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November 2010

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And so to the penultimate newsletter for the year, the next being due in January 2011 reporting on December 2010.  It has been an extraordinary year filled with fun, tears, laughter, heartache but in the end, the horses and donkeys have received our and your best.  

We also thank once again, the MOC Foundation, Sentratec and i4africa.com for the new Website that you can now access at www.echcu.co.za .  I will continue to send out the email newsletter as normal but it will be available on the website.  I hope you have as much enjoyment reading the site as I did putting it together.   It will be updated from time to time and will include, under Galleries, Horses & Donkeys available for Adoption.

Now, to proceed to the whittling down of the Daily Diary so you can read what we have been up to.

A call received by a concerned adoptive parent about her donkey escaping due to someone not shutting the gate properly as well as letting other horses out from another property.   The Neighbourhood Watch was alerted and in a short space of time, all the animals were returned to their correct places.

One of our Carters arrived with a stabbed tyre!  Well, I guess I should be grateful – rather the tyre than a donkey!   I mean, it IS that time of the year again!

Martie who came in with dyspepsia was treated with muti donated by 9th Avenue Clinic and made a full recovery and was returned home in due course.

I was a bit shy when one of my friends who is involved with the Apple Express said she had noticed me running after donkeys who were heading for the train lines and expressed her surprise at my speed.  Boesman was being protective of ‘his’ mares and doing all he could to chase them away, into the path of the train so yes, you could say I was running!

A donkey that we had brought in for treatment was returned to her grateful owner but not before the hooves were trimmed by Ayanda.

Preparations were helped along for the adoption of three of our donkeys to pull a cart/mow the lawns/petting at a local hotel.  Our harnessing made at the Unit, bridles made up from your old leather stirrups/reins by Eric in Grahamstown being put to good use.

Stanley was asked by a Walmer Gqebera owner to take his dog and to the Animal Welfare Society for euthanasia as it was old.  Done!

I wrestled for quite a few days to balance my Income and Expenditure account for the National Horse Trust Accountant, to whom I report every month.

Complaints received of donkeys at various places were attended to and the donkeys sent packing home.  Of course, many times you go for two and land up finding a couple more on their, and your way, home.

The receipt of this email from the Foster parent of two of our old donkey jennies had me rolling with laughter at 5.30 in the morning (that’s is the only time I get to do emails!):

The madams are on heat again, they could teach the harbour ladies a thing or two about advertising their services..........
I suppose they felt the need to walk the streets because I fired them. They are totally refusing to cut the long grass in the cages or anywhere for that matter, and spend their lives nagging for the good stuff that comes in the bags. The strike had gone on for about a month and in the end I just told them they could find employment elsewhere. They found that hilarious and immediately adopted squatter status and invoked their personal right to freedom of choice as to what they will or won't eat. We might renegotiate once the grazing goes down again!

Our yearly donation of African Horse Sickness Vaccines from the Thoroughbred Breeders Trust was received a month ago, and this has meant vaccinations left, right and centre – leading to sore hands at the end of most days.   I am happy to report that of the 180 (x 2) doses given to horses has meant that I have retained most contacts who require this service, and of the 180 x 2 horses involved, there are only 4 horses that are of concern.  A lot of these equines, who when we started out were needing help, now look great.    Our thanks to the Thoroughbred Breeders Trust for their magnificent sponsorship.

The Stables have been a busy place too this month with people popping in and dropping of fodder donations.   In many cases, they are doing this because the feed is ‘old’ and they are getting new fodder in.   We thank you as it is all grist for our mill!

Complaints and requests for advice have been received and been attended to, most with the recipient of the complaint being gracious about their being ‘reported’ and any necessary tweaking here and there.

And then, another generous sponsorship of a lift to visit Mthatha to meet Janine and her hordes of equines requiring anything from a deworming to a new bridle, numnah, bit, attention to saddle sores and the most horrific branding wounds.

Ayesha Cantor, driver, and Angela Powell were my traveling companions and 5 hours later, we duly arrived.  We perhaps should have gone to bed earlier the night before, but didn’t, and then the first horses started arriving at 6.30am!

