The Annual Drunken, Deadly Horse Races of Guatemala
Articles Blog

The Annual Drunken, Deadly Horse Races of Guatemala

August 16, 2019


oh okay you it’s Rivermen Guatemala penida todos santos into small town northwestern portion of the country every year todos santos has a drunken horse race so i’m gonna go hang out with a family up there and see the festivities hopefully not fall off a horse and get trampled every year in toto santos the last week of october the mayan townspeople celebrates catch cold a harvest festival that falls around the day of the dead and culminates in a drunken sometimes deadly horse race the history of the festival dates back to when the Spanish conquistadors invaded Guatemala in the 1500s the Spanish enslaved or slaughtered all the Mayans in their path and the Mayans weren’t allowed to touch anything that the Spanish owned if a Mayan touched a horse the Spanish would execute him when the conquistadors made it to Toto Santos one brave villager stood up in protest he stole a Spanish horse and raced it around the mud streets until he was caught and killed every year since then to honor that brave ancestor the whole town gets wasted and parties for an entire week finally staggering on to their horses drunk for the wild race I’m a pretty serious lightweight and I’ve only sat on a horse once but I want to head to toe to Santos and see if I could keep up the race takes place on a track that looks more like a long sandy run stretching about a half mile on the edge of town it seems like all the guys here are wearing the same traditional shirt and pants I feel like if I want to fit in a little bit I should go get measured and have them make me a suit myself from what I could figure most folks in toto santos shake up all year to buy new outfits for the festival so the tailor was pretty slammed but he managed to sort me out so I could try and blend in a little bit haha oh yeah yeah so no Merida kill Oh River Arriba no Gomez Ravel reah reah clay Espanola kumis leave em leave em I was finding myself up against a pretty massive language barrier when reliable most people in toto santos shake to mine language mom or this mountain dialect of Spanish estas a la cabeza de nuestro cora so exist kc somos Maya’s y que tenemos que usar los o trajes nuestro trashy es la sangre de nuestros antepasados para nosotros como Maya’s Elsa Mo’s con los Muertos giving poor mayor del del ad to camisa es Blanco con Reyes Blancos nuestros antepasados lo tenemos en nuestra camisa es algo muy muy especial para nosotros to pantalone que tu tienes es la sangre de del hombre que murió pollo Rojo okay look like you’re like here Oh Randall of the samples for vector Perfector okay I’m it gonna see very nice now that I have my proper riding attire I had to go check out my horse and take it for a test run before the big race tomorrow that’s just so we’re getting saddled up getting on a horses uh I’m about to go meet mine yeah my first drink of the day today with some amigos over there cause he needs tiene que tomar alcohol parakeet armas el miedo y tambien cuando se que no se siente muchos de door s peligrosa muchas siento Sanka yo yo tambien tal algunos algunos a nose at rastan agendas case am wearing is going a lot faster than up gone I’m good at the trot I’m not so good at the whatever else is past the trot I think I can do that man how do I make him not go so fast saw just let this thing go let it go that’s how you go go yeah and go if you’re gonna go throw just pulled straight look okay tight you slow okay let me tell you something see this little horse is just another it’s not the best you know but okay you can keep slow one – twig oh oh oh Karima oh holy you know when life is a little blank right now I’m just like surging with adrenaline I really can’t think anything a little bit shaky I just stepped in a huge pile of also uh most people are already half in the bag and it was only about 10 a.m. but from what I could figure the riders and I were headed to the town square it’s no surprise that everybody was partying and drinking to celebrate the Mayan culture because discrimination against the people at OU de Santos didn’t stop with the Spanish conquistadors in the early 1980s in the midst of the Guatemalan civil war the army launched a genocide against the Mayans over a hundred and seventy thousand indigenous people were killed and around 600 mined villages destroyed in the spring of 1982 guerrillas who were battling the government took Toto Santos as a stronghold soldiers invaded the village to fight the guerrillas and residents were caught in the middle todos santos el último pueblo destroyed’ o como que aqui y el fin de noticias la capitale para el gobierno que estaba cecily oyogu no golpe