An Adventure with Free Horses in the Garraf Park
The Garraf Park is a must-see if you come to Sitges. It's a natural spectacle that you can enjoy any time of year. In addition, it's likely that during your visit you can be thrilled by the presence of one of the 27 horses that live in freedom in the Park, rescued by the Miranda Foundation from situations involving abandonment or mistreatment. In addition, this organization organizes various activities aimed precisely at raising awareness of how these animals - the only ones that fly without wings - help transform and protect the environment where they live.
The founder and president of the Miranda Foundation, Rosa Galindo, insists that it's fortunate that these horses and the Garraf Park have found each other. "On the one hand, their presence aids biodiversity, as they contribute to weeding the Park and spreading seeds, and on the other, they are key to fire prevention, as they are the only large herbivore that devours reeds, an invasive plant that threatens native species and that, when it grows and dries out, is a dangerous fuel."
Rosa, who is one of those people who help you rediscover the pleasure of listening and learning, speaks passionately about the horses in the park, "abandoned and mistreated for the most part and that we have been able to reconnect with nature, letting them live in freedom and in a group, which for them is an ethological necessity." The president of the Miranda Foundation also emphasizes the uniqueness of the Garraf Park, "which is a resilient limestone treasure, a natural wonder connected to my favorite place in the world, which is Sitges."
As we were saying, to enjoy this natural connection with the horses, the Miranda Foundation organizes different activities, which you can consult on their website. One of them is called 'Horses in the Park', where participants follow a route to meet these animals. We had the opportunity to join one of these outings, which was divided into two groups of about 40 people. One was led by Gabriela and the other, ours, by Alicia. This is an ideal outing for the whole family, as it is based on a 5 km circular route through one of the main areas of horse grazing. Alicia and her smile -they never separate for a moment, as you'll see- emphasizes what the president of the Miranda Foundation already told us: "The fact is that the Garraf Park is truly ideal for horses, because they have a 400 hectare space to eat grass, which is what they do 16 hours a day, in total freedom and also in a group, something very important because they are gregarious by nature."
During our outing, our sighting and contact with horses had two names of their own: Flor and Vinya, two of the oldest horses in the herd, close to their thirties and that will probably be spending their last winter in the Garraf Park. Flor, more docile, stopped eating reeds for a while and let herself be caressed and hugged by the younger ones. It's moving to see the connection that takes place between the horses and children. It flows. You notice it. And they notice it.
This special energy transmitted by the horses is the basis of another of the activities organized by the Miranda Foundation: 'Chi Kung in Free Horse Territory'. The facilitator in this case is Gabriela, who defines this proposal as "mindfulness in movement". The participants start the activity soaking up the forest and then go in search of the horses. "When we see them, we start the Chi Kung session and the horses themselves notice that non-invasive energy and come closer to us; it's something very special."
Both Gabriela's and Alicia's smile only fades a little when they talk about the great global threat that also looms over the Garraf Park and its largest herbivores: water scarcity, which they are working against together with the Barcelona Provincial Council. The Miranda Foundation's other great challenge is to increase its income, which at the moment comes from its members -you can join the family through their website-, from sponsoring horses -individually, as a group, as a family or on behalf of an organization or company- and from the activities they organize.
Sitges, nature, free horses, (very) positive energy and a direct contribution to keep that relationship in motion. A decision has hardly ever been so easy, right?