Within the platform of Citizen Participation of the City of Mérida, there is a request by citizens to remove the horses from the carriages, which could destroy a generational and emblematic tradition of Yucatan for more than 100 years, according to some citizens.
In relation to the above, La Verdad Noticias spoke with the general secretary of the Union of Drivers and Small Carriage Owners of the State of Yucatan, Heiner Jesús Medina Borges.
“I have been working with horses all my life, since I was a child, the Mérida carriage business is a family inheritance because my father and my grandfather also worked in the same activity, in fact the carriage that I used was that of my grandfather; and like me, all the partners have passed it on to their offspring. The first thing I would ask the mayor about that is if it is worth destroying a tradition that symbolizes the state for more than 100 years” argued Medina Borges.
“The carriages are a tradition of 105 years and the current generation of caleseros are only trying to preserve it, because it is characteristic of the state. Currently there are caleseros in three municipalities: Mérida, Izamal and Motul, gathering 110 carriages for tourist tours”, he continued.
On March 13, 1913 the Association of caleseros started to operate in Yucatan, the Central Carriage Drivers League was founded and don Juan Vera Aguilar was one of the founders.
“The caleseros do not deny modernism, but if the mayor wants to motorize the carriages, it would leave many families without food, the caleseros would only be drivers, and who would pay for these new transports? If you plan to invest in new carriages that would break the tradition, you better invest in those that are already here, for your care, because maintenance is needed; for example, tires are handmade and we only get them in Campeche and Motul, “Medina Borges added.
Despite being an emblematic symbol for Merida, the caleseros have been mistakenly related to animal abuse. “Many animalist have attacked us but I invite them to come, if they want to bring their own veterinarians and check on our horses health, they are all healthy, besides we do not use whip to hit the horses,” he underlined.
The horses are under the care of veterinarians of the UADY and every 3 months they go into revision and deworming treatment, vaccines and vitamins, and in case of having any illness or wound tey are immediately taken to the doctor.
Dr. José Manuel Blanco, is in charge of large species in the educational institution and is the person in charge of coordinating appointments with horses, preventive medicine, locomotor care that has to do with bones, dental gold also because the Care of their teeth is important, as it helps the horse’s digestion, each horse has his card, which supports his health.
“There is absolutely no animal abuse because each horse is part of our family and is part of our roots in a tradition of our state. This is very controversial because they do not know the process, but the horses are in very good condition and we look after them, caleseros go through a series of studies, analysis and preparation, because they also have to train the horses. Each horseman is aware of his horse and for his care precisely we have three shifts, so as not to abuse them, a horse only works 6 hours a day and to protect them from the sun we implement the umbrellas, but the ideal would be if the government would help us with an optimal place with a roof” he stated.
The city council has 2 departments to support the carriages in matters of culture and tourism as well as to change the perception of animal abuse.
“I believe that the mayor needs to support us, to continue the tradition, Mr. Eduardo Seifo, Secretary of Tourism committed himself to the diffusion of the carriages, with the mayor we have not spoken, but we hope to do so soon, “concluded the leader of the coachmen.