de estar entonces ie para la guerra no sentados a redis armata the genocide was one of the bloodiest periods in the country’s history but like that ancestor who stole the horse to rebel against the conquistadors the people in toto Santos have stayed strong okay good I’ve got glasses I was still confused about what was going on but somebody told me that we were supposed to dance with the horses there we go let’s go and randomly out of nowhere there were these giant explosions terrifying my horse las bombas significa del camión SE de cada actividad qual determiner Calaca TV de the racing teams are made up of families in the community with the team’s captain or first rider as they call him usually being the oldest son in the family he’s the guy who pays for the horses and the marimba and the food and all the booze Santos tal vez y un ven te por ciento todo santaros del austra in team in lava tante sketchy a vibin los Estados Unidos los que haces a career de caballo solos que tiene más dinero entonces solos immigrant ace todo santaros so Lavina por la cara de caballo y 7 porque es pierre de bastante dinero por la Carrera pero se regresa empieza a trabajar yo regressor lo Tran you I finally got to meet my host the father of the first captain whose custom that the father ad traditional riding accessories to my outfit like I was one of his own sons hey Latrell todas trajo del C or este van hopper nary Oba pasar by lo se le gusta Valgard oh no Cho say no sólo las diez Padres cancer amateur Andreea ahorita tenemos ace comida y como este es Bakura komui ho ha ha te vas pasta make me load my destiny came a girl Akeno race and here’s the crown I got this once I was all dressed up for the race I met with the first rider of my team what does this Festival mean to you but I’m missing a fika is there one minute what in an idol dos Santos how long have you been racing peple Cengiz do you have any tips for me like I was pretty scared out there miedo de correr como puede then it was time to kick off the party so we started drinking and dancing which would go all night preparing us with a big race the next day what should we anticipate for tomorrow paramos que todos sister coram bien que no hay nada porque sabes Muertos really yes I would like to not be that dead person I do not want to die I don’t know how I’m gonna be able ride a horse you know so hungover tomorrow is have a keep drinking insisted a la carrera es que no ingen adorned un perdedor entonces los los dientes tiene que tomar porque ESO no es uno de chillon after 12 hours of drinking and dancing we’re finally prepared to race so everybody is putting pretty hard in their that we’re going all night we’re gonna hop on my horse soon do a little racing I think the purpose of drinking for 12 hours was to forget that I could potentially fall off and die the spitting booze on me hopefully for good luck did you go everybody’s laughing at me everybody’s pointing and drinking and chuckling they’re all saying like will the gringo stay in a source here we go here we go Korea the down buddy oh I ran into horse on that side and then coming back this way uh couldn’t stop went flying off a little bit but all I gots a little bit skinned knuckles a little bit bloody the riding fights easiest parts stopping who knew after I raced my horse the captain’s rode additional apps with their ceremonial chickens which signaled the end of the festivities Anna squaty media well trained me my Gayo yo voy voy a Montana kawaii voice Matar my guy am i kawaii la sangre de la gallon a chaos Corte es para darle todos Antero que murió solo loss capitainesj de de Algar SI galena me entonces menthe Alka bio y sólo el capitan puede commerce a gala knows si significa que el en los Capitan azan cumplir la tradición so are you okay with tourists like myself coming and participating in the festival or are you worried about it you know becoming too Americanized and losing some of my culture al contrarian nosotros on teemo’s for Goya Osos de que participa todos santos s siento muy contento que usted y cuando llegó assest isis aloha mostrar a sus familias lo que nosotros queremos es que no se termina tambien nosotros estamos buscando una votación otro país para apoyar para llamar a la gente I wouldn’t expect a town to remember its dark history with a horse race on a party but once I was welcomed in the community of todos santos i saw how the people here really have something to celebrate put us onto his has been victim to terrible things but all the people here today have survived and that’s something to celebrate Plus after centuries of genocide by the Spanish and their government dying drunk and free on the back of a horse isn’t the worst way to go at least it’s on their terms Oh

