From slaughterhouse to Catwalk

(English translation of the original article on

We know Sakshin de Groot from before this site went airborne. An intriguing and sincere person. Erudite and as a former disciple of Osho, he was given the name he still bears now, carry: Sakshin. As a healer he mainly worked from his home in Amsterdam, with techniques that have traditionally been proven to heal people. But the latest state-of-the-art healing techniques also have and were interested. He did not teach them ‘by heart’, but he taught them via ‘learning by heart’, as the English say so beautifully. He applies them when there is room for it and can be interpreted.

We are proud to be able to post the following story from him. From the ratification of each other’s positive intentions and deeds. But let’s introduce Sakshin to 2 special stories, which may also be mentioned here. As a little boy, Sakshin had a special experience, which he explains as follows:

“When I was 9 years old, I hit my rubber boat when I sailed in the ditch in front of our house. After a fierce battle with the dark and cold water I stepped into a world full of light and intense Love, until I was pulled out of the water by a friend. Not knowing what to do with the experience, it was deeply suppressed. In the shower, on my 28th, and completely from scratch, the experience came back to full intensity. And that was a bit of a shock.

It was such an intense re-experience of the underwater experience that I was shaking on my legs. Not because drowning is so bad, on the contrary, but the experiences that lead to the light were so beautiful and intense … The moment that there is no time anymore and everything is one. Every thought, every once expressed opinion, everything I got back. And if that was not enough, to experience the feeling of what each word or behavior once pronounced by him caused the other person. And that was different than what was experienced in the current body. “

On his site is the question, which he himself answers, and which we like to offer here as an introduction:

“Have I ever told you about the voice of God?
I was still young and reckless, fast on the way to a customer. At that time I never drove around with a belt, never. I waited impatiently for a traffic light at the dam in Amsterdam and suddenly heard very loud and clear “Put on your belt”. I looked around me in surprise, looking behind the chairs, in the street, no one in sight. “Put on your belt!”. Again that loud voice in my head that was so hard that I could not believe that there was not someone in my ear to eat. But no one in the neighborhood to confess.

I started to doubt, belt? Why would I do that? I never change my belt. And yes, that sounded very loud in my head again, “Put on your belt”. Now I really could not ignore it. I had no idea who or what or where it came from, but I finally followed the loud, clear Dutch-speaking voice.

After driving for 500 meters, with the belt around, suddenly a hard blow sounded and with the front wheels in a split, the car made a right-angle turn to the right, against three cars parked along the water, the last of which by the blow banged, luckily, at a lamppost, otherwise he would have ended up on the roof of a houseboat. Thank God I had the belt, otherwise I would not have come away with the shock …!

Sakshin held the Netherlands a few years ago. He had to get away, he certainly knew that. Leaving the house and hearth behind, he went on a journey. As an end in itself, without a goal in mind. The ‘fate’ brought him to Portugal and that is exactly where this special story starts; a story that you must have read. We think..

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Sakshin de Groot

2017 © sakshin de groot this version
Sakshin the Great

In September 2014 I left the Netherlands. One of the reasons for my departure was that as a ‘Free and Sovereign’ person I could no longer find my happiness. I did look like an official who was clearing all laws and regulations and was behind the computer day and night. I have given up the fight against money-sucking institutions after a year and hundreds of letters. Because that fight was not really what I experienced as ‘regained freedom’. I wanted to experience freedom and that is something that is in me, and I give myself, and do not allow myself to be given by someone else or a body. I am free and go traveling ..

So after a year of being busy to show all the authorities that I was a ‘free and sovereign Man’, I was completely happy with it and started my adventure. And that adventure started at the town hall where they did not want to unsubscribe because I did not want to give up a new address. “I am free and go traveling” I said. “That is not possible at all” said the gentleman behind the counter. “You have to give an address”.

“But I’m going to travel, I do not know where life takes me,” I said. And after some mumbling and pondering, the man came up with a brilliant solution to his problem: “What is the first country you visit?” “Hahaha, Belgium because that’s where I get through with the camper”. And that’s how it is now in the papers: ‘Left to Belgium’ …!

Lusitania, land of light
So I went to Portugal, the former Lusitania, the ‘land of light’. I knew nothing about the country and I had never been there. Initially it was my vague plan to set up a camp site and partly take over from people I had met online, but the location turned out to be high in the mountains on arrival, in the ski area of Coimbra.

It was only the beginning of September and when I was shivering from the cold in my old camper without heater for 3 nights, I decided to change my plans the fourth day and move further south. They tried to stop me with texts like; “The Algarve is no real Portugal and, everyone speaks English” but that only made it more interesting. After some wanderings, where I can write a whole story about, I arrived in a small village just above the city of Lagos in the Algarve. And in this warm region I settled at the foot of the dam for that moment.

