Want to get up close and personal with horses in Goa?
If you love animals, then one natural progression would be to have either dogs or cats as your pets. And, if you own a farm and are passionate about farming then you would also like to have some hens, cattle, etc.
But then, how about having a horse as a pet and spending your quality time with this stallion.
It sounds unfamiliar, but for the Pinto family, their three horses are now part and parcel of their lives, and aren’t raised for any commercial purposes.
FINDING THE HORSES
Dr Gustavo Pinto, the well-known Goan veterinarian and lover of all kinds of animals, along with his daughter, Ninoschka, are busy with his horses these days.
These three horses are at Quinta Margarida, the ancestral house of Pinto at Candolim, for around two years now. “Initially I got two horses — one male (Gazi) and another female (Electra). They belonged to a German lady who owned a farm at Quepem. But unfortunately, she was paralyzed and thus, wanted to give away her horses,” informs Dr Pinto.
In six months’ time, they got another horse, Dazzle, as the female horse gave birth to a baby. Dazzle was born on January 19, 2022.
Dr Pinto states that they could afford to have three horses as they have a large open space around their house. He, however, also busts the myth associated with horses. Many a time, it is assumed that the Goan climate is not suitable for them.
He maintains that they prefer cold climates, but horses can be bred here if properly cared for. “We don’t take our horses to the beach or on the road. Also, at our property, they roam freely,” he says.
He also points out that historically, Goa was a hub for horse trade somewhere around the 14th to the 15th century, and these horses were stationed at Chorao island.
Now the Pintos have opened their home to all animal-lovers who want to know more about horses and also discover them in a more intimate manner.
On April 16, they have organised a kids’ day out to learn about horses. It is specially designed for children between the ages of 8 to 16.
It is an educational event to learn about horses, their behaviour, and how to adjust our behaviour around them. Participants will also be taught how to lead a horse, do basic ground work exercises, how to properly care for a horse.
They will be also handling the horses themselves with the supervision of the trainer. Some horsey games, where interaction between child and horse will be encouraged in a fun controlled environment, will be held.
This event will be under the supervision of the horse trainer, Veronika Berkana, who is from the Czech Republic.
Ninoschka maintains that this event aims to bring children closer to nature, as she feels that children are now cut off from nature.
“It has been scientifically proven that this has negative effects on a child’s development. Whereas, interaction with animals, mud, sand and green leaves promotes creativity, imagination, responsibility, compassion, and reduces stress and fatigue,” says Ninoschka who teaches French & English at Estellar Higher Secondary, Porvorim.
When asked what she learned from horses, she states, “I have learnt to watch and listen to them. Understand them and create a bond. They now follow my instructions because of this understanding relationship rather than a dominating one. They have also reminded me of the value of hard work. These horses have saved me in more ways than I can count. Spending the day working with horses leaves me much more satisfied than spending a day in an air-conditioned office.”
The ‘All About Horses’ event will be held on April 16, 2023 from 8 am onwards at Quinta Margarida, Candolim. For more details, contact +918806 290593 or +9184689 80346
Arti Das is a freelance journalist based in Goa. She loves writing about art, culture and the ecology of Goa.