The move of the Sanctuary Equidad to the new estate in the mountains of Córdoba has been delayed. While we were already able to welcome our first horses, health authorities are putting obstacles in our way.
We have been flat out working for months to move our animals to their new home as soon as possible. In addition to the expansion of the farm and logistical challenges regarding the move, difficulties are arising. These include staff and vets falling ill with COVID-19, vehicle breakdowns and weeks of rain. Among other things, this led to our team on the ground being completely cut off by the floods and thus trapped in the area. There is no way through, not even with an off-road vehicle, which makes life difficult for us.
Great uncertainty and horse thefts
But that’s not all! The situation is becoming more and more dicey and dangerous for our animals and the workers every day. In recent weeks there have been thefts of animals by armed people. As we often act as a transit centre for animal confiscations in the region, our relationship with the police is fortunately good. Luckily, we have been able to recover most of the horses that were stolen during various robberies. However, we are tirelessly searching for three more horses. Every day, we find cut fences at the back of the farm and receive information when we are supposed to be robbed again.
Argentina has always been a country where a large part of the population is impoverished. As a result, the moral hurdles are small when it comes to bare survival. The measures taken as a result of Covid-19 made it impossible for many people to work. This in a country where 40 per cent of families can barely afford their dinner and nothing else on a day’s wage.
Authorities put unnecessary obstacles in our way
One thing is clear: We absolutely have to move our sanctuary as quickly as possible. But after the extraordinarily bad weather, which put a spanner in the works, the authorities are now putting obstacles in our way. They are now demanding blood tests and vaccinations for all horses before they can be moved to the new sanctuary, which is only 60 kilometres (!) away from the current one. At the time of printing this magazine issue, the vaccinations have started so that we can finally start the move in a few weeks, after all the papers are signed by the health authorities.
In the time, we have hired two security guards, because we don’t want to risk any human or animal life. At the new sanctuary, we will be far away from any cities. The only access to the new Equidad is highly controlled, so that humans and animals will be safe in the future.
The joy of Ada, High and Shana is a motivation
All these difficulties cannot dampen our optimism. Moreover, we are motivated by the joy of knowing that the horses we have already been able to bring to the new sanctuary are completely happy and free! Ada, High and her daughter Shana were the first horses to have the honour of setting foot on our new grounds. We are very touched to see them blossom, because we know too well what they had to endure in the past.
A sad story with a happy ending
High is a thoroughbred Arabian mare. She belonged to a well-known breeder for whom horses are nothing but a commodity. For him, High was like a “hen that lays golden eggs”: As a breeding mare, it was her job to have foals, which were then sold one by one. A severe foot infection was to seal her fate, because due to her already advanced age, High was probably no longer able to give birth. She thus became a burden for the owner, and her treatment and the necessary veterinary costs would have exceeded the expected income. In fact, he left her to die in a box without water or food. Alerted by a vet, we were able to just come in time to buy the mare from the owner, who was all too happy to leave her to us.
A year later we had a wonderful surprise: High gave birth to a beautiful filly, who we named Shana. Mother and daughter have been living happily ever since, without the danger of being separated. For us, this is the most beautiful reward!
Ada, our queen of the mountains
The white mare Ada with her black mane is one of the animals we rescued from hell during our big rescue operation in Salta, in the north of Argentina. She arrived in a terrible condition. Due to an injury on one of her hoofs, she could hardly stand on it. She was badly emaciated and her lacklustre coat had marks from hoof kicks and bites inflicted by other horses. This is probably the reason why, despite her improved health, she is still not very trusting, neither towards other horses nor towards humans. Ada needs her freedom and loves the outdoors – now she can run free in her new environment with her mane blowing in the wind!
Immediately after her arrival, she explored every corner of the 312-hectare estate and sampled the different pastures with her soft mouth. A true queen of the mountains! How nice for us to see her like this, protected from those who hurt her in the past.
Until the herd is complete again
We deliberately chose the three mares Ada, High and Shana to inaugurate the new sanctuary: High needed extra attention and Ada, it seems, had been spied on by horse thieves at the old sanctuary. So we had to move her as a priority. In the meantime, we have continued to remodel the new sanctuary so that all the other animals can join us as soon as possible and enjoy their paradise.
With our new trailer, we can transport the animals ourselves and at a pace depending their condition. This way we are sure that their journey goes well – their welfare is our top priority. In the meantime, we are putting the finishing touches to their future paradise at the Sanctuary Equidad.
- Our project page “Sanctuary Equidad”
- This article was first published in the Journal Franz Weber 136. You can find the PDF version of all previous magazines here.
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