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January 2012

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WOWZER!! What a month to start the year.  I sincerely hope that things will settle down sometime very soon.  I sometimes wonder what we would do if we could see into the future – would we run and hide?

 

Our Gift Wrapping fund raising project was a bit of a non-starter but we did cover our costs and we still have materials for December 2012 when we will give it another bash.  My thanks to those generous-with-their-time folk that volunteered to assist.  We are hoping that some of you will be able to assist with our Street Collection for which Dawn is looking for help – you can find her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

On the third day of the year, one of our Friends phoned to say that she was standing in Strand Street, under the Highway, with two donkeys at 7am!  Despite the early hour of the morning and the surprise of the ‘find’, we duly collected the donkeys and brought them home.  Thank you, Ursula!

 

No sooner did we get home than we got a frantic call about 3 horses galloping down Sardinia Bay Road.  The horses were having a whale of a time and the poor grooms were doing their level best to contain  and stop them from running up Boundary Road and having quite a time of it.  As suddenly they had got the taste of ‘freedom’, they quietened down and went back through their gate.  Whew!   (Having seen the mess, many years ago, of a horse after being hit by a vehicle and damage to both the vehicle and passengers, one does not want to think about what could happen.)

 

Sarah Thexton, a Friend who is a professional photographer and who has become very passionate about our donkeys, decided that perhaps a 2012 Calendar would be a good FUNd raising project.   Ably assisted by Ayesha, they trawled through thousands of her pictures, and made their choices and the Monthly Donkey was born.  Sarah hosts her own Facebook page, The Daily Donkey, that has many local and indeed, international ‘likes’, and on which she posts her favourite pictures.   Needless to say, The Daily Donkey has a vibrant daily following, and the Monthly Donkey Calendar has been received with glee by many.  If you would like one of these quite charming calendars, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone her on 079 879 2880. Cost involved for local collection/delivery is A3 R220, and A4 R140.00.

 

The website entertained a hostile gremlin but that only took a few days to sort out and the website is now up and running again.  Thanks to i4africa for their ready support of our IT requirements.

 

Followed by my longest, and one of my best, Carties, phoning to say that he had the opportunity of a job in another province and desperation, as is so common these days, meant that he would have to relinquish his beloved donkeys as he could not bear to sell them into other township hands and knew that however long it took, we would find them good homes.  It  took an entire day to bring the 6 in, especially when Easter Surprise was nowhere to be found!   All’s well that ends well however, and Easter Surprise came ‘home’ again along with ma, pa, aunties and cousins – the whole bang shoot!

 

The Unit facilitates getting jobs for our Carties, and so we organized that Patrick would go and give donkey cart rides to the birthday party guests of Emma, Sarah’s daughter.  Despite  confusion about where and what time, Emma was so excited to have her favourite donkeys, Rich and Yster, come to her party.  Patrick was happy too with payment received.

 

One of our adopted jennies produced a son some months ago and, Little Boy Blue, who, being a colt, thought he was in seventh heaven with two aunties as well as his mum!  So he was admitted for gelding chop chop!  However, a few days after his return home, he blotted his copybook again and was surrendered back to the Unit for rehoming.  I found that once he was with the other young colts, he started learning manners, especially if one of the older jacks was around. His cries for his mum were pitiful, but now he plays most of the day with his New Best Friends.   He looks a bit odd with my haircutting skills, but is still a quite beautiful boy.

 

A number of township complaints about donkeys being stolen were received.

 

African Horse Sickness vaccinations continued unabated including one or two fractious horses that Stanley got the better of.

 

A township jenny’s owner phoned in a panic about her being stabbed, so we brought her in, it being a nasty wound, but believed to not be a knife, but perhaps a sharp branch?  Confusion.  The owner requested that we keep her as she very expectant and should produce quite soon now.  She uses her beautiful eyes to great effect, especially on those visitors with packets! And the watermelon man is back again, it being the season for the fruit!

