This is a Story About an Andalusian Horse Called Guapo2 min read

This is a story about an Andalusian horse called Guapo. He is the kind of Iberian horse that Andalusia is known for, the kind of horse you would have seen on the black and white postcards even long ago. I don’t know much about him and I only saw him once, but I don’t think I will ever forget his name.

It was a sunny day in early March. The scratchy sound of the roosters and the soft shine of the morning sun had slowly woken us up. Winter was slowly turning into spring and the mimosa trees were in full bloom. We met Guapo on a beach called Playa de Zamora, when my surfer friends were scouting for waves. I was tagging along with my camera, always scanning the horizon for anything that caught my eye.

Guapo the Andalusian horse going into the ocean for the first time with his rider

We didn’t find any good waves. Instead, we saw Guapo galloping along the shore. He was practicing his gaits, so he must have been a young dressage horse. His long brown mane was dancing in the wind and we watched him in awe for what must have been ten or fifteen minutes. The rider’s family was also there. Their son and tiny chihuahua, which looked like an ant next to Guapo, were playing on the beach.

Then the rider got off and started guiding Gaupo towards the waves, away from the beach and just a few steps further into the sea. Guapo looked a bit confused. He would follow the rider and quickly change his mind. I think he felt the wet sand shifting underneath his feet and lost his confidence.

Andalucian horse Guapo takes a few steps into the ocean

This day was Guapo’s very first time going into the ocean, the rider later told us. It was his first time splashing in the waves and feeling the salt water on his skin. We stood there watching his initial hesitation, but it quickly turned into pure elation. He would lie down in the water and immediately stand up again. He would jump towards the waves and try to run away when the rider teasingly splashed him with water.

This day was Guapo’s very first time going into the ocean, the rider later told us. It was his first time splashing in the waves and feeling the salt water on his skin.

Can you believe we were lucky enough to be at the exact same place at the right moment? It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments where you go with the flow of a drowsy, sunny day. And then out of nowhere, your lack of plans is rewarded by the most surreal experiences where life feels like a fiction, almost too extraordinary to be true.

That’s why this is also a story about allowing life to unfold in whatever way it wants to go. It’s about being open-minded about unexpected encounters with those that happen to cross your path, friends and strangers. Because those accidental encounters that money can’t buy often turn into the kind of moments that will stay with you for life.

Guapo sits in the ocean as his rider holds his lead rope
Guapo takes his first steps into the ocean
Guapo and his rider pose on the beach
My friends and I pose with Guapo on the beach
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