Horses, horses ...
During the trip over here I noticed that there were so many horses everywhere. Not freely running in the meadow but on poor pieces of land, tied to a rope. A very different picture than I always had of this noble animal. Of most of them I thought that they looked pitiful and emaciated and I soon had the feeling of taking one with me or freeing them. That would only become reality when I set up my camp at the foot of the dam ‘Bravura’ and had 6 hectares of land at my disposal. I decided on arrival that I wanted to have a horse in front of my door anyway and preferably one that I would save from a dark future.

The horse would get a nice outer bead, made of wood, as you always see in films. But then round, not square. But … what did I know about building and horses, except that I have found them fascinating all my life. So I spent many days online searching for information, about how to house a horse well once he is at your door. A round pen, a round lane, and a large field had to be deposited with electric fence wire. All good to do. 10 days of work and everything was done ..!I had no trouble finding a sad horse online at ARC Horse Welfare, the last of a group of the 50 slaughter horses. (HERE) The ladies of ARC would come to inspect my place before they would arrange transport and adoption. And oh-oh-oh what were they impressed by my craft work. They wanted a Round-pen themselves, and I had nicely fenced the field. We signed the ‘adoption papers’ and the next day my horse would come.

Some of the 50 horses that were saved from slaughter.
Chicken breast
So I had seen horses from the car all that time. Now I was standing next to it, while they were busy getting him (‘Flame’) into the trailer, which did not go smoothly. Flame was 2.5 years young, tall and heavily emaciated. He had been adopted by a German woman before, but he sent it back because she thought that it had a chicken breast. Pffff. Anyway, I did not really dare to stand by. Gave him a gentle pet and that was that.

I watched the drifting and pushing scene at a considerable distance when Flame suddenly became a Superman and suddenly stood on the 1 meter high wall next to the trailer. As if lifted by an invisible hand. My god … I found everything getting scarier and soon that beast would be with me at the door .. Fear sweat broke out and … I could still waive it anyway .. not ..?!

Horse became Super horse
Eventually a bunch of carrots got him into the trailer after an hour and with kinking knees I drove past it on the way home. But my ‘house’ was somewhat remote at the end of an 8 km long unpaved road that is cut through 2 rivers and the car with trailer did not want to go through it.If I wanted to walk that piece with him.’ “My god”. Aaaahh, yes of course. Oops.

And with thick gloves, sturdy shoes and a firm step, I kept him on a rope close to me, but still far enough away of me. After all, I had seen what this Superman was capable of and was alert to everything. With cramped hands and dripping with sweat, we arrived at my camp and he was allowed to stand in his Beautiful new ’round-pen’. And then a new chapter of the great adventure began …

Eating and defecating
Horses eat in the wild about 20 hours a day and walk a sloppy 30 km. As a good adoptive parent, I naturally did not want to give him a shortage. So of course there was food to come. The more you order, the less you pay also applies to horse food, hay in this case. At the farmers’ cooperative I ordered hay, 400 kilos. No idea how long he would do with it. One would bring it and the truck would even come to my door. “Around 12 o’clock?” “Yes fine”.
But it wouldn’t be Portugal if everything didn’t go as planned so these farmers did not come until it was long dark. I heard the cart coming from far away squeaking and creaking my way. I was waiting for them with a flashlight. When they wanted to unload, they asked where I wanted the hay. I expected small hay bales that can always be moved, but no, this was a huge block of hay of 400 kg. “Well, … uh … put it there,” I said. Because a hay barn … well, I had not thought of that yet.

Daily meditation
Horsy was in the ’round pen’ to eat … and of course also … pooping. I had never thought about that too; Eating 20 hours per day naturally also means a lot of shit. In no time the round pen was full of it and that apparently did not go away by itself. So hop, to the store for a wheelbarrow and a manure shovel. And then the daily ritual of shitting started.

The brand new dunghill with the text: ‘If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands’ …

A ritual that I would not want to miss anymore. It is the daily meditation and it helps to clear my head completely. And anyone who wants to do something with the horses is asked to first complete a wheelbarrow to clear their heads. And on the photo at the dung heap, you can see the sign with the text: ‘If you’re happy and you know, clap your hands.’

Letting a horse run
But by the way … There are many more funny and trivial events with Flame that I can share, but then this becomes a very long story. Although I would like to tell you these stories personally, when you come by! Okay, one more then … Horsy was in the round pen and I saw online that they would walk around and even run. But I couldn’t get Flame to move a meter. whatever I did, he remained standing stiffly. (He probably was not used to anything else …!)

