Calandrias, horse-drawn carriages in Guadalajara’s centro historico, already a thing of the past in the sense of being a tradition harkening back to a distant time of corsets, pistol duels and wigs, will in a very real sense shortly be a thing of the past as they are phased out in favor of animal-less facsimiles propelled forward by the modern magic of electricity.
Those carriage drivers, or calandrieros, in compliance with Guadalajara Mayor Alfaro’s controversial initiative will soon begin a 45-hour training program with the new machines. Upon its completion, they will be receive documents certifying them to operate the shiny new beast-less beasts, which come complete with space for advertisements.
According to Marilyn Gomez Pozos, head of Guadalajara Animal Protection, taking part in the training proceedings will be various municipal and state officials, as well as the new model’s manufacturers.
The training program will be be broken up into four sections: The first, lasting five days, will consist of a crash course in the culture, history and geography of the city; the second will involve the nuts and bolts of vehicular operation and maintenance; the third concerns traffic safety procedures, and the fourth and final module will see drivers actually piloting the contraptions, with Alfonso Hernandez, their chief designer, on hand to supervise and assist trainees.
There are currently nine calandrieros who have stuck by their refusal to go quietly into an equine-less future. According to Gomez, these men have stated their intention to delay a final decision concerning their involvement until the electric calandrias are up and running.
What remains a somewhat murky subject is the fate of the animals who will shortly find themselves without carriages to pull. Will they spend the remainder of their days galloping in sunlight fields of wheat and thoughtfully masticating apples to a pulp? Or will they, as many critics of the impending replacement claim, end up hanging upside down skinless and bloody in an abattoir, thus negating the nominal raison d’etre of the whole business, that is, animal welfare?
A less weighty question being pondered over is whether or not operators will sport identical uniforms, and if so, what they might consist of.