January 23rd, 2013
We began the HSVMA-RAVS program in Nicaragua six years ago here in Granada in cooperation with Dr Tom Parker, a New Mexico based practitioner who has been working in Nicaragua for about 10 years, and one of the people instrumental in making this program a success. His generosity with his time
and knowledge gave us a leg up here that could not have been duplicated any other way.
At first, we worked four days here (in addition to worksites in other parts of the country) and the workload was well matched to the resources available. Each year, as other groups arrived to do work here as
well, our workload dropped, and we therefore planned ever fewer days here and concentrated our resources on more remote regions. We planned one day here this year, and to say the least, resources were not well matched to work load: we saw 225 horses today, many with serious problems. This is more than I’ve ever before seen in the twelve years I’ve been doing this, in a single day with a crew of about 12 people, and frankly, we’re whupped (got it done, though :~).
Partly this increased workload was due to a change in physical worksite from the facility of the Granada Carriage Drivers Cooperativa, our former site, to the parking lot of the baseball stadium, which is easier for many owners to reach, but Tom Parker says most of it is because there have been few programs here recently to service a very large population of working horses. This is one more indication of the importance of the AAEP’s Equitarian Initiative, and one of its most important functions: that of coordinating between programs. A related issue is that some parts of the country, including Granada, are on the cusp of developing a viable domestic (Nicaraguan) veterinary service model for working equids, and that we need to discuss and seek ways to foster that. (Tonight, though, it’s Jinotega vs Granada in the playoffs at the stadium…….)
Tomorrow we leave early for El Bote, an agricultural (primarily coffee production) hamlet in the mountains just south of the border with Honduras, where we expect to see about 450 horses and mules over the course of three work days. Some of the owners will ride for two days to reach us. It’s accessible only by 4WD, and it takes about 10 hours to get there from here, and it’s well beyond any internet signal, so next blog will be on the 28th or 29th, earliest.
David Turoff, DVM