Until my son came by and had a brilliant idea .. He had seen it in a comic book and he said: ‘This is certainly going to work’. He cut off a long piece of reed, tied a string and at the end of it he tied … a carrot .. Yes. And then he went to sit in the middle of the round pen, with that carrot-on-the-stick to fish for the nose of Flame .. But … If it has taken a total of 5 steps, then it’s a lot, in the hour he was there. Dejected, we left ‘the horse has to walk around’ idea go and let Flame standing where he stood.

A new friend ..
You now understand a little how I ended up here and how I got into the horse world. A great adventure. Meanwhile, we are now 3 years further, nothing with horses is strange to me. I ride on Flame with and without saddle and with and without and bit in his mouth. Flame has had a friend (Maya) with him for 3 months, also saved from a certain death. Where her 2 days young foal has not saved it. Maya was so thin that she could barely stand, let alone feed her foal. But Maya and Flame are now big friends and when we get one of the two of the country, the other one gets hit by the madness. A spectacle to see and hear.

Currently we are now in a different location with the camp. A better accessible place with a lot of land around us. Much of it is not edited or maintained and now we have 2 fields for the horses in use. In total about 1.5 hectares. Through the Land Registry I have requested the names of the owners and have written beautiful letters to them to ask permission to use the land to keep rescued horses.

Until these animals are healthy enough to go to a new owner. We are now (end of November 2017) 10 weeks further and no one has reacted so that goes the right way, because after 6 weeks of silence you actually agree.

The sun is crumbling plastic
One of these two areas was used for the cultivation of organic vegetables. The owner has discontinued his activities 5 years ago and left everything behind like large greenhouses and the hundreds of kilos of plastic that came with it. In the meantime, much of the plastic has been broken up into small pieces by the sun and it is an ecological disaster. But in exchange for the use of the land, we are cleaning up the plastic, no matter how small, by hand. A big but nice job because we are among the horses and they are happy that we are in their vincinity.

Hardened gypsies
In the meantime we have collected quite a few horses on the grounds that have been rescued from the gypsy camps by two very brave ladies , or have actually been bought separately. A very brave act, because most people do not dare to enter those camps. Not even the vets of the municipality, even though they  get police protection. On the video below you see the reason; a gypsy woman threatens the veterinarian to cut off his balls if he does not quickly gets out of there. “Se vem cá o veterinario, capo o veternario” she says.

They may not be able to do that on the spot as quickly, but where the veterinarian lives can be traced easily. And with the hardened gypsies, who have a somewhat different mentality, you do not go lightly. The result of this is that no veterinarian dares to make a report of the abuses with horses in these camps and so … the abuse continues. Our heroine ‘Femke’ has contacted all authorities including the police, but they all reply that nothing is wrong and that the horses are well …!

Horses as utensils ..
Trading beautiful horses is a trade for the gypsies and they usually treat them well. The less beautiful horses are seen as utensils. They are forced to pull wooden carts with sometimes 7 people and luggage over the hot asphalt. This often happens with broken tools that cause them deep skin wounds, and at least 50 km per day the cart is pritty normal. Even pregnant horses must endure these horrors and if they fall through their knees as a result of fatigue, they are kicked and beaten until the poor beasts with bloody knees come back on their feet. And these are the horses that the brave ladies dare to take away from their tormentors. Great respect .. !!

In Portugal, dogs and cats have been protected for not so long by a special law that sees them as ‘companion animals’. Which means; if you find incorrect treatment of these animals then you can call the police and they will see if that is really the case. The mentality towards animals is very different here than in the north of Europe, so there must be something very bad happening with a dog or cat before something happens.

This does not apply to horses. How bizarre! They do not fall under the category of ‘companion animals’ and you can obviously do what you want with them. However, there is a big movement going on (HERE) to get the government to adopt a law that recognizes the horse as a companion animal.

On the video below and the photo on the right you can see ‘Skinny’ who stayed with us for a few days, but in the end it was best to take him down. He was to damaged to ever overcome his injuries. The day before he had pulled a cart all day with 7 people in it. It is an intense process for us too, as you will be able to understand. I want to show the video so that you can see how the horses we receive look like.

Horses at bullfighting
A big stumbling block for installing a law is the bullfighting. They use horses with which the bulls are hunted. And that would no longer be possible under such a new law, because many horses leave life in the arena. And Portugal is a very conservative and traditional country, and that is not easy to take away, its long-cherished and beloved atrocities. So, much needs to happen before a law is passed that protects horses. But we keep good hope that the tide will turn.

Meanwhile, we will continue to rescue and receive horses in distress. We do this by giving them a lot of rest and space, good food and clean water and good medical care. Luis Fazenda, the veterinarian (HERE) looks at the horses on arrival and Paul Clarck, the farrier (HERE), comes every 6 weeks to work the hooves, which of course are no longer herded with horseshoes. Most of the hooves are also completely ripped off, split, broken off and mistaken.

