Gili’s gift horse…
Tori is well-known across the islands as one of the friendly faces of Lutwala Dive on Gili Trawangan. Having moved to the Gilis with her husband back in 2015, she quickly got involved with various animal welfare projects across the region and ended up launching her own project, with her latest one called “Horses of Gili”.
When they moved to Indonesia, they quickly realized that they wanted to make a difference. They soon met Susannah from “Cats of Gili” and helped her establish the cat hospital in Lutwala Dive. That’s when Tori decided that she wanted to reach more animals and her main focus was on horses. Her primary goals were to help organize the clinics and to gather factual data on the horses on the Gilis.
“Horses of Gili” is a charity that relies on public donations, therefore Tori constantly needs to find new ways to raise money. She also works on changing public perceptions of animals’ welfare. Many tourists, for example, are saddened by the way the cidomo (cart) horses are used around the islands. It is a cultural shock because many visitors have never been exposed to working animals before. She explained that there are many things going on that are very beneficial to the animals, but aren’t necessarily visible when you walk up to a cidomo. This the reason why some tourists may worry about these animals’ wellbeing on the islands. However, when you have a closer look, you realize that the horses receive twice-annual vet examinations, are dewormed and administered vitamin injections and food supplements. They also have their teeth examined and their hooves are treated. In reality, for a developing country, the horses are treated extremely well and Tori is eager for that to continue improving.
On top of that, Islanders and locals now have access to written guides that detail how to feed horses correctly, clean their heels and hooves and how to fit the bit (the metal section that goes in their mouths) in a healthy and comfortable way. These small changes make a huge difference, as in 2010, the average Gili horse’s lifespan was only 2.5 years, while in 2017, the average age improved from 8 to 10 years.
Tori keeps on with the good work explaining how because of the new facilities, there will soon be a vet available on the Gilis, with the help of Animal Aid Abroad that will fund the project. Tori is very proud of that advancement because it will be for all the animals on all three Gilis, and it will be a massive achievement.
Her next plan? Spread this message to everyone and mainly tourists through different information packs in hotels and also promote the fact that Gilis’ horses are happy and healthy and hope for more people to join the initiative.