MEET THE HORSES

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Tiffany

Birth:      2012

Parents: Laila and roaming stallion

Galapagos Horse Friends rescued Tiffany in 2012 an realized that she had a genetic issue with her left hind leg, probably the reason she had been abandoned. She often can’t bend her joints, but when she keeps walking it gets loose and it’s not a big problem. We are thankful that she is safe at our place instead of being used for transportation. At the age of 2, due to uncontrolled breeding, Tiffany gave birth to her first colt Picasso who is also in our herd.

Tiffany is one of our most sensitive horses who has a special character. She likes to test out our boundaries until we take leadership over her. Once we show her the rules, she turns out to be the sweetest soul ever. She is one of our best horses in Horse Guided Empowerment ® sessions and because of her high sense of sensibility, she is the best mirror of people’s emotions.

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Soleil

 

Birth:      March 16, 2015

Parents: Pepita and roaming stallion

With his bright blond mane and warm disposition, Soleil (French for sun) well deserve his name.

Like our other foals, he came totally unexpected - we had thought that his young mother Pepita was just well fed! 

The birth of Soleil who was horse number 6 in the herd, once more a consequence of uncontrolled impregnation by roaming stallions became a call to action to launch GALAPAGOS HORSE FRIENDS to help protect, rehabilitate and care for the horses on the islands. 

Soleil spent his first month of life with his mother Pepita. Having his mother for only company made him very protective of her with behaviors which in time became unacceptable. Aged 7 months however, Soleil was weaned, taken to a different pasture and left under the care of two larger foals, who solved the problem by socializing him playfully as would have happened in nature. After being gelded at 15 months old, together with Picasso and Filou, Soleil and his friends were reunited with the herd. Their reaction upon seeing their mother again was very emotional and heartwarming.

Soleil is many visitors’ favorite horse. His sunny disposition and positive response to natural horsemanship games inspire them to work with him.

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Rainbow

Birth:      2018

Parents: Blueberry and roaming stallion

Rainbow was born on a road side in Santa Rosa on Santa Cruz. We rescued him from a life of drudgery to allow him to live a more natural life within a herd

A main challenge was to get him used to a halter and lead rope, but with patience, love and games, he learned to trust us and walk on a lead. He is still growing and fighting for leadership. He can also become very protective of his little brother and his best friend. Rainbow is still learning to trust, but he likes to come for a scratch and shows a lot of curiosity when new visitors arrive at the farm

Because there is no equine veterinarian on the islands, Rainbow was castrated in 2019 by a vet that had to be flown from mainland Ecuador. Rainbow was lucky not to catch tetanus, unlike one of his brothers, who did not survive his castration. As horses are not routinely vaccinated against tetanus in Ecuador, we had to import vaccines from the USA.

If you ever come to the Galapagos , please come up and meet Rainbow, who was once unwanted but grew up to become one of the biggest and most beautiful horses of our project.

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Picasso

Birth:      August 25, 2015

Parents: Tiffany and roaming stallion

When Picasso was born, he became horse number 5 in the herd.

Our pastureland was then very small and at the time, neither hay nor special horse food were available for purchase on the Galapagos Islands. For this reason, it became our daily work to cut, with a machete, huge amounts of elephant grass, which we carried on our shoulders to our horses’ feeding place. We also bought oats and ground corn as a supplement and we built a shelter with a roof to collect rainwater for the horses to drink. When rains failed, we carried water for them in buckets. Providing horses with water was then and remains very unusual on the islands. The usual practice in the area is just to leave horses tied up somewhere without providing them with any water.

Picasso was weaned at seven months and castrated in May 2016. He has grown to be a wonderful gentle giant, who has many friends in the herd  and takes very well to Natural Horsemanship training.

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Pepita

Birth:        October 25, 2012

Parents:    Laila and roaming stallion

Offspring: Soleil

Pepita was born at the farm and has grown into one of the happiest and most beautiful horses on Santa Cruz. Living in peace and freedom, she is the most caring of the three leading horses in our herd. 

Pepita is very connected to gelding Picasso who is the foal of her sister Tiffany. She also cares about her mother and loves her baby sister Jolie. Our herd is a big family and most of the horses are relatives of one another.

Pepita always makes sure to keep the herd together and if any horse is missing, she will run after them and lead them back to the fold.

If you spend time with her, Pepita will invite you to join her natural world until there is no more difference between equine and human; just two sentient beings who share a connection of mutual trust and respect. With her caring nature, she gives every visitor to the farm their deepest, most joyful moments.

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Orfeu

Birth:     Unknown

Parents: Unknown

Orfeu was roaming freely in the village around the farm the first time we saw him. After being used as a pack horse from a very young age, Orfeu had been ridden unshod on lava rocks to hunt for feral goats. After a while, this provoked deep cracks into his hooves, infecting a hind foot and provoking a severe infection. His former owner then threw him out into the street.  He was on the next culling list of horses shot as “useless”. Because he needed help, Orfeu was taken into the fold and we were reassured that, because he was gelded, he would not impregnate our mares.

