with Horse and Hound

Cuban Exports: Rum, Cigars, and…Fancy Show Jumpers

The Associated Press reports that Cuba has added another luxury product to its traditional export list of fine rum and fancy cigars—Dutch Warmblood show jumpers. Colts and fillies are purchased as yearlings from the Netherlands, trained at government-sponsored equine enterprises, and auctioned off to buyers mostly from Latin-America.

Fidel Castro’s communist government banned horse racing, gambling, and professional sports when it gained power, but amateur equestrian sports continued. The sport of show jumping declined during Cuba’s economically-troubled times, but in 2005 the government saw a possible way to bring needed foreign currency into the country.

At a recent auction at the National Equestrian Club, thirty-one horses sold for a total of about $435,000 to buyers from Brazil, Canada, Guatemala, the Netherlands and Mexico. Cuba splits the proceeds with a Dutch equine company, and is now reinvesting much of its share into a new initiative to breed the horses in Cuba rather than importing. Besides increasing profit margin, it allows the country to select on breeding prospects which best handle the heat and humidity of the Americas.

Click to read the complete AP article by Anne-Marie Garcia.

Posted February 13, 2015