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The Story of Horse in Need

Since 1989 Madeleine was living in the South of Spain. Ever since she knew about many cases of neglected and mistreated horses, donkeys and mules. Wherever she could she tried to help and worked hard to find good homes for some of them. Many of her friends in the Netherlands, Switzerland, England and Germany wanted to adopt some equines and helped her to save their lives. Her husband Peter who took care of the animal shelter in La Linea was always on her side to support her every step of the way. Sibylle and Madeleine met in 2014 in Spain and immediately decided to work together to have an even bigger impact of making a difference. – “Horse in need” was born. While still living in Germany it wasn’t always easy for Sibylle to help, but she was there as often as she could and also trying to support the organization. Luckily, Sibylle met Katrin during one of her visits in Spain. Even so, the first contact had nothing to do with the organization, they got along really well and found out that both of them had a huge love for horses. Well, sometimes things just fall into place! Ever since, “Horse in need” is Madeleine, Katrin and Sibylle, not to forget all the people who support us. A special “Thank you so much” to Sandra Stark who always supported horse in need from the very beginning. Whenever we needed her, she was there by taking over horses and donkeys at her Finca in Ronda, taking lovingly care and also helping to find good homes for them. At present she takes care of nine horses from Horse in need.

Now… „Horse in need“ has saved over 60 equines and rented a Finca in Alhaurin el Grande, Malaga to save even more neglected and mistreated equines. We make sure, that all of those saved animals get all the medical care they need. We work hard to keep them well fed, socialize them and try to find good homes for the ones who are well enough to be adopted.

We would like to bring out a huge “Thank you” for Peter Koekebakker who sadly passed away in 2018. Without him and his support there wouldn’t be a “Horse in need”. You are always in our hearts.

Finally, we would like to thank the people who are working with us to support “Horse in need”: Antonio, Luis, Juan, Antonio and Mariano. Thank you very much!

Our Team


I have had a tremendous love for animals since early childhood. Since I wasn't allowed to keep my own animal as a child, I left home when I was 18 and the first thing I did was going to an animal shelter and came home with a dog and two cats. Shortly after that, I became more and more interested in horses. I tried several riding styles, but none of them really appealed to me until I discovered the "Natural Horsemanship" by Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling, Gawani Pony Boy and "Rai-Riding". That natural connection was what I was looking for. In 1992 I graduated as a riding instructor in "free riding" and bought two horses. These two were very special to me. They were judged as unrideable, but I took care of them and they became my best friends. In 2014 I met Madeleine in Spain. For both of us our love for these wonderful animals was clouded by the adverse circumstances how horses are often treated in Spain. In 2020 we uncovered many mistreatments on behalf of Horse in Need with the help of the authorities. We were able to save over 40 horses and foals all at once. Everything I do is solely about the well-being of the horses. If they're fine, then I'm fine. The Horse in Need association is a heart project. Together with Madeleine and Katrin we want to help as many horses, foals and donkeys as possible, so that they can enjoy a beautiful life.


Horses have been with me all my life. As a very young girl I was lucky enough to get lessons from one of the best riding instructors - Leo Erni. He was hoping for a career as a dressage rider and Olympic rider. Claire Koch also took me under her wing. But I preferred to move her horses and have remained an enthusiastic recreational rider. Show jumping was also more of a hobby than an ambition. In 1989 I came to Spain with my family and the horses. In Cancelada we had a small riding and boarding stables. Even then, one or the other animal welfare horse was added. When I separated in 2001 and moved to Peter Koekkebakker, it just so happened that we were more and more committed to animal welfare. Nine years ago I saw a couple of half-starved horses and brought them to Germany. That was the beginning of Horse in Need a few years later.