IN PANAMA YOU WILL GENERALLY FIND PEOPLE RIDE WESTERN STYLE, AN EASY, RELAXING AND MORE SECURE WAY OF RIDING COMPARED TO THE TRADITIONAL ENGLISH STYLE.
The vaqueros (cowboys) of Panama have to spend hours a day in the saddle, so the saddle is designed to be as comfortable as possible for horse and rider. You can hold on better in Western saddle compared to English saddle. Without clamming your legs against the horse, rather your legs are extended and relaxed.
Trail riding, Western Style, is a beautiful way to take in the splendour of environment all year round. Leave the stresses and worries of life behind you, relax and let us take you out along a challenging trail through the stunning countryside of Santa Fe, Panama.
Western riding style was brought to the Americas by the Spanish Conquistadors. Both equipment and riding style have evolved to meet the working needs of the cowboy. They need to work long hours in the saddle over rough terrain, sometimes needing to rope cattle with a lasso. Due to the necessity to control the horse with one hand and use a lasso with the other, the horses are trained to neck rein. To change direction you only need a light pressure of a rein against the horse’s neck. Horses are also trained to exercise a certain degree of independence in using their natural instincts to follow the movements of a cow.
Thus a riding style developed that emphasized a deep, secure seat, and training methods encourages the horses to be responsive on very light rein contact. Your hips and shoulders have to be balanced over your feet, with your hands independent of your seat to avoid jerking the horse in the mouth and interfering with it's performance.
The saddle has a heavy and substantial tree made of wood to absorb the shock of roping. The saddle features a prominent pommel topped by a knob or horn used for wrapping a lasso after roping an animal, a deep seat and a high cantle.
In Panama we use closed-end reins, or alternatively American Style split reigns. Young horses are usually trained with the classic tool of the vaquero, the bosal-style hackamore and no bit. Later on when the horse is solidly trained, the horse is gradually shifted from the hackamore to a shank bit.
The Panamanian cowboy normally wears a long-sleeved work shirt, denim jeans, boots, and a cowboy hat. Clean, well-fitting work clothing is the usual outfit seen in rodeo, cutting and reining competitions, especially for men, though mostly in brighter colors or finer fabrics. Unlike the English traditions where clothing and tack is quiet and unobtrusive, Panamanian show equipment is intended to draw attention. Saddles, bits and bridles are frequently ornamented with substantial amounts of silver. The rider’s shirt is often ornamented with embroidery and women’s clothing in particular may feature vivid colors, spurs and belt buckles are often silver-plated.
Several times a year our town of Santa Fe hoasts various celebrations, rich in culture and strong in traditions. You will see a colorful marching band, fabulous horses fearless in the face of fireworks and a proud community all outdoors, in the street yelling, "long live the town". Ask for more information when you are here so you can join one of these traditional events in the area.
"Que vive el Pubelo!"