To start with, Orfeu was so vulnerable and unwell and needed lots of attention away from the herd. Eventually, the huge abscesses on his foot shrunk considerably and the infection subsided. During this time receiving treatment, Orfeu socialized with the three-legged mule Chaplin and with a pregnant Tigra.  He is now very protective of Etoile, her filly.

Orfeu took two years to return to full health. He is no longer lame or in pain. He is now a happy, healthy horse who is well integrated into the herd. Orfeu is also very friendly and calm in his interactions with humans: a perfect horse for community activities, such as coaching through Horse Guided Empowerment. Orfeu’s story demonstrates the power of healing, compassion and empathy to our visitors, clients and the community.

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Laila

Birth:      cerca 1998

Parents:  unknown

Offspring: Tifany, Pepita, Filou,                            Jolie, Bounty

Galapagos Horse Friends rescued Tiffany in 2012 an realized that she had a genetic issue with her left hind leg, probably the reason she had been abandoned. She often can’t bend her joints, but when she keeps walking it gets loose and it’s not a big problem. We are thankful that she is safe at our place instead of being used for transportation. At the age of 2, due to uncontrolled breeding, Tiffany gave birth to her first colt Picasso who is also in our herd.

Tiffany is one of our most sensitive horses who has a special character. She likes to test out our boundaries until we take leadership over her. Once we show her the rules, she turns out to be the sweetest soul ever. She is one of our best horses in Horse Guided Empowerment ® sessions and because of her high sense of sensibility, she is the best mirror of people’s emotions.

Filou

Birth:      24 August 2014

Parents: Laila and roaming stallion

Filou is one of our smaller horses. Very relaxed and confident with humans, he is the perfect horse for our Horse Guided Empowerment ® sessions. In the herd, Filou is a lower ranking gelding, but he shows authority to the younger horses and helps to organize the herd if necessary. He has become a very socially connected horse, who feels safe, surrounded by his herd. He sometimes has a little confrontation with his half-brother Picasso, possibly to discuss their ranking order.

After his castration, Filou had a very bad infection which did not heal for many months, and we had to fly in a veterinarian. He is now a happy and healthy horse.

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Jolie Michele

Birth:      April 23 2019

Parents: Laila and roaming stallion

Jolie was born into the herd, the last foal of Laila, our first rescue mare. The stallion who impregnated her dam is unknown, but it is common for mare to be impregnated by roaming stallions in the Galapagos: loose or abandoned stallions copulate through weak barbed wire fencing or break into pastures, even if they hurt themselves.

Jolie (pretty in French) has a lopsided heart shape on her forehead, hence her name. Growing up in a herd, surrounded only by respectful humans, Jolie learnt to socialize with us at only two months old when she decided by herself to come close and get a friendly scratch under her chin. Thanks to GHF, Jolie has grown up without any health issues or fears. She is always one of the first horses to come and greet visitors. She then stays around and makes everyone happy by her presence.

Grooming, leading, lifting hooves, practicing natural horsemanship games, going backwards, nothing is a problem for Jolie, because she has built a bond of trust in us humans, which is the greatest gift a prey animal can ever give.

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Esperanza

Birth:      unknown

Parents:  unknown

The mare Esperanza is not part of our project, but our project saved her life. A local farmer found her when she was still a foal and decided to keep her as a pet for his son. This is something, which has become increasingly popular on the islands.

Esperanza’s mother and a group of other horses had been shot, so, the foal was left behind and rescued. One day, her human family asked for our help, because the young filly had suffered life threatening injuries. She had been left, tied up by the side of the road. This makes mares very vulnerable so, when she was attacked by two loose stallions, she was powerless. While vainly trying to flee, she hurt herself by becoming entangled in her plastic rope, which was as sharp as a knife. Esperanza was badly hurt, with deep wounds covering her legs, and her eyelids shut and completely swollen.

When we arrived, we found that Esperanza could not stand or stay up on her own. It took three men to lift her up. Her caregiver made her a supporting frame of bamboo posts, so she could be upstanding to feed, drink and digest. A horse who lies down for too long is unable to digest and promptly dies. 

We contacted our mainland vet and treated her with injections of antibiotics, pain killers and vitamins for 10 days. Thanks to a big donation towards balanced food and medicines provided by our former volunteers, we were able to provide this treatment to Esperanza at no cost to their owner. On day 3 of her treatment, Esperanza managed to stand on her own. She was fighting for her life and day by day, she became stronger.  The healing process was long but luckily, nobody gave up on her. It was heartwarming to see how well she healed. She improved so much that eventually, she recovered her young horse spirit. Now, although alone, she leads a happy and relaxed life on her pasture.

Very soon she will give birth. Her foal will be the result of yet another uncontrolled breeding.

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Caramelo’s  birth was a highlight for our volunteers: their experience of his first weeks of life became the most beautiful connection to animals they ever had.

Caramelo became a young stallion with a playful yet dominant temperament. He has learned a lot about boundaries from the older horses of our herd. He has a particularly strong bond to his older brother Rainbow and to his mother Blueberry.

In September 2021, we retained a veterinary from mainland Ecuador to geld Caramelo. Now he continues to grow and live as a member of our herd. He has a kind, patient and very relaxed spirit, and children really love him because of his gentle and playful attitude.

Caramelo

Birth:      August 25, 2019

Parents: Blueberry and

               roaming stallion

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Destiny

Birth:      unknown

Parents: unknown

In November 2018, we received an emergency call from a friend alerting us that a horse on Santa Cruz was seriously in trouble. Apparently, we were only people who could help.

At around 7am, we went to the place. The horse, which had been tightly tied to a huge rock, had become completely entangled in her ropes. She was lying on the ground, her head was twisted and close to her hind leg. She was covered in wounds, with mud and flies all over her body. Her eyes were shut. She did not move anymore and was ready to die. On the day preceding our arrival, somebody from the neighborhood had realized that the horse was still breathing, he untied her and immediately gave her water to drink. This man saved her life, but did not want to do more for her.

With our two volunteers, we started immediately to clean her wounds and injected her with antibiotics and vitamins. Destiny received everything we could do for her: love, best treatments and food supplements until she became stronger. Little by little, her huge wounds healed and Destiny became a beautiful young horse. Her spirit grew as much as her trust and revealed the wonderful living being she is. In September 2019, Destiny being ready, we brought her to the farm to meet the herd.  At first, we kept her in a different pasture, together with one of our older mares, until we brought them all together. Destiny has now become a healthy and very bright young mare who is well very connected with other horses in the herd and thanks to our work,, lives the life she deserves!

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Chaplin the mule belonged to a farmer in Santa Rosa. When he was a foal, he mysteriously lost his left hind foot while he still lived with his mother, a mare who had been overloaded all her life as a pack animal and who died at a young age. The pastures where Chaplin was left all by himself were next to the place where our herd lived in 2017. One day, Chaplin made his way to us through the barbed wire fencing. With only three legs, Chaplin was no longer wanted by his owner, and so he stayed with us.

Chaplin became our special needs herd member and, as he is not used as a pack animal, he is possibly the happiest mule on the Islands. Because he is not castrated, Chaplin cannot live among our herd of horses, so he lives a very relaxed life with the director of Galapagos Horse Friends.

Chaplin

Birth:      2014

Parents: unknown

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Bounty

Birth:      30 January 2016

Parents:  Laila and roaming stallion

When he was born, Bounty’s coat was the color of ginger! It then changed into a very light creamy tone, typical of a Palomino.

He grew up surrounded by our herd and has never had any serious health issues. He was gelded at the age of 15 months by a group of veterinarian students from the U.S. He has a very calm nature and does not suffer from any fear. Bounty is one of our gentlest horse. He is always happy to collaborate with us during our Horse Guided Empowerment sessions with visitors or children, and is one of the first horses to say hello to visitors who come into our pastures. People feel attracted to him because of his beautiful color. Children have a lot of fun leading him in circles around the orange cones and walking him wherever they like to go. Bounty follows us with trust and accepts us as if we were a part of his herd.

Another important activity with Bounty is grooming and cleaning. As rolling in mud is part of his bath, we spend a lot of time cleaning him to see his beautiful cream coat once again. This is a nice and friendly way to get close to him, especially for children or new volunteers.

Like almost all our horses, Bounty has never been trained for riding: he enjoys the freedom of not owing us anything. His best friend is our young mare Destiny. Wherever we see Bounty in the pastures, he is close to Destiny and taking care of her, proof that horses are social animals and need company.

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Blueberry

Birth:      December 2015

Parents: unknown

Offspring: a colt now deceased,

                  Rainbow and Caramelo

Abandoned Blueberry was running loose in the streets of Santa Rosa in Galapagos with a few other horses and her two colts, both born at the side of the road. They were all due to be culled by the National Park.

Blueberry, Rainbow and his brother came to us in October 2018, just as we were able to rent a larger farm with enough pasture for more horses. At first, she would not allow anyone to approach her closer than 20m: she escaped whenever she saw a rope and was highly anxious. After a while, Blueberry and her little ones began to make friends with our herd, where she achieved a high-ranking position thanks to her intelligence, strength and leadership skills. She can be seen educating other horses and even jumping in to stop fights. 

Given the time and peace she needed, she became more curious about humans and she now stays relaxed while we are around her. Sometimes, she even nuzzles against us as we groom her and lift her four hooves.

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Etoile means star in French and it is what she is: the little star of our herd.

She was very small and underweight, like her young mother, who is still herself a filly. However, she is now growing up safe and happy. Although very shy to begin with, she has gained trust and is now our friendliest foal. She acts as a magnet for all our new visitors. 

Now 11 months old, while still playful and full of bounce, Etoile, walks with a halter and lead rope and she lifts all her four hooves for cleaning. Being groomed is absolutely her favorite activity and when she wants more of it, she follow us around. Even now as a filly, she offers us glimpses of the graceful and magnificent adult horse she will be.

The gift of her trust is such a precious gift. We must do everything in our power to reward and respect that trust.

Come to our farm and meet her, for you are sure to fall in love.

Etoile

Birth:      30 April 2021

Parents: Tigra and roaming stallion