The Special Bond Between Women, Horses, and Orangutans

Animals touch our hearts, emotions, senses, and curiosity. They connect us to nature like nothing else and provide a constant reminder of the preciousness of life. We are often blessed to encounter them on AdventureWomen trips and to enjoy them in our lives at home. Here are what our guests and team members say about their mutual passion around connecting with animals.

Carine was on our Indonesia trip this summer where our group spent 4 adventurous days in the remote waterways of Tanjung Puting National Park on Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo).

Mama and baby Orangutan swinging in the trees in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photograph by Meagan O Photography

Mama and baby Orangutan in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photograph by Meagan O Photography

“Watching Orangutans swaying from one tree to the next in the jungle is magical. Sometimes it is as if they are doing yoga poses in the air; they are both graceful and very strong. What took my heart away was to see the baby Orangutans; they are insanely cute. The bond they have with their mother is extremely touching. Their humanity touched my heart and their kindness touched my soul. They are so gentle, I love them! In my heart forever!!!!”

Marianne also joined us on our Indonesia trip. She felt a connection with the Orangutan mama’s as she, too is a mama at home:

“At first it was hearing the rustle of trees that we knew an Orangutan was approaching. Then it was the catching sight of their bright orange hair that made my heart flutter with excitement. Then I was struck by a rush of pure joy and aw when I saw a baby’s face peer out from beneath the mother’s camouflaged coat. I could see how tightly the baby gripped to the mother’s hair, and how much it needed her and this tugged at my own heart.

As a drama therapist I have studied different types of attachments people create in relationships. Here I was witnessing a very strong connection of survival in the jungles of Borneo. I was deeply moved as I am about to send my last son of three off to college. I stand on the precipice of an empty nest and feel sadness that my hands in mothering is over. On this AdventureWomen trip, our guide pointed up into the trees at empty nests. Orangutans build a fresh nest each night and babies must be taught to do this. Around age 7 or 8 the Orangutan mother pushes her child away so they can thrive on their own and in some cases so that the mom can mate again.

Something inside me stirred. I realized that I might be able to look at my empty nest in a new way too thanks to the Orangutan moms. I will be starting a new life with a new nest and so will my kids. And we will build them from a place of love.”

Marianne with an Orangutan mama and baby in the background on our recent AdventureWomen trip to Indonesia. Photo by our guest, Fiona K.

Little baby Orangutan clinging to Mama in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photograph by Meagan O Photography

Susan Eckert, AdventureWomen’s late founder, loved horses, especially Icelandic horses. Here is what she had to say about her experience with them.

“Sixteen years ago, I discovered Iceland and the Icelandic horse after I met a man with a horseback riding business at the Adventure Travel Show in Chicago. He invited me to Iceland to ride what he described as the “legendary and gaited” Icelandic horse. So I went. And I fell in love. And my life changed. Owning horses was never my life plan. But after that trip to Iceland, I knew I had to have THESE horses! Thay have long flowing manes and tails, and their gait (called a tölt) is silky smooth. I’ve had two Icelandic horses at my home in Montana for more than a dozen years now and recommend an Icelandic horseback riding adventure to any woman who’s a good rider. Even after 16 years, I still love this adventure!”


Susan with her two Icelandic Horses, List (L) and Darri (R) and her Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, Scout

Mary just got back from our Icelandic Horseback riding trip where they rode the incredible Icelandic horse. We love her passion for this animal!

Mary and one of the Icelandic horses she rode for a week on her Iceland adventure with AdventureWomen

“Every time I alight into the saddle on top of a horse, I feel awe and humility, feelings that bring me close to tears. That this regal, magnificent creature, whose ancestors carried warriors and kings, is willing to sit docilely for me, a semi-annual equestrian, and do what he’s asked, makes me believe the relationship between men and the equine species is, however tenuous, one of mutual respect and understanding. And when I look in his eyes, I can see the sun, the moon, the stars- a horse’s eyes see the universe, and carry the voices of sages and warriors, voices that if I’m very quiet on my ride, I can hear. Every ride is a mystical transporting experience, and when my feet hit the ground at the end of the day, the syncopation between me and the horse ended, I feel as I have become a better version of myself.”

Mary and one of her beloved Icelandic horses.

High five from their Icelandic horses!

Annie, AdventureWomen’s Marketing Director has had a love affair with horses since she was nine. It took her until 37 to buy her first horse and she has never looked back. Here is what draws her back to these magnificent animals:

“Horses are very intuitive animals. Once you have truly bonded with one, you understand how special the relationship of trust between you truly is. Being a prey animal, you must always be their protector, the alpha in the relationship and yet, I know, that Sailor has my back whenever we encounter a barking or chasing dog, “dangerous” surfboard, beach biker or swooping parasailer out on the trail. Every time I ride him we have a new adventure and every time I come back from the beach, I am refreshed and at peace.”

Do you have a special bond with an animal in your life? Email us about it or tell us on Facebook!