Darla Bookelmann (28) from Nijmegen, together with her partner, is the proud owner of Cajenn, Simba, Chica, Skye and Flynn. Why five horses? Are they rich?
Darla: ,,Certainly not, if only it were true! We have five because we wanted to form a herd. It is important for horses to be able to choose within a group who their friends are, with whom they eat, cuddle, lie down. Five is the maximum achievable for us, in terms of money and time. We both work, but part-time, because a lot of time is spent on the animals. And money. About 1000 euros per month.”
“It can be cheaper, but we have chosen to create an ‘equi habitat’ for them: a piece of land with paths and eating places so that they can move and eat all the time, which is essential for their health. Instead of the sugar-rich Dutch grass, our horses are on hay with as little sugar as possible and as many variable herbs as possible. Originally horses eat steppe grass, many herbs and branches of certain trees. They get diseases of affluence from ordinary grass. We spend 350 euros on this special hay once every three weeks, but it is worth it to us. Otherwise we will have higher veterinary costs and a lot of worries about their health.”
Going on vacation, saving money, it’s impossible for Darla. “We also shop for deals and carry second-hand clothes. It is financially difficult, we sometimes worry about it, but it always works out. There are times when I doubt: what have I started? But then I’m with them again and I get so much in return, love, peace, and also being outside. Horses don’t judge, don’t ask questions. You can be who you are. When I’m with them, I know what we’re doing again.”