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Tula Vida Foundation

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Welcome to the Tula Vida Foundation!  

Watch our video to find out more about us and how you can become part of this positive energy:

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Join Our Herd 

Our mission is to rescue and rehabilitate horses in
Costa Rica and to provide transformational
horse experiences for those in need.
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We are committed to the welfare and empowerment of both horses and humans and we believe that bringing them together in a mindful way can be insightful and healing for both.  

With your help we can support more horses and bring their healing gifts to those who may not otherwise have access.

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The Story Of Tula Vida Foundation

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Tula Vida Foundation was inspired by a small, old grey pony.

 

He was brought to us in urgent need of medical care, food and love.  He had previously been a pack horse and was terrified of people.  He had a number of chronic conditions but we promised him we would do our best, that he did not have to work anymore and could live out his days in peace and comfort.  

We named him Tarzan for strength and courage, and because he came to us from deep in the jungle.

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After lots of medical and physical care, food and love he started gaining strength and trust - and showing us his sweet, brave and hilarious personality: running to the guava tree to check for fallen fruit (and for his shelter at the first drop of rain) and doing a double-check of the feed bucket with his little snuffly nose to get every last scrap.  

 

He put weight on, improved his coat and feet, he finally stopped coughing and started running and playing!  

Just like humans, horses have mental and emotional needs, as well as physical, and will only relax and play when they feel safe to do so.  So the first day he came up to us and actually asked for human touch and connection was a happy day! And after a while he would come running to the gate whenever he saw us.  Trust from a horse with his background is a big deal.

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Our veterinarian asked us which Foundation was going to pay for his rehabilitation and care…at that point we were funding it all but it wasn’t sustainable.  

At the same time as this seed was planted, we were seeing first-hand the impact of excessive stress on people during the pandemic and other global or personal challenges, with clients who were able to travel showing up in urgent need of a reset and rebalance.

We were witnessing how incredibly healing it is for people to be here in abundant nature, connecting with the horses.

 

So we started thinking - what if we can help more horses like Tarzan and also support more people to come here and benefit from being around them?

And so the idea for Tula Vida Foundation was born!

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Sadly, after 6 months of enjoying a well-fed, safe and happy life where he was recognised for the wise old soul that he was, Tarzan passed away suddenly in his field, under his favourite tree, with his mouth still full of grass.   

 

While we were incredibly sad to lose him, we are also very happy he had a chance to feel good, to feel loved and to enjoy his life for his final months.  

 

And his legacy, the Tula Vida Foundation, was started.  

 

Follow us on social media to see the progress of our latest rescue horse and to find details of sponsored horse experiences.

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With your help we can support more horses like Tarzan and bring their healing gifts to those who may not otherwise have access...

What Tula Vida Foundation Does

Tula Vida Foundation uses all of its funds to:

 

  • Support the physical, mental & emotional needs of our existing (and future) rescue horses and other local horses in need of support; 

 

and

 

  • Sponsor or subsidize transformational horse experiences and retreats in Costa Rica for a number of frontline workers, military personnel, healing arts professionals, and/or marginalized adults (as many as funds can support, but a target of at least 2 per year).  

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Why We Do What We Do

Horses supporting Humans

 

At Tula Vida, we create transformational horse experiences where people interact with horse partners in a mindful and non-verbal way, feeling the peace and positive energy of becoming part of the natural world, connected in the herd, slowing down and listening to the insights offered by inner wisdom and instincts when the busy brain is quiet and still. 

“The Physician treats, but nature heals.” Hipocrates

Cutting-edge studies in the fields of body and brain science, as well as mental health, now show the significant benefits of being in nature and being around horses as a powerful way to calm the nervous system, learn to self-regulate and co-regulate, create connection and relationships, process difficult events and generally feel more of a sense of happiness and well-being.

During 2021 we saw and felt first-hand, in our retreat clients from the US, Canada and Europe, the real and pressing need for a reset, healing and rebalance (after the pandemic and other challenges of 2020 onwards).  After so much fear and disconnection, we believe that experiences with horses is essential healing for people, and want this to be available regardless of economic situation – and so we created this as part of the mission of Tula Vida Foundation.

 

If you are interested in learning more about how horses can help us, see our Why Horses page on the Tula Vida website. 

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Horses, just like humans, feel safe and content in the world through attunement - the process of connection with others - which means “being seen, being heard, being felt and getting gotten.”
(Sarah Schlotte of Equusoma)

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Humans supporting Horses
 

Providing a safe, supportive, compassionate and empowering space is of utmost importance for our clients – and it is also essential for the mental, physical and emotional health of horses.  

 

Sensitive, often stoic animals, horses have individual needs and also herd needs - and we make sure we are listening.

Costa Rica culture celebrates and loves horses and yet still, for various reasons (such as habit, lack of knowledge or resources), many horses are treated with a heavy hand, seen as work tools, left to fend for themselves in a field or sent to the meat market when they are no longer “of use”.  There are also those horses whose owners simply cannot afford to provide veterinary or other special care when needed.

 

All of the current Tula Vida horses came to us with a different story, but each in urgent need of a safe and loving home.  They live together with space to forage, roam, play, rest and graze peacefully.  They are gifted teachers and healers for everyone who comes here, welcoming each person into the horse herd to find what they need.

 

As word spread locally, more rescue horses started to show up - like Tarzan (see above).  We  realised this is part of our purpose here in Costa Rica and the idea of Tula Vida Foundation horse rescue was born.  

To learn more about our work and the progress of the individual horses, sign up for our newsletter on the Tula Vida homepage and follow us on social media (icons at the bottom of the page).

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We are committed to the welfare and empowerment of both horses and humans and we believe that bringing them together in a mindful way can be insightful and healing for both.  

With your support, more horses can enjoy a healthy and happy life and bring their natural healing gifts to those who need it most.

The Tula Vida Foundation Team

Eric Kolesar and Sally Nilsson, Co-Founders of Tula Vida
 

Gretchen Morgan of Lighthouse Counseling and Nora Kenney, Board Members of Tula Vida Foundation

How You Can Help...

Give

Any donation you make, whatever amount, is appreciated and will all go towards the horses and sponsoring horse experiences according to our mission statement.

Share

Please help us spread the word about Our Mission – every like or share could mean one more person has a life-changing experience.

Shop

Our online store will be available soon and all profits will go to Tula Vida Foundation – watch this space (or sign up for our newsletter on Tula Vida homepage to stay in touch). 

Join Us

Come and visit Tula Vida in Costa Rica for a horse experience! 

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Thank you in advance for your support!

Together we can provide a safe, loving home for our wise, unique and noble horse friends.
 

Together we can bring joy, healing and peace to the lives of people who really need it through the natural world and interactions with horses.
 

Together we can offer refuge or support for horses who have worked hard or are destined only for slaughter - they deserve to be appreciated and cared for.
 

Together we can spread the idea that both horses and humans are sentient beings with mental, emotional and physical needs, and lead by example in changing the way we treat each other.