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Many people who live abroad, far away from their homeland, say that they still miss the country they are coming from and that they would like to return someday. No matter if they have a good job and good and quality life, they still feel homesick for the place they came from. That was the case with Ivana Jakopovic, who they call Croatian "horse whisperer".
She is the owner of the farm "Kukurin" on the Jezera on the island Murter where horses, donkeys, dogs live a happy life... Even though she was born in Berlin, where she grew up and where she worked, she always missed Croatia, where she spent her vacations.
She decided on one occasion, so she decided to settle in a country from where she has roots, where she founded her already famous farm.
- Where does your great love for animals come from, especially for horses?
My late grandfather put me on his horse before I started to walk and as my mom says, my love for horses was born since then.
- You were born in Germany, what encouraged you to return to Croatia and stay there?
My vacation prolonged in 2005 and I realized where I wanted to be. Even though I was born in Berlin, something always dragged me back to the homeland.
- How did you come up with the idea to start a farm and is it a hard work for a single woman?
The idea was born after I bought a mare (Moika) and a stallion (Zalet), two Arab horses. People came to see them and they started to ask if they could ride them and so I decided to connect nice and useful. And if you do it with love, it's not hard.
- Describe one day at the farm.
It all depends. Sometimes I have to feed and give water to the animals in the morning and evening. Sometimes I spend the entire day with them and we play.
When we have riding and swimming with horses, then, of course, they need to be groomed and see which one is in the mood for which job that day.
- Why do they call you the "horse whisperer"? In what way are you communicating with them?
Horse whisperer... I don't know, I am talking to all of my animals and I thing that anyone can do it if they listen. I think that I am more of a friend to my horses than the owner.
I never force them to do something they don't want to, similar to us, they have their different moods. I think that if people communicated more with their animals, they would be always happy.
- You saved animals from safe death (especially donkeys) and you found them a new home. Tell us something about this part of your dedicated work.
Yes, everything started with saving donkeys. Djo was a donkey which was supposed to end up at butcher's shop. He always cried when he was left alone when I am not around so I bought him a friend. And that's how I started giving a home to donkeys.
- Is there some animal on the farm you are especially attached to and you wouldn't be able to imagine being without it?
Yes, Zalet (Arabian horse and the father of other horses). He was the love on first sight nine years ago and nothing changed.
- Do other people from Croatia or Balkans ask for help when it comes to communication with horses?
I didn't have those kinds of experiences. I think you should first meet with the animal (horse) for the communication to be possible.
- You organized the races with celebrities. Describe how it looked like.
That was on donkeys, the manifestation "Stars riding". That was a great and a beautiful experience and I would like to thank all stars on participating.
Unfortunately, she had less pleasant experiences with the former and current mayor of the Tisno municipality, which is the reason the organization of the event stopped.
- In addition to the horse and donkeys on the farm, you also have a pig called Gnjuro. Tell us something about him and how he got to the farm.
Gnjuro came to the farm by pure coincidence over the journalist friend who already wrote about him. Although I had such little time for him, and he demands attention and time, I gave him a home at a friends house Lidija in Popovac in the association to help children and animals "Zivot", where he is enjoying his deserved attention.
- What is the experience when swimming with horses in the sea and do you often practice this activity? Does this make a person close to the animal?
It is sufficiently unique and can not be described by words. A lot of people who have experienced this say that I have fulfilled their dreams. And with the temperatures that are constantly above 35 degrees during summer, we bathe almost daily.
- Do you receive visitors at your farm? Do people often ask you to give them the secrets of your work and success?
We have visitors every day and they are always welcome. Some come and bring apples and carrots which amuse horses. If I can give them this unique feeling and it makes someone's holiday nicer, I think of it as a success.
- Are you planning on doing something different in the future or are you certain that you have found your life's calling?
I plan on dedicating myself to the horses, but who knows what will happen.
- Please describe some of the interesting experiences that you had while working with animals. Some interesting situation that happened to you.
It is a unique feeling every time when a new horse comes to this world, how you meet that new little wonder in the first minutes. My oldest wonder is eight and a half years old.
Every terrain riding and bath with new people brings its new experiences and joy, and some even make new friends.
- Who helps you most in work and without whose help you would not be able to function?
I am very grateful for everybody who helps and it wouldn't be possible without them.
(Telegraf.co.uk / A.Taskovic - firstname.lastname@example.org)