I lost count of the people coming for help but the following applies:
Dewormed 40 at Unit expense.
Bridles made by Janine
Numnahs donated from your donations to the Unit.
Bits – some of yours and some of Janine’s.

…and that was just the first two groups!

We scurried back to PE after a furious 5 hours of treating and fitting bits, bridles etc.

…and then got a phonecall at 8pm to say that our donkeys had broken out of their camps and could we please come and get them in again!

A call from the AACL led to Stanley (he with the muscles) and I to Mission Road to a dead donkey on the roadside.    Patsy was waiting for us and was given a red flag to slow the traffic down while we loaded the carcass…. Only to find that she was in fact alive and unable to stand, heavily in foal but with massive trauma to the abdomen, possibly by being hit by a big vehicle.   We commandeered 2 bystanders to assist with loading her into the horsebox and, having made a decision, drove straight to the Kragga Kamma Game Park.  Luckily for us, Dr Dave was present, and gave the go ahead for euthanasia as she was clearly in extremis.   Shame, man.

A really good article by Claire Fulton on the activities of the Unit was published in HQ Pony magazine.  Our copy safely in the file!  Well done and thank you, Claire.

A panicked call from a Langa, Uitenhage man had us looking at his donkey with hairless shoulders and not from harnessing either.  It appeared the donkey had a mite infestation and hopefully this is now a thing of the past after treatment.

Liezl and Stanley were invited to watch Flo Vernon give Treloar a Dressage lesson and came back suitably impressed with the whole gedoente.

Orders for Donkey Bits and Cotton Webbing for our harnessing for both donkeys and horses, were placed in Johannesburg, paid for and received in due course.

A special invitation for lunch with my lawyer and his PA was most enjoyable midday break and my new Taxman very proficient in sorting out my personal tax.

The trip to Grahamstown was exhausting one way and t’other.  Towing the horsebox there to collect Pantsi and take her back to her owner was tiring but it was good to see how well Jane at SPCA had fixed her at minimal cost, and the face of the owner who had thought he had seen the last of his donkey. A jerry can of water is becoming a regular ‘take with’ as their townships have not had water for 3 months!  I was shocked to hear on arriving that one of the carters who was always smiling and willing to do the ‘right thing’, had been axed to death by 8 other men.  As a lot of the Carters had gone to his Funeral that morning, our duties were not quite as onerous as usual.   And then I was presented with a bottle of wine and some chocolates as a Thank you by the ROAR Students.   The chocolates did not make it back to PE as I needed the sustenance to drive in the howling gale. 

And then my computer bit the dust!   But was fixed quite quickly thank goodness, allowing access to my Inbox.

A visit to a town down the coast with Ayanda to do horse trims was an enjoyable morning with an amazed Ayanda seeing The Big Tree in the Tsitsikamma Forest for the first Time.   We then proceeded to get lost in the Baviaanskloof which was quite an experience – we never did find the problem horse!

Stanley and volunteer Stefan went off to Kwanobuhle, Uitenhage to collect a dead donkey reported to us by the SPCA.  On taking hold of the carcass, both Stan and Stefan got shocked so clearly the donkey was electrocuted.  Stanley and Stefan all OK.

A report of a turned over cattle truck near Paterson and with potential animals in trouble in the trailer was dealt with through the SAPS.

On the way to another callout I came across Isobel and Lloyd of Riding For Horses on the Sardinia Bay Road.  (Feed and Seed took the opportunity of loading leavings onto our bakkie while we were chatting.) The two of them are almost at the end of their riding their four horses around the borders of South Africa to bring attention to African Horse Sickness and raise money for their proposed permanent clinic in northern former Transkei.   On their asking me where they could keep their horses in Summerstrand I offered them a camp for their horses for the night.  I just could only imagine how my phone would go berserk with Summerstrand residents complaining about horses in their area.     Lloyd and Isobel arrived and the horses seemed to enjoy just lying down and chilling and making friends with the other donkeys and horses.  

We assisted them to ‘get around’ PE the following morning, dropping them off at Sea Ark International with the help of Cornelius on the other side of Coega.   Go well Lloyd, Isobel, Himba, Fever, Tarwood and Roan. And thank you for your kind donation towards our Funds too!