Only registered users can comment.

  1. We Chapines don't fuck around! We'll drink all night, race our horses in the morning and kill chickens while racing our horses, bitches!… aaaaannnnddd eventually go back home and bomb the fuck out of the toilet while puking on ourselves because we're still so drunk that we think we're still on the horse racing… But other than that we don't fuck around! LMAO!

  2. This is interesting as fuck… amazing what little information is common knowledge about things like this; and I mean all of it!
    I don't know if I'm happy or sad… Thank you!

  3. Dude, i am from Texas…we get drunk and race horses all the time. We don't need no harvest festival.

  4. As a horse trainer, this video makes me cringe. But it's culture, and all in good fun, so I guess I'll calm myself =_=

  5. finally you send a journalist who is a stuck up hipster always talking shit about the culture. This River guy is pretty cool, seems to just go with it and have a good time. Great video, we need more like this Vice!

  6. I'm from Guatemala , Todosantos cuchumatan it's where I was born and trust me its a beautiful wonderful place and also there is more celebrations all of them are really fun to watch but sometimes trrifing 😂 but is a very awesome place to visit .

  7. They all drink as much as they can and if someone doesn't die from excessive alcohol in their body it means that the harvest won't be rich for next year so someone better die.. I know very superstitious

  8. hahaha this gringo gets props from me…. VICE please do more cool stuff on Guatemala and only send RIVERS

  9. se valora el costumbrismo pero vaya mierda de estos cerotes de vice con su carga ideológica. mucha leyenda negra y mucha basura progre. genocida tu ancestro gringo.

  10. shit, i live in guatemala and had no clue this was a thing. damn you american primary and secondary education!

  11. I love this documentary so much you captured the fucking awesomeness and craziness of my country! Please more content about Guatemala!

  12. no word exists to describe how impressed I am this kid just rode the horse like a goddam jockey 1st try. And also, I spat out my dinner when he said "Rio"

  13. It was amazing to watch your work. I watched the video many times. I was born in the department de Totonicapan Guatemala. Great job Vice!

  14. River has a humbleness about him that many of the other presenters lack. He was happy to jump in and participate and completely emerge himself in the culture and I found his idiosyncrasies pretty funny. He's obviously young but mature beyond his years. I didn't know if I'd enjoy this one but I enjoyed this documentary much more than some of your other "mainstream" ones. Well done River you are an accomplished journalist.

  15. Thanks for making and posting I love Vice….that looked pretty fun boozing all night then tearing around the streets shithouse drunk on a 🐎 Wooooo

  16. Que hermosos los trajes de Guatemala toditita la gente deberian estar agradecido que nose ha perdido el costumbre de usar el traje tipico

  17. That's so awesome how you just threw yourself into their culture and showed immense respect and enthusiasm. At first I judge River like oh great some little white hipster but he was super humble and real and honest. Let's see more River!

  18. I appreciate River's attitude, he never judged the tradition, he shown us the whole celebration and the beliefs of the people and I think he even enjoyed it ! congrats…

  19. Thanks for the video and explaining the history, may the spirts in the clouds guide you and xivalva provide for you and your love ones uttz pinpin..

  20. 9:50 exactly this guy got it the best cure for a hangover is to keep drinking this way youre no longer hangover youre just drunk 🙂

  21. even I thought it was dangerous in early 80's, I went once and it was bad enough even getting there

  22. I wish they had someone to interpret Mam for my townspeople, otherwise it seems like we just speak spanish. Barely heard of lick of Mam in there, thats my only critique otherwise well done.

  23. I wonder if is any hotels in the area?or I have to ask shelter from my brothers. (I’m from Guatemala)This will be my next destination! Love this culture,Love the vídeo my daughter I cannot wait to be there 😍

  24. I like this kid. Most white people cant get past arbitrary differences in culture LOL its all fun and love in its essence 😛

  25. This has probably got to be the nicest Vice documentary that I have scene. Props to you for going down to Guatemala and being yourself and letting the people speak for themselves!

  26. I research about this cool Country so they are not Native American. They are central american but there DNA they are the real european. Which the reason they have green or hazel eyes. Fair skin and nice hair. Also they live in Candida. They speak many languages at least four. They are not close to black or white but new different race. Shot I wish I was born in Gutemala. Instead of America we suck.

  27. River, you did a very good job on this piece. The main story was the horse race; however, the impressive part about your report is how the tradition came about, including the Spanish conquest of Maya peoples in this region, as well as the struggles of the villagers against their own government. You were a good sport for staying true to the tradition, dressing up in full costume, and showing respect for the traditions of the villagers. Good job.

  28. My parents are from there and they're always telling stories of how life has been there ⛰, great video 🤙

  29. Good to know the US intervention in Guatemala that lead to that civil war/ genocide.. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9ptsKFo_kjo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *