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August 2008

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I was led to believe that the first day of September was the start of Spring, but clearly this is not the case these last 24 hours!
 

August has flown past in a flash, what with emergency root canal work on my tooth and all the ‘normal’ business of a Horse Care Unit.   Certainly the days have been long and busy, but satisfying nonetheless!

SUNLIGHT

Poor little Sunlight had to come and stay with us again with a plastic colic.  It entailed an early evening collection from a distant township.  Luckily for her, the Vet was happy to come back to treat her after hours, and a few days later, she was returned home, hale and hearty.

 

Unlike the poor donkey mare from the same township that just could not make it and lay down and died.  This of course leaves the owner with only one donkey, so he is out there, trying to find another one.

 

It is not often that we don’t win and are unable to take back a repaired animal to its owner, but it is still sad.

MORNING RUSH HOUR

We have had occasion, in amongst many anxious phonecalls from motorists and reports on the radio, to guide donkeys back to Walmer township this month.  There is much clearing away on 5th Avenue so that industrial buildings can be erected and this has severely impacted on grazing land that the donkeys were using which has meant that they have to travel further and this leads to them heading into Walmer suburb.

 

Most of the times, the donkeys were all ‘hanging out’ together, which makes the task much easier, obviously, although it is difficult to get them across roads in a bunch.  On one occasion, the herd had split, which meant that Craig was left with his herd while I went off in the bakkie for the others. There was even one donkey that we did not get contacted about, but who found us!  And he showed how happy he was to see his friends and us!  

 

I find that most motorists react to the hand waving and red flags and lumo jackets by slowing down, and in many cases, get a smile on their face – either to see us belting around on foot in the traffic, or perhaps it is the way the foals pig root, biting their chums on the neck and wanting to play!!

THE ONGOING SAGA OF VRYDAG

This month, sanity prevailed and Moses, the owner of Vrydag, the Hinny who was trying to be too friendly with Brad’s mares and weanlings, agreed to have Vrydag gelded.

 

All went according to plan, and Vrydag is now back in harness and working, none the worse for his operation. 

 

Having finished watching that Rugby Match against the Aussies on the 23rd, I drove home in a blue fug.  I was quite surprised to find Brad’s wife standing on the side of the road with Vrydag mingling with some cows on the Schoenies Road.   Knowing that he was going to be difficult to catch I asked her to assist me to get a halter and rope on him.  However, before we could get organized, Vrydag took off at a trot towards town.   I had no option but to follow in the bakkie, and knowing that there was still traffic around, took out one of our new homemade red flags and put it out the window as a warning to traffic.    

 

I was amazed that he never stopped trotting until he got near the AWS gate, which I opened and he entered, walking calmly down to the camps, and in through the gate and dived nose deep in the fodder!!

 

Nobody must tell me donkeys are dull/stupid/dof or anything else of the kind!  I think he is the cleverest donk I have ever met.

DOG ATTACK

Chillingly, I was brought a donkey foal of not more than about 3 months old that had been attacked by dogs.   Classic dog attack methods had been used, as would happen with game, and that meant serious dog bites to the hindquarters and hind legs as well as the front legs.  Poor little thing, she really was/is in a mess!

 

Again, we made use of the Vet’s operating table to clean up the mess and try to find all the holes.   She had a nice thick winter coat, and there was hair everywhere, and the more we cut the hair, the more we found the wounds (Your picture is attached).

 

She was very traumatized but lay like a lamb while we were busy sorting her out and putting in stitches.  When we got home, she went into a camp with her mumkins.  The next morning she was up and about early but a very cold wind was blowing.  So we out with the foal horse blanket that someone had donated some time ago that offered some protection from the breeze on the now bare, bruised and cut, skin.

 

Although it will be a long battle to get her healed, it is so nice to find her in the camp swishing her tail in the sunlight (on a good day) with the added bonus of mommy allowing her to drink!

 

There was another little donkey in another township some time ago who had a similar problem with dogs, leaving his face full of holes and in a lot of pain.   I am happy to report that he has made a full recovery although he does not like dogs much anymore!

GELDING

As part of our township work includes repairs to donkey stallions that have been fighting for the attention of the donkey lasses.  Sometimes the foals at foot gets in the way too!

 

Therefore, we have been approached more and more frequently since ‘planting the seed’ to geld donkeys and horses.   This month has been a bumper month, including one owner with three horses.  He is delighted to have the gelded fellows back knowing that fighting will be, hopefully, a thing of the past. And he threw in a colicking horse just for variety too!

RECYCLING

My best friends will tell you I am all for recycling in any shape or form.   Many donations have been received from members of the riding community in Port Elizabeth. 

 

Some of the donations of unused/unwanted tack has been found to be in not bad shape.  At the suggestion of a tack shop, it has been decided to make that which cannot be used by donkey carters or in reasonable shape available to people who might like to buy them as standbys or working tack instead of using show tack.

 

Some of the items available are stirrup irons, various bits (including two cranks), a saddle, horseblankets and numnahs.

 

Monies obtained from the sale of tack will be banked in the Unit account to further the work with donkeys and horses in ‘uncomfortable places’.

 

Should you be interested in seeing what is available, we will be open on a Saturday morning from 8 to 9am from the first Saturday in September.  You will find that the AWS gate is closed, but if you give me a missed call on 072 357 2505, I will open for you.

ADOPTIONS AND FOSTERING

There was a man this month that decided to give his wife a donkey for her birthday!  We were able to adopt out Chocolate after an Adoption Agreement had been signed.  He is now in a place with loads of grass and free access to water and an adoptive mom who is absolutely smitten with him.

 

We currently have one gelded donkey and two jennies that are looking for homes.  If you know someone who is looking for a companion animal or, as one adopter calls them, lawnmowers that need very little maintenance, please let me know by email or phone.

REHOMED THOROUGHBREDS

If you check the HHCU website, www.horsecare.org.za, you will find that Fritz Haas has a blogspot.  They, his wife and himself, adopted one of the ECHCU horses and he gives a regular update on their combined ‘adventures’.

 

There is another adopter in East London, who regularly gives reports on the status of her adoptee.   I get pictures in the mail and regular phonecalls updating us on his steady progress to jumping stage (with a beautiful bascule).

 

It is so good to know that horses that have been surrendered to our care have gone on to find, or have been found by, caring owners.   Both the above horses were not in a good place mentally or physically when they arrived, but have gone on to look like the real thoroughbreds they are.

 

Well done to both these ‘parents’.

DONKEYS IN HISTORY

Just recently I saw a short article in the Weekend Post about Donkeys that are trotting off into the sunset after 200 years.  I think that that is quite sad – so many children deprived of a donkey trot at the beach!

 

This referred to donkey rides offered for trots at Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs.  The article goes on to say that in 1790, Margate (UK) became the first beach in Britain to have donkey rides and since then, countless children have had the joy of trotting down the beach on the back of a donkey.

 

Then, my friends Bruce and Sandra, thought I would like a copy of The Donkey Charter on CD.  The Donkey Charter is an ‘ancient’ document protecting donkeys being used for beach trots in Blackpool and the CD is a little ditty about riding donkeys on Blackpool beach by someone who has fond memories of doing just this.

WEBSITE

I have managed to put the newsletter in the ECHCU section of the Highveld Horse Care Unit.  It was done with much trepidation and with more than a little help from a friend!  Thank you, Friend!

 

This does not mean that you will not get your own personal copy of the newsletter – I will send that out as per normal.   But on the web, if you are registered I and AP (Interested and Affected Party), you can add your comment if you wish.

 

Double click on this address www.horsecare.org.za and it will take you straight there

M

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