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December 2008

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Firstly, I wish you all a very Happy New Year! 

We have had a very busy December month, which accounts for the fact that I did not send out the newsletter yesterday – I was not capable of stringing one sentence together, let alone a newsletter!  I am faring a little better today so hopefully this newsletter will be interesting and readable.  My apologies!

FESTIVE SEASON ACTIVITIES

Aside from the very sweet and shy proferring of a R20 note from a donkey owner in the township as a ‘Christmas Box’ (it was all about the thought!) to me, we have had all sorts of phonecalls.

Various folk phoned and asked for a Carter to do a specific job like removing garden refuse (normal) and others found themselves being approached to bring their carts to Children’s Parties to drive Santa around when he came to deliver his presents, and to give the children a joyride. It just depended on who was the nearest Carter to the venue as to who was approached.  In all cases, they were handsomely rewarded and were extremely grateful for the unusual work and did not let me down.

We also assisted with a wedding that made the second page in The Herald!  A young lady from Walmer Township had requested a horse drawn carriage for her nuptials at Walmer Town Hall.  The only person who was willing to do the job was one of my horse owners who lives in Kwazakhele.

On the Saturday morning, I met him in the township and we proceeded to the Bride’s home where we were met with jubilation by a large crowd of singing, dancing and ululating people.   Socks and Britman gave a new meaning to ‘bombproof’ – they stood without batting an ear for ages while the bride got ready.   When the time came to get the bride to the ceremony, I asked for and got splendid assistance from the local SAPS substation to get the bridal cart, escorted by many cars all with hooters tooting and some very happy people singing, across Heugh Road at 9th Avenue, down to Main Road and to the Town Hall with the horses taking everything in their stride.

The bride and her bridesmaids along with the father of the bride, were resplendent on the cart and I was just so proud to be part of it all and to be able to ensure that the horses completed the task without problems or injuries.

Of course, Murphy was not finished with us yet.   On leaving the venue to get the cart home, following down and up Target Kloof, and down Albany Road, all was perfectly fine until Socks happened to see a branch that had obviously fallen off a vehicle in the middle of the road!  I roared with laughter when he napped at it!  After all the noise and people, he spooks at this innocuous item!!

The owner of the horses is a gentle gentleman and his horses well behaved and very well trained and so the whole morning was a pleasure and a real traffic stopper as people watched the passing show!

AFRICAN HORSE SICKNESS

Thanks to the generous donation of AHS vaccines by the Thoroughbred Breeders Association we have been furiously vaccinating both inside and outside the local townships, starting with the horses, they being the most important.  We are doing a deworming at the same time.

I think after the shock of so many horses dying at the beginning of 2008, very few people are reluctant to have the vaccinations done and when asked to keep the animals in, it is done willingly, so we are getting very good coverage.  Other problems have been found and are being dealt with.

SAFETY AND SECURITY

In an effort to keep the donkeys safe, a number of township Carters felt it was safer to leave their animals with us.   This meant that we did not do quite as much running around chasing, but unfortunately there were two donkeys that met with serious misfortune on Boxing Day, or should I say a most unfortunate person who clearly had an attitude problem. 

Having been summoned by two extremely agitated owners to come and collect their animals, we were able to get them stitched up and sorted and safe in the camp. 

I don’t think anyone realizes how thankful the owners are that they are able to call on us anytime to handle a problem!

NAMING

On township visits, I am frequently asked to name donkey foals.   I try and operate in a positive way and give the foal a positive name, but sometimes I struggle to think of an appropriate name – so now we have started giving out sweet names, like Bar One and Smartie(s).   Clearly this is going to be a ‘sweet’ year, rather than the ‘flower’ year from previously!  And it is better than the inevitable Lady - we even have an owner with a Lady 1 and Lady 2!!

SUMMER HOLIDAY CAMP

A generous gesture by a landowner in Lovemore Park has allowed a number of donkeys to enjoy a Summer Camp  during December and January – all that space and grass is not what they are used to!  And the owners know that their animals are in a safe place for the present and have indicated their thankfulness.  Thank You!

Well, on with the new year – May you have a gr8 one!

M

 

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