Last summer, I became aware of a very special rescue organization. The Horses of Gili nonprofit rescue and rehabilitation operation serves the horses and people of 3 tiny islands that are part of Indonesia.
This amazing and effective rescue operation was started by Tori Taylor, a veterinary technician who decided to “retire” on the islands. Prior to the pandemic, Tori and her husband, Joe, were employed at a dive resort on the island. The resort closed due to Covid, and maintaining funding for the horses has been challenging.
There are no motorized vehicles on these islands. Horses are beasts of burden and their contribution to the culture and society is a valuable one. However, the locals had very little knowledge or understanding of proper horse husbandry. The horses are not abused per se; however, their living conditions and care are often marginal at best.
So much to do…
Tori has always been a horse person, so she was intrigued by the prospect of living on an island that relied on horse power. Within months, it was clear to her that there was much that could be done to improve the lives of the island’s 200-220 horses. (Gili Meno has about 50 horses and Gili Air about 100 to 125. The number changes as horses are bought and sold and transported to other islands.) The horses are technically ponies, as most are under 14 hands.
In 2015, Tori founded Horses of Gili with the goal of providing education, equipment, and medical care for the horses of the 3 Gilis. Additionally, the organization assisted with twice yearly free training clinics, in conjunction with Australian groups and the Gili Eco Trust. However, it became apparent that even more was needed…
Ultimately, Horses of Gili became a rescue and rehabilitation center. They rescue horses from dire conditions, rehabilitate them, and either return them to far better educated and supported owners, or find them a better home.
Three years ago this month, the current stables were constructed to house the growing population of rescued horses. When Covid heavily impacted life on the island, the rescue was inundated with even more needy horses. Their stabling facility expanded to an adjacent building.
Currently, between 35-40 horses call the rescue home at any given time. Additionally, Horses of Gili provides feed assistance, medical care, equipment, farrier work, education, training, and lessons for both children and adults. They work closely with the local government to try to improve the overall welfare of the islands’ horses, and they are advocating for the enforcement of existing humane laws.
When asked to describe the organization’s triumphs and challenges, Tori had this to say:
Our challenges are that the people are poorly educated and proud. Our triumph is that since 2015, the body condition scores of horses at the annual clinics has drastically improved, hoof care has improved, and the number of wounds and injuries have decreased overall.
What are the needs of the organization?
How can you help? You can head over to this link and sign up to be a Patron. You can donate as little as a dollar a month! Every little bit helps. I am aware of many, many awesome organizations, some in my own backyard, that could use financial support. However, I can’t support them all… but I do support Horses of Gili.
In addition to money, Tori lists equipment, tack, supplies and volunteers on her list of needs. Amazon to the rescue! They have a wishlist on Amazon to meet some of their equipment needs.
(Postscript: Their Facebook page this week is all about a lucky pony with a severe front leg wound that they rescued this week. His life is about to improve dramatically!)