Costa Rican Horses & Cattle


Many tourist traveling around Costa Rica will usually ask their guide, "Why are the cattle so skinny? Don't ranchers feed them?", or, "Why are horses in Costa Rica so small? Don't you feed them properly?". We will explain the reason for this...

In regards to cattle, it's a breed thing. The breed is a Hindu breed named Brahman. This breed is great for arid terrain such as Guanacaste where cattle is raised mainly for beef, while in areas like Arenal where you have rain forest usually Jersey cattle is used since dairy is the main goal, although you'll also find Brahman. Guanacaste cattle industry is mainly focused on sale for beef. Due to the breed the meat is not very lean making Costa Rican beef buyers primarily fast food companies and pet food companies. So if you've eaten at McDonald's or Burger King, chances are you may have eaten Costa Rican beef (LOL). Since Costa Rica has been building strong relations with China, ranchers are begin to crossbreed Brahman will Holstein and leaner breeds to improve quality and thus increasing the price, due to China's current high demand for beef. 

The horses are small because they were purposely bred that way. Keep in mind that Costa Rica is considered tropics. Within the country you will find primary and secondary forest. While the primary forest is that which has not been tampered by man, making to forest floor easy to walk through due to the canopy blocking sunlight preventing undergrowth; the secondary forest has much undergrowth and thick brush due to man cutting trees creating openings in the canopy provoking a race among many species making the undergrowth very thick. So farmers would use horses to ride through paths or carry loads. A large horse would have a difficult time walking along these narrow paths, specially if they had a load. So smaller horses were bread in order to make this endeavor much simpler.