Horse Sanctuary Rîșcova

In the autumn of 2018, after their previous owner was unable to afford their upkeep, four healthy and capable horses were headed to the slaughterhouse. In light of this news, Valeriu Istrati and Kristina Jakot felt they had no choice but to rescue those horses. This put the two young dreamers on the road with 4 horses, until they were warmly welcomed by the EcoVillage Moldova community in the village of Rîșcova, Criuleni district.

Short-term, the Horse Sanctuary aims to create an environment where the horses can live a happy, fulfilled life, having at their disposal a stable, an arena for safe interaction and practicing natural horsemanship, and a pasture.

The long-term goal is to create a foundation for promoting natural horsemanship and better care for horses in general, so that other horses in Moldova don’t end up at the slaughterhouse, like the fate almost bestowed upon the Sanctuary’s four horses.

The EcoVillage Moldova community in Rîșcova made the horses and their carers really feel at home. With extra support provided by EcoVisio, the Horse Sanctuary team was able to build a big part of the infrastructure needed, learning more along the way about how to create a safe and happy environment for horses, with a long-term mission to promote natural horsemanship across the country.

The development of the Horse Sanctuary was also possible through the kind and generous support of those who donated through the GlobalGiving platform, as well as the many volunteers, supporters, friends and family who lended a helping hand when most needed.

Thanks to all these wonderful contributions, the Horse Sanctuary now has a stable, a small winter paddock and an arena.

The team is currently working on gathering the funds to finish and furnish the rooms above the stable for hosting volunteers and visitors and to add the last major part of the infrastructure - fencing approx. 2 hectares of pasture for the horses to finally be able to roam free, as they naturally should.

Since the Horse Sanctuary Rîșcova was established, it has organized close to 60 events, meetings, workshops, seminars, group visits and even a themed festival in 2019.

Like most things in 2020, the Horse Sanctuary’s activity was also impacted by the global pandemic. This came at an already challenging time, due to one of the country's longest droughts. But the team remained committed to their mission, knowing that the power of community is even stronger in these times of hardship, be it in online or offline form. 

In September 2020, Valeriu adapted to the new context by going on a month-long expedition across the country with the four horses, in search of the perfect pasture for them to graze. This trip was for and about the horses, who in their entire lives had only seen a few streets from the same two villages and the same grass field in Rîșcova. After 3 and a half weeks, they found the ideal pasture on the banks of Dniester river - 3 rivers downstream from home - full of lush green grass that our four travelling horses were delighted to graze.

At the end of September, the Horse Sanctuary launched their second online crowdfunding campaign (link further below), with a goal to raise $18,000 for a long-term nationwide natural horsemanship project. With the help of natural horsemanship experts from Europe and the US, Valeriu plans to train at least 10 local practitioners as multipliers, in order to improve the lives of 100 horses from Moldovan villages and their owners over the next 2 years.

This will build a small community of natural horsemanship practitioners in Moldova, providing a healthy alternative for horse communication and education. On a smaller scale, these individual communities can become pillars of resilience for the villages.

If you want to help turn this project into reality, you can make a donation via GlobalGiving


If you are interested in our cause, make sure to follow Horse Sanctuary Rîșcova on Facebook and as travel restrictions ease, come pay us a visit at EcoVillage Moldova! Agnes, Casper, Yuki and Wise (and maybe some new horses as well) will be happy to meet you!

Have some ideas for our little Horse Sanctuary? 
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