In 2011, I traveled to Cuba for the first time with my sister. As a horse trainer, and my sister a horse owner, we took a special interest in the horses that we saw with their carriages. It was hard not to notice that many of these horses were not in prime condition. Quite a few of them were underweight and had sores where their harnesses had rubbed.
After speaking to many of the cocheros about their horses it was easy to understand that they wanted the best for their animals but simply had limited resources. They expressed that they have extremely limited access to quality feed, proper equipment, and medicines. Their horses lacking was only due to unavailability and not lack of desire to do what was best for their animals. They desired to take excellent care of their equines, but with the difficulty of obtaining supplies, (especially with the US embargo), they needed assistance.
Over the years I have returned to Cuba many times. Those early conversations which have instilled in me a desire to want to help the horses. I have always brought whatever supplies I could to help the Cuban people with their animals, but it was only a drop in the bucket. Their needs are much greater than one person can manage. As a result, I started a non-government organization (NGO) in the United States.
After receiving our non-profit status 501 (3)(c) in August of 2016, we began to work in a slightly new direction. We wanted to work directly with the cooperatives, (organizations that the individual coach drivers belong to) and provide not only necessary equipment but also education to horse owners as well as farriers and veterinarians. Of course, this requires much paperwork with the Cuban government and the government of the United States. In January of this year, we received a Convenio de Collaboracion, (an agreement to work in partnership) with ANIPLANT, the official animal protection NGO in Cuba.