The Marais shelter in Coutisse

The Marais shelter in Coutisse

Our goal: to save old horses from an undignified death

Our residents saved from the slaughterhouse worked their entire lives. Some were mistreated and saved by our inspectors. Tired, exhausted, they live a peaceful existence in Coutisse. Aged 27 years on average, our old horses are pampered all year round by the staff of the shelter of Marais. We are doing everything we can to ensure that these poor animals come to a peaceful end. We will pursue this initial goal more than ever, and we have even expanded it, because the Refuge du Marais takes in many other animals, such as several ponies, around ten donkeys, goats, sheep, cows, wild boars, ducks and geese, not forgetting our emu and a few more cats and dogs, full members of life on the Marais farm

They all live a peaceful life far from the cruelty of some humans.


In September 1991, a terrible fire ravaged our horse shelter in Fize-Fontaine. The buildings were destroyed but, fortunately, our horses were safe and sound. Following this disaster, we decided to move to Coutisse, not far from Andenne, on 30 hectares of green land, a true paradise for our protégés! It is thanks to generous donations from our members that we were able to acquire a 19th century farm there which we have completely renovated so that the stables can once again house livestock. Two stables were also built there. They are made up of 33 large stalls equipped with all modern comforts.

The life of horses at the shelter of Marais

We currently house 137 horses, most of which are Belgian half-breeds and draft horses who have worked all their lives in the Ardennes forests. Some of them have been working there for more than 10 years! Worn out by these hard years, they can now rest as they deserve.

Among them, the oldest in the field, who has just celebrated his 37th birthday. It comes to us from Rochefort, where it was used for walks. He has been a resident at the Marais refuge since his retirement at the age of 25. Victim of an attack a few years ago, he now walks slightly crooked but he is still just as majestic!

Four people take care of this kingdom dedicated to horses full time. They maintain the property, care for and feed the animals and still find time to offer them the tenderness and affection they need. To achieve all this, you have to get up when the rooster crows! Work begins at 6:30 a.m. It is particularly important to ensure the health of animals. Several times a day, our managers tour the livestock in order to immediately detect the slightest problem. They know all the residents like the back of their hand.

Our big horses, old and tired, risk losing weight more quickly than if they were in the prime of life. They therefore have a full feeder all day long. They can also go out for walks in the meadow, except in cases of extreme frost. Those who no longer work and no longer ride need to practice walking. In fact, they risk becoming stiff if they spend too much time in their boxes! Without daily exercise, they lose their muscles and may have great difficulty getting up if they lie down to sleep. They therefore have the freedom to go outside, for a minimum of three hours a day, and meet in groups for these daily walks.


Godparents for our horses

The Refuge du Marais has been experiencing major financial difficulties for several years. The 132 horses hosted by our association represent a cost amounting to nearly €250,000 per year. It is therefore increasingly difficult for us to welcome new animals in distress. Our resources to provide for the care and accommodation of additional, abandoned or mistreated horses are decreasing from year to year.

This is why we are currently looking for godparents for our sick and disabled horses, who require specific and expensive care. You can discover them in the “horses to sponsor” tab or come to the Marais refuge, by appointment, to choose your godchild. We also organize free open days for our godparents.

Would you like to sponsor a horse from our shelter of Marais?

To become a godfather or godmother of one of our Coutisse horses, we ask for an amount starting from 300 euros per year or 25 euros per month to the account: BE36 0001 2940 6181 specifying the following communication: “MARAIS – horse sponsorship + your name ”

Would you like to sponsor one of our 9 donkeys?

Simply pay an amount from 250 euros per year or 20 euros per month to the account: BE36 0001 2940 6181, specifying the following communication: “MARAIS – donkey sponsorship + your name”

Do you simply want to make a donation to the shelter of Marais?

Pay the amount you want to account BE36 0001 2940 6181, specifying the following communication: “MARAIS – DON + your name”.

As a reminder, we issue a tax exemption certificate to all our donors for donations of 40 euros or more per year.


The lives of our 16 bears at the Coutisse Wild Animal Center

Our Coutisse shleter, near Andenne, still houses 16 majestic bears, notably from the Zwartberg zoo, which closed its doors in 1998, but also from various bear trainers. Wilma, Baloo, Maurice, Alfred, Casimir, Barnie, Borissette and the others, who live their life as wild animals in semi-freedom in several hectares of nature, in a secure and reconstituted environment with water points and dens, are pampered by our caregivers on a daily basis, who feed them and carefully monitor their safety and health. Greedy, they love jam and happily eat pieces of unsold cakes for dessert, generously donated by the region’s bakeries. Satisfied by all the good things we give them to eat, they are docile and are easily approached by our caregivers in whom they trust completely.

Cramique and Robert, 25 and 26 years old, who come from different bear trainers, are also enjoying their well-deserved retirement, after spending years under duress and orders.

Then there is Solange, Nelson, Vodka, Oscar, Canaillou I, Canaillou II and finally, little Babette, one of our youngest bears, who is 11 years old.

Everyone is looking for godparents, or donors to make their lives even better at our Wild Animal Reception Center.

This is why we are calling on you!

The Regulations prohibit visits.

Do you want to sponsor a bear?

Simply send us a minimum monthly amount of 25 euros to account BE05 0001 2168 4375 with the communication “CAAS Sponsorship OURS + your name”

To send them a donation

Send the desired amount to account BE05 0001 2168 4375 with “CAAS DON OURS” in communication

As a reminder, donations of more than 40 euros spread over a year can be included in your tax declaration.

For more information, call us on 02/527.10.50. We will be happy to advise you.


The shelter of Marais in Coutisse is open by appointment only. Please contact the site manager, Laura Noël, on 0474/68.50.16.


Veeweyde – Le refuge du Marais

Rue de l’Etang des Arches
5300 Coutisse
Tél. : 085/84 54 44
Email :

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