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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.


My horse career began in 1983 as a friend and neighbor of my parents who bred Shettys in his spare time, showed me a newborn Shetty foal and so I became the godmother of this foal. I called him Felix, and he was a very lively, somewhat cheeky, brown and white piebald Shettland pony foal. From that day on I spent every day with the ponies and started learning to ride. Since then I have always remained connected to the horses. I got my first big horse Alice when I was 14 years old and later my beloved Ernie came along. With Ernie, I completed my training to trainer C and B in basic sport at the Westphalian Riding and Driving School in Münster, as well as participating in numerous regional dressage and jumping competitions. In addition to studying law at the University of Münster, I worked as a riding instructor for children and young people at the FN riding school Terbraack in Coesfeld. After a long break from riding due to a stay abroad in the USA, moving to Andalusia, wedding and the birth of my two daughters, I came back to the horses and now have my own horse Fenicio, which my younger daughter and I ride and care for together. The well-being of the horses is very important to me and should always be the most important thing, no matter what level or style you deal with the horses. I got to know a lot of great horse people in Germany and Spain and now I enjoy every moment together with these great animals. And as we horse people know: Happiness on earth lies on the back of a horse! I decided to take part in the "Horses in Need" project in Andalusia, because I want to make my small contribution to the welfare of at least some horses and at least a small part of all the beautiful moments that the horses have given me and still do can give, give back.


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.