There are not a lot of horses in the Center of San Jose, but in the country side people rely on horses for many reasons. They use them to get around, to haul objects, and to heard other animals. Horseback is a very popular form of transportation for locals. In fact, even in the suburbs one sees people riding horses through neighborhoods rather frequently. Horseback riding on the beach, to waterfalls, and to canopy tours has also become a very common land excursion tour. Usually this is not very expensive to do and it is offered in a variety of different settings.
Besides using horses for transportation. Costa Rican's also do something else very special with their horses. They have yearly horse parades in almost every town around the country. These displays are called "topes." Honestly, they are quite lovely displays of some of Costa Rica's finest horses and riders. The horses all look as if they are dancing some kind of dressage style dance as their gait is very distinct.
If visitors would like to see some of the more famous and large scale "topes" there is one in San Jose around Christmas time. Also, for the fiestas of Palmares there is a very large showing. "Topes" without a doubt are most popular however in Guanacaste, they have one almost every month it seems.
If someone would like to participate in a "tope" then theywould need to own or rent a horse. When "topes" are coming up there are always ads in the local papers for people looking for or renting out horses. The big companies here usually have horses that they dye the colors of their company to put in the parades, they are most often mounted by a pretty model girl. These topes are sometimes seen as fashion shows on horses.
Maintaining a horse in Costa Rica is not as expensive as in North America. For example, a stable that boards horses with food (and sometimes depending or how often someone that rides them) for $50-100 USD per month. The cost of horses is also significantly lower. A person can buy a decent horse for around $400 USD. Obviously, the nicer horses and pure breeds are much more expensive.