Meet the herd at Weideparadies in Germany
Weideparadies is a paradise in Germany where a horse can be a horse. At Weideparadies horses, donkeys, cows, sheep, dogs and humans live in harmony because the humans have chosen to use their time, talents and other resources to provide the best environment possible to give all of the animals lives with dignity and respect. The animals live together in herds, and in families when possible.
Here is a recent article from a local German paper about Weideparadies (translated). See the original article in German here: Weideparadies (German)
Paradise for four-leggeds
To make the world a little bit better for humans and animals, that’s what Inge Hoffkamp wants to do.
For two years she has run a sanctuary called “Weideparadies” at Hof Heisenstein in Holzheim, Germany.
Along with friend, Sonja Thiel she had the idea to create a place where horses could live according to the paddock paradise concept. At the farm of Peter Lachenmeier she found the opportunity.
Inge Hoffkamp was born in Baden–Wüttemberg and moved to Haunetal 10 years ago.
The 46 year old worked as a veterinary assistant and studied horse psychology and also was a housemother in an anthroposophical community.
18 horses – 16 of them are not her own as well as a donkey, 5 cows, sheep and dogs live at Hof Heisenstein. The paddock paradise area spans 5 hectares guiding the horses over different ground materials and through the forest. “We were inspired by the paddock paradise concept of Jaime Jackson, an American farrier,” said Hoffkamp. ” Horses need movement on different types of ground and a natural diversity of food. That’s why species-appropriate horse-keeping is nearly impossible in Germany.” Many horses get laminitis says the manager of “Weideparadies”. They regularly offer workshops on hoof care and healthy hooves, which are attended by people from all over Germany.
Owners of the other herd members, from an Arabian horse to a wild Icelandic pony come from Hamburg, Bremen, Essen and from Switzerland. “We can not take any more horses,” says Hoffkamp “we want to work on the quality not the quantity.” Hoffkamp also provides a home for animals that are entrusted in her care from the animal rescue.
Inge Hoffkamp points out a an important part of the concept. “ None of our animals get used. It means we do not work with them.” The horses don’t get ridden, the cows don’t get slaughtered, and only the wool of the sheep gets used.
Hoffkamp stopped riding 5 years ago. “Studies show that it is harmful for horses.” the 46 years old says. She does not want to proselytize to anybody and she knows that she upsets a great number of pleasure and sport riders. But she cannot reconcile horse sports with her own conscience anymore.
Students from Witzenhausen, Göttingen and Holland are regular guests in Holzheim to observe the herd behavior of the “free” animals.
In the future Hoffkamp wants to integrate the cows into the horse herd. “Here true friendships arise.”
The 46 year old is certain.
Weideparadies is the newest sanctuary to join OurHorses in changing the world for horses and humans. If you have been following OurHorses for some time, you may remember reading about Sonja Thiel at Weideparadies organizing the rescue of 5 horses whose owner, Katherina, had become seriously ill. Sonja raised funds, arranged transportation and now looks after the care of the father and mother horses Miro and Betty and their family of 3 children Amira, Loulou and Layla. These horses share a strong family bond, rare to find in today’s horse world. Sonja says the horses are so close, when they sleep one stays on guard and the rest lie down, often so that each one is touching another.
Here is a video clip of the horse family and humans enjoying each other in the snow.
To ensure they can continue to live free from harm, the herd needs people interested in preserving this beauty in the world. Sponsors are invited to donate to their care and to visit and feel this loving bond. You can donate here via PayPal and all funds raised will go to support Miro, Betty and the kids. To contact Sonja directly for more information email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org . More information about Weideparadies can be found at www.weideparadies.de .