Annual Report 2016

(Excerpt: For the complete report please write to Epona-Stiftung für Pferd und Umwelt c/o Mermagen, Kesselstr. 15, 53797 Lohmar)


This year we had to take off from two of our horses. Brill died on 26 January in Sora and Tchykas on 1 June in Normandy.


Tchykas came to us in March 2011 from the animal protection organization Epona-Trust in Normandy to “La Chevrie” (see also annual report 2011). The tiny, already elderly thoroughbred mare, cluttered with scars and suffering from severe arthrosis, was quite anxious and skittish at the beginning. After the death of her friend Fanny, who came along with her to ‘La Chevrie’, she made friends with our gelding Kosmos. She became more and more confiding and especially enjoyed being brushed, which eased her changes of coat.In 2014 when the Epona horses moved from Normandy to the Spanish Sora to the farm of Mercè, Casanova, we decided to leave Tchykas behind. She was too old for transportation. We left her along with her best friend Kosmos at „Haras du Breuil“ the farm of our friend Gautier only a few kilometers away from ‘La Chevrie’. There we knew them in the best hands. Gautier provides and trains mainly retired Galoppers. After a few days of acclimatization, we placed Tchykas and Kosmos on the pastures to the gallops, with whom Tchykas began to flirt violently. Kosmos was depreciated.Banned to the farest corner of the pasture and expeled by his friend Tchykas Kosmos became increasingly sad. So finally we brought him to Sora, where the Oftomologist Dr. Simó saved his eye (see annual report 2015). For two more years, Tchykas was courted by her four-legged friends and lovingly maintained by Gautier until she had a serious accident in June that cost her life.


Brill left us suddenly and unexpectedly. After the food change, he had become strong and healthy despite his age. He was the boss of his “family” and even Kosmos had subordinated himself to him. On the 26th of January, he happily galloped up the slope to his beloved breakfast. There he collapsed. His 28-year-old heart had stopped beating. Brill, a French trotter, was saved from starvation by the President of the Epona Foundation in 2004, in collaboration with a Spanish animal protection organization (DUO-horses). He was a personality. And how, in spite of the atrocities that had befallen him, he reassured the people, became attached and trustworthy, was an experience which ultimately led to the founding of the Epona Foundation (see also Our Horses). Thank you for all you have taught us, Brill!

Merce and Toby

A quiet year

Apart from these two losses, 2016 ran without any specific incidents. Ella cured her severe tendinitis, with the help of the horse osteopat and Craneo-Sacral therapist Silvia Korff and our blacksmith Xesco. Because of her handicap we removed Ella from her small herd in 2015, which lives in a copious and mountainious terrain. We consorted her with Lukas, a lame gelding and they easily made friends. After our blacksmith Xesco returned from a congress in Italy with new horseshoes made of poliuretano for Aloha, the tiny berber mare recovered. Each day we clean her hoofs and treat her with effective microorganisms (EM). Watching Aloha happily galopping through the ‘campo’, these microogranisms apparently got the upper hand. At the end of February Matilde Dutch, our dentist, visited our horses. Again she had to pull one of Indhus back tooths. Overall we are glad to be in Sora. We thank everybody who helps our horses to be happy and healthy.

Ella mit Sylvia
Brill mit Marlies

Godchildren and Uerê

Our godchildren Talita and Suellen finished their school year successfully. At the begining of 2017 Annie Hasemanns, International Program Adviser Uerê sent us this report from Rio de Janeiro:
The latest news from Brasil is very alarming. Prison riots and recently strikes by policemen who have not received their salary for months. In Espirito Santos this led to vandalism, raids in shops and gas stations and many murders. Recently, there was a shooting between fans of Rio’s Botafogo and Flamengo football clubs, killing one man and injuring 8. In the getthos the dealers have taken over the rule again and the residents are again subjected to violent conflicts. People always said it would happen. As soon as the International Sportevents were over, they would be forgotten and left to their fate. Unfortunately they were right. The poor economic situation worsed the trouble. The famous Maracana decays and so do the Olympic arenas. Weed sprouts on the extremly expensive golf course, built in a nature reserve and in the Olympic swimming pool one finds brown broth instead of clear water.
What is pleasing is that since early 2017 Yvonne’s daughter Andrea has been working intensively on the management of the Uerê project. Yvonne is very happy about it, so she can focus more on the children.

Talita, ein Mädchen des Projektes Uere in Rio de Janeiro
Suellen, a girl of the project Uere in Rio de Janeiro

From the Favela Mare in Rio de Janeiro, at the end of the year, we received the following report from the Uerê project:

After the Olympic and the Paralympic Games were completed and world interest turned to the Middle East resp. the elections in the USA, the true picture of Brazil’s financials came to the surface. The state Rio de Janeiro is factually bankrupt and needed to be bailed out by the government. The high costs for the Games, at a time where oil revenues were non existent, brought Rio de Janeiro into a financial deadlock. In the meantime also other states had troubles to balance their budgets and the interim president Temer recently announced some very necessary but painful austerity measures. Painful to those, who were already underpriveleged during the good days but now also for the 100dreds of thousands that have lost their jobs and at the same time are stuck with high private debts that they cannot pay off anymore. The poor and the elderly will be hardest hit due to the reduction/freeze in health care spending and the majority of Brazil’s children will face a reduced spending for public education. Not that Brazil was spending much for public education if compared to OECD-countries. In the future it will be even less.

Due to the lack of public funds, also the security is declining and in the slums the criminal gangs are regaining ground that they once lost to the increased police presence. During various occasions, Projeto Uerê had no other choice as to shut down because conditions in the streets became too dangerous for children and staff to come to the project. Rival drug factions are fighting over territory and special police forces are not coming with velvet gloves to deal with the matters. Inbetween the families and children, who cannot defend themselves.

As so many families have lost their perspective, it is all the more important for Projeto Uerê to be around and to watch over the children in their care. Do the children have anything to eat at home and is the family possibly falling apart due to frustration of loosing the job, followed by sudden alcohol or drug abuse or even domestic violence? Whereas in the past one could speak of a tiny sign of prosperity within the community, we now see the return of poverty and absolute poverty.

To give the children some happiness, friends of Projeto Uerê in Rio de Janeiro organised a wonderful Christmas party
accompanied by Father Christmas and other fantasy figures, with presents for each and sausages and cake and coke for all. It also represented the last day of the school year and thereafter children went into the long summer holidays until February 2017. This period will be used by Projeto Uerê to do maintenance jobs at the premises and to prepare everything for the new school year.

All in all it was a good year for Projeto Uerê and thanks to all our wonderful and loyal sponsors, we were able to maintain the school classes and the extra curricular programs such as computer classes, football, capoeira and the violin classes.
FInancially the year 2017 will be more difficult to cover due to the fact that there are no major sports events in RIo de Janeiro coming up with sport-related sponsors contributing to social projects.

Final Grades 2016

Some of the children in the violin projects became really good in the meantime and they perform in town at various occasions with other violinists or even as solists. Of the children in the scholarship program almost all sucessfully passed the year. One boy, who was out of school for several weeks due to a badly injured leg and who never really managed to catch up since, was given the opportunity to do recouperation tests and he successfully completed his primary education.

At this occasion we, all the staff of Projeto Uerê, wish you a happy and healthy New Year.