Rancho Guadalupana and The Club Hipico
Recently, Cole's class at Papalote took a field trip to visit Rancho Guadalupana and the local riding club in Playa del Carmen. The students were greeted by club owner and well regarded instructor Francisco (Paco) Mogallon who toured the group through the facilities and introduced them to a few of the four legged residents of this small property. Quite a few of the animals had been rescued by Paco and his friends and brought back to the ranch for rehabilitation and love. Shakira, the three legged dog certainly got her fair share of love with all the visiting children as did Popcorn, the pony abandoned by a traveling circus on Holbox! Most of the horses there are privately owned and boarded there by local riding enthusiasts, some put into service in the local Equine Therapy program, designed to address the need for alternative therapies for children with physical and developmental disabilities. Cole and his friends all learned about caring for the horses and then, two by two, were allowed to take a turn riding one of the quiet majestic beasts. I think for some of the children, it was their first time on a horse and the experience was obviously thrilling!
After a quick lunch break, the group moved on and meandered through the paths, under a canopy of trees, viewing a small collection of regional animals, both exotic and domesticated, that the owners of Rancho Guadalupana have collected over the years. The adults in attendance took a dim view of the small cages and litter strewn about the property but the children had eyes only for the animals who, while obviously bored to tears in their cramped quarters, appeared well fed and healthy.
It was a fun day for the children and while I question the example being set to them by the owners of the makeshift zoo, the trip to the riding school was a great experience. Those of us who grew up riding at posh stables in the US and Europe will be put off by the appearance of the barns and out-buildings that comprize the school, but if you look further you will find well cared for and loved animals in clean stalls with fresh bedding. Paco and his staff are clearly keeping the best interest of the horses and other barn critters in their hearts and minds everyday and I look forward to our next visit...most likely as students!