Dreaming of sanctuary
As many of us glide into winter we’re dreaming of OurHorses sanctuaries emerging all over the world offering peace, healing and new perspectives. Right now we’re building the team, writing the mission statement, drafting a business plan and exploring every day with our horses. What is life like with pastures tended by horses partnering with humans to honor the balance of nature? How can we make this experience of reverence and partnership with nature accessible to more people? How can this lead to world peace, or at least to us doing a larger part to heal the world?
Be sure to look around our new website www.ourhorses.org. We have a new community section and chat room. Join us if this path looks bright to you, we have a spot for everybody who is interested. Also, don’t miss our holiday sale, 2 DVDs of the Path of the Horse shipped worldwide for the price of one, plus a download of the Path of the Horse eBook is included. See more here.
Last week, one of our community members in the Netherlands, Rebecca, went to visit other community members Inge and Sonja at their sanctuary in Germany. If you’ve been following the blog for some months, you might recall that Sonja and Inge were organizing the project to care for 5 horses of a woman, Katherina, while she recovers from a serious illness. Rebecca arrived just after Katherina’s horses were settled their new home. Here is Rebecca’s report.
My adventure to meet Sonja, Inge, their ‘Weideparadies’ and Katherina’s horses
This trip starts online, by chatting with Sonja who is looking for ways to raise money for Katherina’s horses. Do you remember reading about Katherina and her horses? Katherina is very ill and can’t take care of her horse-family of five for about year while she deals with her illness and hopefully gets better. Her horses live in a family group in natural surroundings and she was looking for physical help to take care of them. There turns out to not be enough help close to Katherina, but her horses can come and live with Inge and Sonja in their ‘weideparadies’ (German for Paddock Paradise). The only problem is Inge and Sonja don’t have enough hay to feed all the horses with these five extra mouths to feed every day. So Sonja is looking for idea’s to raise money to buy more hay and all good idea’s are still very welcome…
I am still ‘new’ to this path and trying to find my own way after adopting my horse a few months ago. I’ve watched my horse change from a lame ‘old’ written off competition horse with shoes and rugs and many health issues, into a beautiful self regulating healthy horse with bare feet and a lovely thick winter coat. And I know there is another step to be made for her and find her a more natural living place somewhere in a herd in a Paddock Paradise or similar setup.
So I was excited when Sonja invited me to come and visit their horses in Germany and see how they have created a great environment for the horses. I live in The Netherlands and it was a 430 km drive to Inge’s farm and well worth every minute spent in the car! It was lovely to experience the feeling of ‘no harm being done’ on the whole farm. And even thou I didn’t meet everybody they have a whole team of people helping out with the horses. It was quite a long drive and also not the best weather with snow and ice in places. But as soon as I arrived I was welcomed by Inge and Sonja with a nice warm cup of tea and as we talked the car trip faded into a distant memory and then it is time to meet the horses. The first horses I met are Katherina’s horses. They are friendly and curious and even thou they have only been transported here a few days ago, they run over to meet us when Inge calls them. Father Miro and mother Betty are calm but curious and after a quick scratch go back to grazing in between the snow. The three kids, Amira, Loulou and Layla, on the other hand stay curious about us for a while longer and point out all of the places where they might like to be scratched and investigate all pockets. They are so sure of their self and are lovely to watch and interact with. It was fun to try and take their picture as they kept following me and the interesting bag of camera stuff around and standing way too close for photos.
We also went on a tour of the three Paddock Paradise setups. Inge and Sonja now have three herds of horses (and a small herd of cows) and each herd has their own space. One herd contains Katherina’s horse-family of five, then there is a herd of three rescue horses with laminitis issues and then there is the main herd. The main herd is a colorful mixed group with all sorts of different horses and ponies and a donkey. Some of these ponies are rescued too, like a little wild born pony Svala who was captured and treated badly before living here and also Sonja and Inge’s own horses. ‘Here’ by the way is a beautiful Paddock Paradise containing mostly forest and then rocky tracks down to water and shelter. Mostly the horses stay up the hill in the 2 hectares of forest, but it was fun to watch them come down for a drink together and interact with Katherina’s horses on the way past.
Inge and Sonja (and the rest of their team) are lovely people who did a great thing for Katherina when she needed it most. And now is time to make sure they can keep on caring for the horses and people that appeared on their path. I know I wanted to help before visiting but I didn’t know how, I had some incomplete idea’s, that are now whole. Everyone has their own way of helping and their own talents to offer. So do what you can and talk about your incomplete idea’s, maybe someone else sees the other half. And for everyone who wants to help but doesn’t know how here is the bit of our plan we still need help with! We have put some time and effort into the idea of selling Christmas cards to help raise money for the horse family. But it is late in the season and time is running out! While I was there I took some pictures of the horses and we have turned some of these pictures and other pictures into cards to sell. When buying the cards people can choose how much hay they want to donate to the horse-family. In the card is a short text with a picture to explain that as a Christmas present so many kg’s of hay were donated to these horses. And we could use some help selling more of these cards locally. The best thing would be if some of you would take the time to contact us, find a professional printer to print some cards cheaply and sell them in your area. Maybe you can sell them at a Christmas market or in a shop or maybe online, however you like. Translating the card from German to English or Dutch is no problem. And if you would like to translate to another language be my guest. We have seen that the costs of sending the cards internationally is expensive and it is cheaper to look for a local printer. We can send digital copies to a few people to print. Isn’t it the original Christmas feeling to help someone who really needs it? I hope some of you are interested in helping in this way!