Horses on the Galapagos Islands need help

Galapagos Horse Friends (GHF), is dedicated to helping injured, abused and abandoned horses on the main island of Galapagos, Santa Cruz, live a well-cared-for life. Horses are given a second chance at healthy human-horse relationships through the Horse Guided Empowerment® program, an innovative method to facilitate personal development interventions for people with a herd of horses.

There are hundreds of abandoned horses on the Galapagos Islands. While the archipelago is known for its biodiversity and conservation efforts, horses as non-endemic species are left out. Arriving with the first settlers, the horses reproduced without control and are now officially an unwanted plague.

But one woman is making a difference on the islands and today, we can help her:
Claudia Moreno, founder of Galapagos Horse Friends, is an expat from Germany and lifelong horse-lover who lives on the islands for over 20 years. She is currently taking care of 16 rescued horses, and she is also the only emergency contact for injured or abandoned horses on the Santa Cruz island.

A Call for Support

Currently, the organisation leases a piece of land where the big herd of rescued horses is roaming around happily. Unfortunately, pasture land is scarce on the island. The rent is very expensive.
GHF is funded by private sponsors and through retreat guests but is looking for sustainable, ongoing support. Due to the pandemic, the decrease in tourism and funding has exacerbated the difficult situation. With high rent and maintenance fees, Claudia and the herd are facing eviction. 

Help us support the herd and other horses who deserve a second chance at a happy life.

The most sustainable way to do this is purchasing a forever home for the herd - where we can host retreat guests, visitors and will never be threatened by eviction. Land is scarce on the tiny island, but finally, we have found a suitable farm with pasture all year round. Owning that land would save our horses and many more from their cruel fate.

With your support, Galapagos Horse Friends will continue to…

Provide emergency care for injured horses 
Care for the rescue herd of 15+ horses
Establish an equine specialized veterinarian program with Worldwide Veterinarian Service (WVS) so that all the horses on the island can receive the care that they desperately need.
Promote animal welfare through community education programs
Horse Guided Empowerment® sessions: provide coaching, deep personal change and nature connection in mindfulness retreats and become an attraction in recreative tourism
Develop a Horse Adoption Program and maintaining positive relationships between local residents and horses

Let's buy the farm! We don't need all the money at once. Claudia´s herd has been accepted to move to the new farm under a rent-to-buy contract. Every dollar you can spare is helping the rescue horses on Santa Cruz island.

“We are making a difference! Younger generations are now developing a new understanding of respect to nature and animals. We educate people to prevent animal suffering and violence. We are now ready to work with WVS to prevent uncontrolled breeding and abandonment.” Claudia, Founder of Galapagos Horse Friends

The History of Galapagos Horse Friends

Galapagos Horse Friends (GHF) is situated in Santa Rosa, in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. It all started in 2015 when Claudia Moreno rescued the first 2 horses who were roaming around close to her home, hungry, injured and abandoned.
Now, 6 years later, GHF cares for 16 horses and is in the process of becoming an official Galapagos-registered foundation. Claudia works permanently on the farm with the horses. Her team consists of many volunteers and a psychologist; they both are certified in Horse Guided Empowerment® by MarzMethod, an innovative method to facilitate personal development interventions for people with a herd of horses. Claudia was invited to pursue the certification to create a sustainable income for her herd through hosting personal development retreats.

Claudia is convinced that her efforts will reduce the number of suffering horses as it did for the young horse Destiny: 

Destiny’s Story, by Claudia Moreno

One very early morning in November of 2018, I received a phone call from a friend and animal-lover, telling me that there was a young horse who had gotten seriously in trouble. She said that I was the only person on the whole island who could likely help this poor horse. The young horse had been found the day before, completely trapped in ropes, and was tied up to a huge rock. When we visited her, she was lying on the ground, her head was twisted and close to her hind leg. Covered with wounds, mud and flies all over her body, her eyes were closed and she did not move - she seemed ready to die. Luckily, a neighbor woman had untied her and given her water, but was unable to do more for the young horse.
When I saw Destiny for the first time, I saw a totally broken, young filly. She stood at the corner of a small piece of land, apathetic. After saying hello to her, I slowly walked her to my house. She followed me like a robot, not like a young horse full of spirit. My two volunteers were already waiting for us. We cleaned all of her wounds.
Destiny, despite her young age, had been used as a pack animal. Destiny received antibiotics, vitamins, lots of love, best treats and food supplements until she became stronger. Little by little her huge wounds were healing and Destiny became a beautiful young horse.
Her spirit grew as much as her trust and we realized what a wonderful horse we had found. 
In September 2019, Destiny was ready to meet our herd on the farm, and we brought her over. The first time was hard for Destiny, she had probably never lived in a herd before. Many foals on the islands get born beside the road, where the mares are tied up after their work as a pack animal.

Today, Destiny is one of our best therapy horses. Our guests love her and she connects to people with traumatic life experiences. There is a silent understanding from soul to soul and we are grateful to take part in their mutual healing. 

Please make a donation to support horses like Destiny live out their lives with love, care and the chance to be therapy horses for others.

Our Partners

Christina Marz, the founder Horse Guided Empowerment®
PanAnimalia Galapagos, a non-profit vet organization.
The International Animal Welfare Association: raises funds to support projects that help animals




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