The morning of the famous Cacería del Zorro in Ibarra, Ecuador is spent getting ready for the parade! Simon Bolivar, a major thoroughfare that cuts through the center of town, is closed to traffic and large metal gates are placed along the route. We were told the makeshift fence was new this year and was there to protect the crowd from the occasional rowdy horse.
Locals pull out chairs and stools and place them next to the road. Favorite family businesses become central meeting points as people who only rarely come into town stop by to say hello and catch up on the latest gossip. By about 9am, all the spots near the parade grandstand, erected on the Parque La Merced, are already taken but up and down the street there are still many gaps waiting to be filled. By about 10am, the crowd is filling in any empty spot. And by 11am, we were standing 4 to 5 deep and children are practically climbing the grated gates to see over the fence. They don’t want a view obstructed by metal bars. And I can’t blame them. There is so much to see!
Women are selling espumilla, a frothy meringue flavored with fruit served in a cone made for ice cream, and cowboy hats to fit with the horse riding theme of the day. Men are selling umbrellas to protect delicate faces from the equatorial sun. And beer has begun to make the rounds… some in bottles, some in large plastic cups, all of it being shared with friends and family alike. The atmosphere is festive and the crowd is surprisingly patient as we wait and wait for the parade to begin.
And then the Fox Hunt Parade begins! Ambulances make their way down the route, hinting that this day may not go without problems. But don’t tell anyone in the parade that. They are focused on other things. Many are dressed to the nines, elegant in the latest riding fashions. Many are wearing simple polo shirts with the names of their riding clubs. The horses range from fancy, well-bred, expensive thoroughbreds to small, well-trained mountain ponies.
Rather than lead you through the parade bit by bit, I’ll break up the photos by theme. Within each group, you can click on a single photo to open up a slideshow.
Riders and their Horses
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