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The Wild Horses of Southern Ecuador

Posted in: Ecuador Travel

When we moved to Ecuador I didn’t really think about seeing wild horses.

I thought I might see other wild animals like monkeys, but wild horses didn’t even enter my mind.

Whild horses in Ecuador

So when we saw them it was almost like seeing some strange animal I had never seen before. Not because I hadn’t seen horses, but because I had never seen wild horses.

Wild Horses in Ecuador

In Canada, Bryan’s grandfather had a beautiful farm with large gorgeous work horses. Learn about owning horses in Ecuador.

But wild horses are a different story. There is something even more special about them. Seeing these beautiful animals running free made me very happy.

We’ve seen them three times – in two different areas in southern Ecuador. We’ve read about wild horses on the coast and in the northern sierra as well.

The first time we saw them was in a dry desert-like area in the Yunguilla Valley. We’ve heard it called the Jubones Desert, although we aren’t sure of its actual name. They were walking along the top of a mountain ridge and we stopped in amazement, staring and taking pictures.

Wild horses on the mountain Wild horses in the mountains Ecuador

The second time was in a field above (at a higher elevation) the Jubones Desert. They crossed the road in front of us. This is the same herd as the first time we saw them.

Wild horses grazing in a field in Ecuador Wild horses in a field Ecuador

The third time was in an area just below the Cajas National Park. It looked like the horses were so tired from walking that they didn’t have much energy left in them.

They were walking along the side of the road and didn’t make much of an effort to get our of our way. They walked in front of the car for a couple of minutes and then moved off into a field alongside the road. They looked rough but beautiful.

Wild horses walking

Variety In The Wild Horses

I was used to seeing horses behind a fence, usually of the same kind and well taken care of. The wild horses looked different.

Some of them had shaggy fur, different markings and body shapes. Some were one solid color and others had patches, some had short faces and others had longer faces. We noticed that at least one of them had feet with the hoofs growing long and kind of curled.

The ones with shorter faces looked more like the kind of horses people use here for work and riding on mountain trails. The ones we saw near the Cajas where it’s colder had shaggier fur, whereas the ones in the warmer areas had shorter fur.

White wild horse with curled hooves Whild horses in Ecuador

We love seeing the wild horses and the amazing landscape here in Ecuador. When we arrived in 2009, we didn’t think we would get a car but I’m so glad we did. Going on long drives with our friends is when we see some of the most amazing things.

What amazing things have you seen while traveling in Ecuador, or other countries? Please share your experiences by commenting on this post.

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Meet the Author

Dena Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. She is a travel blogger and content marketer. She is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Travel.

7 comments… add one
  • Jo Reason Jan 21, 2016, 9:18 pm

    There are also wild horses in the Cotopaxi NP, it is a delight so see them.

  • Alicia Nov 15, 2013, 12:15 pm

    I don’t know if you knew this, but horses hooves grow. They keep growing their whole lives, like your fingernail (in fact, the hoof is more or less made out of the same stuff).

    Domestic horses get their hooves trimmed, wild ones don’t–that’s why the one horse had a long, curled hoof.

    Just in case you didn’t know and wanted to 🙂

    • Tatiana Oct 12, 2016, 9:52 am

      Wild horses hooves supposed to be worn down naturally. Considering terrain in Ecuador, looks like those horses been constrained from free roaming:( sadly

  • John Humphreys Nov 8, 2013, 6:37 pm

    Dena ; What abeutiful set of pictures,it is amazing that you find so many new and exciting things every day. I wish my health was such that I could come and experience some of your joy myself ,but for now i have to rely on you Bryan and drew to keep me entertained. Hope to see you soon
    C Love

  • Kassie Nov 8, 2013, 9:41 am

    I love your blog and so was pleased to see an article about wild horses! I had never seen wild horses before myself until I went to Costa Rica. The way you described how you felt about seeing the horses was the same way I felt. I was so amazing to see them so free and running wild. I knew for sure then that I was no longer in the U.S. Thanks for keeping us entertained and always wanting for more. I long to live in Ecuador and for about a year now have done extensive research. My husband works in Brazil and we live in Texas. They have asked him to move there, but we really want to live in Ecuador and not Brazil. We have three sweet girls whom have traveled all over Central America with us and also spent a month In Cusco, Peru with us. They love to travel as well and learn about new cultures. I just saw your daughter had a blog and so I am excited to show my girls. I am sure they will start following her blog. I read the one about the icecream bean. She is quite the writer. May I ask about schooling? I homeschooled our 3 girls for a little over 2 years. This year they are in a private Christian school. I found a school there called Alliance Christian. Do you know anything about it? We are planning a trip in May to look at Real Estate and schools etc. Anyway, thanks again. I love your blog. You have a sweet little family. Kassie

    • Bryan Haines Nov 8, 2013, 9:57 am

      Thanks for your comment. You have an adventurous family!

      We home-school our daughter. I don’t know the schools here – we have always home-schooled Drew, even in Canada.

      All the best on your plans!

    • Emile Apr 12, 2016, 9:02 pm

      I long to be there but can’t get wife to budge

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