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  • Writer's pictureAnimal-Kind International

The Six Freedoms-Ghana: helping horses through the AKI Grant Program

The Six Freedoms' (previously HorseSafety) grant project, "Welfare for neglected horses in Accra and beyond, raising awareness and providing education for grooms and horse owners," focused on taking care of their 11 rescued horses:

7 horses at Kingdomstable in Kokrobite

  • 3 mares: Lady, Saza, and Anas

  • 3 stallions: Arrowboy, Shoeshine, Boga

  • 1 colt: Pablo

rescued horse

rescued horse

Rescued horse

4 horses at Ranch Eva Lydeking in Akim Asafo

  • Mare Goodnews, 2.5 years old (rescued 2020 with her mother Queen from Ridge Hospital area, Accra)

  • Medina Spirit, Queen's colt, one year old

  • Mr Key, a gelding, about 8 years old (rescued at the race course in 2021)

  • 8 month old filly, Sunrise

rescued horses
Goodnews (left) and Medina

rescued horses
Mr Key (white) and Sunrise (front)

rescued horses
Mr Key and Goodnews

The Six Freedoms lost 2 of their rescued horses:

rescued horse

rescued horse

The grant from AKI provided food so that the 11 horses had a well balanced diet based on nutritionist Eva Lydeking's recommendations; they were regularly de-wormed; treated with insect repellent mainly against flies and mozzies; and had regular hoof filing.


So many notable things happened during the grant project time period, but one of the most positive, and something that gives us great hope for the future of Ghana's horses, occurred after January 4, 2023, when a horse race took place at Labadi Beach in front of the Polo Beach Club. Ulla (Director, The Six Freedoms) went to the beach, where she planned to photograph the horses and to follow up with participants about some of the horses she knew would be there.

Ulla told us, "The whole event turned out to be a real nightmare for the horses and jockeys alike: there seemed to be very little regulation at the beach, the race took place next to the crowd, horses waited next to loud speakers, they were tied tight with head up, most of them with saddle sores, malnourished and injuries."

horse races
Horse race at Labadi Beach

As you can imagine, the situation had to be handled very carefully. But the whole scene was so upsetting that after the race, Ulla, for the first time, wrote some comments about her concerns on a Whatsapp platform for an inner circle of horse owners in Accra.

It turned out that many of the Whatsapp group members agreed with Ulla's views. There was broad consensus that a complete restructuring of the race course regulations was needed. They also discussed plans for seminars for the jockeys to discuss, among other topics, welfare of the horses and training methods. One member of the forum even asked Ulla to collaborate on the seminars.

Ulla invited Eva Ippendorf, The Six Freedoms' natural horsemanship trainer, to attend the 1st meeting. They all shared ideas about needed improvements, and improving horse welfare was a major focus.

Next, on January 21, Eva attended the 1st workshop at the Accra Turf Club, where she was one of five instructors for a group of about 25 jockeys. While the other instructors focused on training, gear, and general guidelines, Eva emphasized the basics of horse welfare and held her seminar where some of the horses live at the race course so that participants could clearly see the welfare issues.

horse welfare seminar
Workshop for jockeys-for Eva's seminar, she brought the jockeys to the horses so they could clearly see the animal welfare issues

animal welfare seminar
Natural horsemanship trainer, Eva, discusses horse care and welfare with the jockeys

One of the horses at the Accra Turf Club; many of the horses are in very poor condition

The feedback was very positive, jockeys and members really appreciated Eva's seminar and showed just how interested they were by asking many questions during and after it. All jockeys received a certificate. More seminars and an exam are being planned.

Moreover, Eva was invited to join the next race and be one of those responsible for examining the horses’ condition before the race. Although The Six Freedoms knows that it will take more than seminars to impact the horses’ welfare, but being asked by the horse community to work together, and getting their positive feedback, is a big step forward.


We asked Ulla what she felt were the main positive results of the grant project:

"We are more and more connected to other horse communities; we created a feeding Whatsapp platform (mentored by animal nutritionist Eva Lydeking); I held a lecture for the Veterinary Medicine students at KNUST about horse care and welfare; we started a natural horsemanship training with our trainer Eva Ippendorf at the Osu Police Stables in collaboration with 2 jockeys; we immensely expanded our visibility by performing at an art event at the German Embassy in December; and as mentioned, most recently, had our first animal welfare seminar for the Accra Turf Club, taught by Eva Ippendorf.

The main positive impact is our ability to be more of a positive example than a direct judge. This is only possible thanks to the grant that allows us the consistent care we can provide over a long period of time now. It makes healing of our horses possible and lets other people see the sincerity of the work we do. The horse community notices how our horses are doing better than others and this makes us a positive role model. Especially well known horses like Mr Key, who recovered in our care, had a very positive effect on our relationship with the communities.

We operate in a very patriarchal, traditional society which makes humble action and listening very crucial. We very much believe that trust and understanding is the only way forward, that nothing is more powerful if people seek us out instead of us going to them as judges.

We also learned that our interdisciplinary approach is very much appreciated. This was reflected at the art event for the German embassy. People enjoyed our performance and showed real interest in what we do and that we look at horse welfare as a phenomenon that is connected to human health and the environment, the One Health approach."

The Six Freedoms at the German Embassy: Ulla uses different art forms in her animal welfare work

show with horses
Dance, photography, painting, music-all were part of The Six Freedoms' performance at the German embassy. Although you can't see it, Ulla had the heart beats of the horses and the humans recorded to show how similar we are.

We asked Ulla what some of The Six Freedoms' main needs and challenges are:

"What we need and plan is training more professional team members, mostly grooms, to work more efficiently. Moreover we would like to have more support for social media activities to increase our visibility, to connect better to international horse people for more support.

Our larger goal in the long run is having our own ranch where we can fully live our knowledge and possibilities, teach and network more efficiently and give shelter for more horses, while we can start generating our own income with several business models.

Increased costs in Ghana are a true challenge. We hope to be able to continue with all necessary care for our horses. But we lack sustainable funding to ensure professional and regular training for the horses. We definitely reached the maximum of horses for our capacities, although there are so many more in need."


The grant project was such a success thanks to The Six Freedoms' team members:


· Ulla Deventer, supervision

· Wisdom Gasu, groom

· Isaac Quartey, groom

· Benjamin Ali Oduro, stables senior

· Some guys and children from the neighborhood who help on a regular basis, especially weekends

Akim Asafo

· Eva Lydeking, supervision

· Aykem Asofo Eddie Yeboah, groom

· Emmanuel Adjete, groom


· Veterinarian Dr Christian Twumesi

· Natural Horsemanship Trainer Eva Ippendorf


Of course we are thrilled that as of January 1, 2023, The Six Freedoms has become an Animal-Kind International Partner Organization and we hope that with the support of our donors, we'll be able to help them reach their goals!


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