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February 2007

Hi everyone,
 
This newsletter is a few days late, but you are about to see why!
 
Under the auspices of the Cart Horse Protection Association in Cape Town, who do pretty much the same as Bev and her team at the Highveld Horse Care Unit, and I try to do in PE, John and Kevin of the International League for the Protection of Horses took their students through their paces in Farriery and Harnessing.   The ILPH is a worldwide body with the aim of teaching local people new skills that can be used to create self employment and self worth i.e. to do the hoofcare of equines and to make harnessing that is kind and not damaging to donkeys and horses.
 
So, there we were under the beautiful shady trees in Walmer Township.  Virtually all the donkeys owners arrived with their carts and donkeys for a free clean and trim - the excited buzz of the owners mixed well with that of bystanders from the Ward Councillor down to the children at the next door school and the braying of donkeys. In fact two donkeys arrived without their owner they were so excited!  If I say so myself, I was quite proud of our 'lads and ladies' - their donkeys looked good and healthy and the drivers happy to stand and wait their turn.  They were absolutely blown away by the fact that they were being given this treat, although in the future when farriery work needs doing, I will have to pay in to bring some of the farriers through from Grahamstown where most of them live. The CHPA was approached by Annerie in Grahamstown, and she identified 8 men who wanted to learn the 'trade'. The men were sent to Cape Town for 4 modules of up to three weeks at a time where they were intensively trained in farriery and harness making. Between the modules the students continued their learning experience through getting as much practice back as possible in their home towns. This current visit is the third module of the course which is always a field trip to one of the locations of students. The final and fourth module during March is made up of examinations which must be passed before students are credited with a certificate.  So, well done to the new Farriers and Harnessers, thanks to the ILPH who had the vision to set up what they have in many parts of the world (and two such nice fellows!), and to Dee of the Cart Horse Protection Association in Cape Town who manages and facilitates in South Africa this innovative venture and made time and space to come to PE and give me a hand - it is very much appreciated by all interested parties!
 
On Tuesday, the lads in the Northern suburbs of PE had their turn, with much the same results.   Although the last carter to arrive was filled with shock and horror when the saddlers pounced on his donkey's harnessing with scissors and a knife and literally cut it off right under his nose!  However, in a very short period of time, his harness was better fitted and handsewn and he left with a broad smile.  Thanks to Kevin and John for their patience and commitment to detail.
 
Our thanks for this wonderful bonus and promise of things to come to Dee of the Cart Horse Protection Association,  the facilitator of this adventure.

M

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