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  • Writer's pictureAnimal-Kind International

Helping & Saving Horses in Ghana

Our Partner Organization in Ghana, The Six Freedoms, @thesixfreedoms, has considerable experience rescuing horses in need, bringing them from the brink of death back to healthy, well-adjusted horses, and working with local vets, horse caretakers/grooms, and owners and collaborating with government, academics, and artists to raise visibility of the plight of Ghana's horses--and to take actions to help horses.

Now, based on several years of experience, having realized that a more strategic effort is required (vs. one-off rescues and awareness raising), the Six Freedoms is embarking on a new path, one that we believe will relieve so much pain and suffering and help save many horses in Ghana.

The Six Freedoms plans to form a few teams based in Accra, where most of the informal stables are located, the source of most of the problems (see pictures below for examples). Ideally, there would be 3 teams made up of a vet and 2 students (in fields related to veterinary medicine) or a vet and 2 grooms. These inspection teams would be on-call to respond to emergencies, but most importantly, would form relationships with horse caretakers at the stables and would provide regular health checks/inspections, catching emergencies before they happen.

As Ulla (the Six Freedoms' director) said, the teams will finally allow the Six Freedoms and their collaborators to "get ahold of the situation." Until the Six Freedoms got involved, Ulla heard from government officials that "they were not aware of so many neglected horses in this area."

Ulla said: "And there are! More and more take their horses from Accra to the beaches around Kokrobite to hustle people to take rides, most of them drug addicted and therefore hard to blame for their actions, and living with the horses in equally sad conditions."

In addition to inspecting stables, the teams would work with the caretakers giving advice and recommendations, and importantly, help to motivate them, make them feel pride in their work, and value their skills and the horses in their care.

With support (non-financial) from government authorities, the teams would have the authority to inspect stables, and to remove a horse to a safe place for additional vet care, if needed (government permission is also required to transport a horse from one district to another (e.g., Accra to Asafo).

Previously, the Six Freedoms had planned to purchase their own sanctuary. But as we've often seen, when an organization has a shelter, the focus (and funding) moves away from the community and is directed to the shelter. And that is not the way to help as many of Ghana's horses as possible.

Instead, the Six Freedoms now hopes to work with the Asafo team at Eva Lydeking's ranch, which has served as an interim sanctuary for rescued horses. The hope is that Asafo will be able to accept more rescued horses and have the structures in place to help them. To do this, Asafo will need an isolation unit and medications and supplies to equip it.

Horse ranch where the six freedoms intends to rescue and help and save more horses in Ghana.
The Asafo Akim Ranch where the Six Freedoms hopes to expand their rescue work

Horse ranch where the six freedoms intends to rescue and help and save more horses in Ghana
A spacious shelter for horses and donkeys at Asafo Akim

Horse ranch where the six freedoms intends to rescue and help and save more horses in Ghana
Asafo Akim has pasture land for horses to graze, plus Eva is a horse nutritionist and has recovered many horses with her nutrition expertise

Ulla told us, "It is with pure joy to now have joined Akim Asafo team. Now that we are with joint forces at one place, we have a united sense that this can push THE SIX FREEDOMS further! We only need some more budget to develop the structure a bit more what would allow us to take more horses in and to welcome human guests, to have guest horses for a recovery stay. Being at the highway between Accra and Kumasi KNUST campus with veterinarian medicine is a good location to set up seminars with the exchange of grooms and vet students."

The Akim Asafo ranch would also be a perfect location to have continued training for the inspection teams and to bring horse caretakers and others in the horse community for further training.


Unless you have seen it for yourself, it's difficult to believe the poor conditions in which horses in Ghana are kept and the abuses they suffer. When I was last in Ghana, Ulla and I visited several of the informal stables and I saw for myself some of the worst cases of neglect I have ever seen. Here are a few pictures of the informal stables we visited.

Horses in Ghana are kept in poor conditions without exercise or food and water.
Horses are tied tightly with no exercise, food or water
Horses in Ghana are kept in poor conditions without adequate care.
Horses are tied up tightly and receive very little, if any attention
Horses in Ghana are kept in poor conditions receiving no care.
Ulla checks the hooves of one of the horses
Horses in Ghana are kept in poor conditions.
Maintaining a good relationship with the horse caretakers is important

Horses in Ghana are kept in poor conditions without adquate care.
A young horse in poor condition, not receiving the nutrition and care he needs to thrive
Horses in Ghana at informal stables receive no care and need to be rescued.
At this informal stable, there were many horses, all in very poor condtion, neglected and worse
Horses in Ghana are kept in very poor conditions on bare ground with no pasture.
A very large stable in the center of the city with no food, the horses are tied all day to a single spot
Horses in Ghana are kept in poor conditions and suffer physically and mentally.
This stable has over 50 horses, all kept in poor conditions, all in bad shape physically and mentally

Horses in Ghana are kept in very poor conditions without food and water.
Horse at an informal stable, tied up, no food, no water

To support the Six Freedoms in their efforts to save, help, and when needed, rescue, more horses, please designate them for your donation. Your donations go far in Ghana, where so many horses can be helped for so little (as compared to the US, Europe, and similar regions).


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