As I was saying, I was on a callout by SPCA Humansdorp to collect a donkey with a lame and very swollen hind leg.  We found and loaded Gordon without too much problem and got an assessment from the Vet and it was decided to give it a few days of antibiotics.  But it was not to be.  On putting him in the camp, we found his spine skewed to one side and he walked on the inside and toe of the hoof.  We decided to euthanase and I am so glad we did.   Post Mortem we cut the hind leg off and had it X-rayed where it was revealed that a carcinoma of the bone was the problem.  The photograph I took of the digital X-ray is quite frightening and it must have been unbelievably painful and clearly of long-standing.

We have a regular sponsor who pops in at the Stables and brings mouthwatering Cappuchino coffee and choc-chip muffins from time to time – and for which we are all so grateful!

The Animal Welfare Society won a prize to have a Christmas Party at Lighthouses at the Boardwalk and invited us to come along.   Liezl, Stanley and I had a lovely evening with AWS staff and with delish food to boot.

On the last visit to Humansdorp for the year, I was accompanied by Angela who was smitten by Shaun’s three mules that she met when they had their 2nd AHS vaccination.

A request received from our Izinyoka Carter to bring his two donkeys in for the Festive Season was done, simply because this is the safest place for them.

FUNd Raising initiative MOVEMBER?   It’s a men’s fundraising and fun event where guys grow their moustaches for the month of November.

The purpose of MOVEMBER is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys, and to raise funds for Animal Care Centres. In our case, we chose ECHCU as our main beneficiary.

Participating men gathered at our house on Sunday 31st October, clean-shaven. Boerewors rolls and beer were the order of the day. Men were instructed to go out there and grow their MO’s, encouraging colleagues, friends, families, business associates etc. to go for a check-up and to raise funds for Member’s charities.

Participants received regular updates throughout the month via e-mail and through the Facebook page. Photos during the month were also posted up. The final Sunday 28 November brought together a bevy of moustaches, together with their families. Potjiekos and more beer all sponsored at the cost of Kragga Kamma Game Park and the Cantor Family. Prizes were awarded to:

MO Grow – grooviest Mo, Robbie Powell
Mighty MO – Trophy for the best MO – Michael Hubsch
Slow MO – Accidentally shaved it off and had to start again, Alan Trollip
Mini MO – Dale Wait
NO MO Show – forgot to grow a MO – Phillip Darne
MO Fro – most unruly – Stuart Brafdord
Old MO – Wally Holmes (sorry ‘bout that )
MO Jo – Hugo Hurtle
MO Dough – most $$ raised – Shaun Bentley
MO Eina – lip injury due to growing a MO – Chris Vorster
No MO – Dave Evezard
Moaning MO – Christ Lester
And lastly, MO HO – Coane Stark ;)
With some donations still coming in, the amount raised thus far stood at R9000.00.
Altogether a successful event, we look forward to MOvember 2011 !

WITH GREAT MOUSTACHE COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY

A delightful Sunday afternoon was enjoyed at the hand-over Ceremony on the 30th November.   The Unit would like to thank all participants for their fortitude in growing their MO’s, to their spouses who had to put up with prickly kisses and to the Cantors for all their persuasive ways and of course, for the MOolah!

A number of horses and donkeys have been adopted out this month, much to Alfred’s (the groom) delight.

Treloar Childs has made 6 pottery horses for sale by the Unit at a cost of R80.00 and she also dropped off Sailor’s (her horse!) birthday money as a donation as Sailor was more than happy with the carrots he got on his birthday.  Get your Pony now!

The final day of the month of November was a real corker!   My 4th Grandchild was born in the morning, the Website was ready and went live and two horses were surrendered to the Unit for adoption.  This was in addition to a number of AHS vaccinations taking place, a Complaint that has already been dealt with, and a couple of Adoption applications!

And, to my Staff, Stanley, Liezl and Alfred:  thank you for doing what you do so well – you make a big difference to me and to the horses and donkeys that visit with us and also your work with the Carters.

I look forward to your comments about the Website if you have one, and finally,

We wish you all a very Happy Christmas!

M

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