Floor van den Dungen met haar ‘Floris’

Manou van Rooy, the horse dentist (HERE), will check the teeth if we think something is wrong. Furthermore, I give the horses treatments with the familiar ‘Tachyon energy’ therapy. And I work with ‘Reconnective healing’ (HERE) and recently also with the ‘Trust technique’ of James French. (HERE)

Veterinarian Luis has chipped Maya this morning as prescribed by law. She is now easier to find and we can get her back if she disappears. Then he went to a horse that they intercepted with the gypsies in the street, working for the cart. The horse was stolen from an owner and so he got the horse back; with broken leg and many deep wounds. Luis has put the horse to sleep.

Floor van den Dungen
Floor van den Dungen also helped us once a week ago. Floor has written a very nice article about horses HERE on the site. She gave our horse Maya distance treatments from Belgium. The first days after, however, I did not notice that much difference to Maya. She was shy and timid and walked away rather than coming to me. But … after a few days that changed completely.

Now she comes to sniff out and investigate who is on her land and she comes much more relaxed and as herself. The comprehensive report that Floor has written, about what lives and plays inside of Maya, brings a lot of clarity about who and what Maya is. And so we can offer her even better what she needs.

I therefore warmly recommend Floor to anyone who wants to help an animal in need or who has problems with his own horse. (HERE)

Maya when we saw her for the first time, her foal died 2 days later. Photo right: Maya 3 months after her arrival with us and after the treatment of Floor van den Dungen.

Water, hay and other food
As you have been able to read, it is a lot of work and it’s costly as well. And although we have received a lot of donations during the rescue of Bikkel and Skinny, the costs are of course inevitable and a lot of my time (and that of Aniek and Eelco) is in this project. Water, hay and other feed (GMO free Lucerne) have to be bought and the horses eat and drink a lot in one day. Even though they can graze around when it is not too dry.

Some members of the team have a break or ‘time out’ because they find it emotionally or physically too heavy (I can assure you that negotiating with the gypsies in their camp is really no fun!) And having it die in your arms (yes, there are 3 deceased) doesn’t gets set aside easily, and besides earning the money to stay alive, … it can sometimes become too much .. But it is above all the gratitude of the work that keeps us going.

I would like to continue this project and develop it into a ‘sanctuary’, a ‘free state for horses’ (State Of Being) to give them a second chance on a fair life. We are currently in discussion with the owner of a large piece of land to be able to realize this there. But here in Lusitania everything goes slowly and you often hear ‘Amanha’ (tomorrow) which is very frustrating when you see a lot of animal suffering. There is also the question, how we should give this all form legally. But that is actually a completely different aspect. Setting up your own foundation costs around € 1,800, – and we are not that far yet. Or maybe, with your support ..?

sleeping with a horse, very exciting.

To connect
Meanwhile, we just continue on a small scale with arranging the fields so that more horses can be collected and groups of children can come to connect with the horses, for a new future. to generate for the current and next generation. Because it concerns the children, whereby there will naturally be room for adults to ‘be’ with horses and not necessarily ‘ride’ them.

Sleeping with horses, camping with horses, walking and playing with horses, are all things you can do in the sanctuary, the ‘State of Being’. I have already registered this domain name when I arrived in Portugal and it seems that everything is coming together and merging into a symbiotic and fantastic event. And with the experience of hosting thousands of guests in Amsterdam since 2010 via Airbnb and other channels, it will be a delight to host you too, at the Sanctuary.

Please help with the founding of the ‘Sanctuary’!
A few years ago I wrote an article of very different content for WantToKnow (HERE) and that was the best-read article of the website at the time. I believe that this article had at least 70,000 readers! Perhaps it is allowed that this article now counts 100,000 readers? And now imagine that all those readers would simply transfer one euro. Wuaah! That would be great. But if they would also donate 10,- for helping to set up the ‘Sanctuary’ in the Algarve?

Then we could quickly make our dreams come true and offer many animals a better life. So! I hope to meet you there soon. And finally, I want to show you the success of our efforts. Our horse Flame is now truly a parade horse in that respect. Just look at his image in these photos .. !!
Good luck
‘Flame’ has grown from a skinny pathetic horse into a beautiful and strong horse. He is the representation of the ‘fire’ with which we started this venture and is the example of the success of our approach. He enjoys life and everyone who meets him is deeply impressed by his being. This is how it happened that Sophie, who makes shoes, wanted to make a photo session with Flame as an atmospheric plate for her brand. And Aniek and I were also allowed to pass by; that is how it can go. Thanks for reading and in advance for your support; however small it may be.



November/december 2017



Bankwire: J.B.E. de Groot  –  NL10INGB0007634613  (all zero’s) BIC/SWIFT: INGBNL2A

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