 

The World Horse Welfare Farriery Course modules that Stanley has been attending over the last 6 months are paying big dividends.  Equine owners are being helped with the knowledge he has gained and hooves put to right. But this meant that Stanley was in Johannesburg for a further two weeks, adding to our load at home.   Thank you, WHW!

 

A stolen donkey that was sold to an ECHCU Friend was brought in until we could establish who it had been stolen from.  It did not take long before donkey and owner were reunited.

 

The Unit was able to assist two of our very old, genteel, donkey ladies to their owners’ new farm and traveled like seasoned professionals.  Now happily ensconsed with their owner, I look forward to their next letter telling me how it is panning out for them.

 

And then came Tuesday the 17th January – surely a day to remember for some time to come.

 

At 12.30 at night, I was summoned to a donkey that had been hit by a car on the Uitenhage Highway.  On arriving with the horsebox, I found the donkey dead with a literally shattered hind leg and exploded abdomen and not a car in sight.  The next problem was to get the other donkeys off the Highway and behind the barriers, as they kept on coming back for their now dead mate that I found I could not load on my own.  A SAPS vehicle was dispatched by 10111, but the Policeman was not interested in assisting.  So I flagged down two vehicles that readily saw the size of the problem and that if I did not get the carcass off the island, the other donkeys could potentially cause another accident.  Shirling, Patrick and Sithembele – you are stars!  Thank you for helping.

 

After a couple of hours sleep, I spent the morning doing necessary administrative jobs.  And was then attacked in my office at the Unit by two young skunks, one a new ‘man’, viciously beaten, robbed of two cellphones, purse, ID, Credit cards.  They in turn did not get away unscathed, being unable to stop my screaming, kicking, punching back.  Idiots!  Clearly they had not been told by those in the know that you NEVER EVER hit me – it brings out the animal in me.   My friends Walmer Police Station, descended en mass and were most supportive, even arranging Trauma Counselling.  You are always told how you should behave in these kinds of situations, but when you are ‘rushed’ in a small space, you regress to your primal state of kill or be killed.  In hindsight, it could have been a lot worse as it so often is for others ‘out there’, and I can’t help thinking about those who are subjected to beatings on a daily domestic basis.  Horrible!   I was only very battered and bruised with my dignity dented and absolutely incandescent with rage at their temerity.  Although the cabinet was unlocked, they missed the Petty Cash and Laptop, so the only money missing was my own.  The External Hard Drive that had all Unit business on it was used to cosh me over the head which broke the jolly thing!   Luckily all information was retrieved and a new Drive bought but this time a shock proof one!  I do believe that I had help from Above that day to give added backup to my donkey wrestling skills and muscles developed over the last few years.

 

I need to say a heartfelt Thank You to all those who commiserated and were so supportive over the next few days – I value your kind words of support and care.  And a Thank You to the person who gave me money to tide me over, because as you know when you cancel your cards it takes a while to get them back, never mind the temporary ID and Drivers Licence that was a mission in itself.  In a short space of time, the cellphone numbers were reactivated, although the change to the email password caused its own problems that have now been sorted!   My voice has also returned to normal as has my own hearing and our investigations continue.

 

As ‘they’ say, life goes on, so other than shaken - but not stirred (to coin a phrase), I was then asked the next day to collect a damaged donkey from Motherwell with the strangest wound on his neck, that is almost healed now.  And having visited, the SAPS Colonel who made the call will be back with treats and threats to groom!

 

After a trip down the coast to do vaccinations, we popped in to see Kleintjie and Laurel in their new home.   Both looking great and much loved, even joining in the evening walks to check the pigs that has become a bonding experience.

 

And then Walmer Police Station effected an arrest!!  Aha!  One cellphone ‘recaptured’.

 

The regular monthly visits to Grahamstown, and soon Humansdorp, have commenced and thankfully, nothing too serious to report.

 

Friend Ayesha and mum, Hildegard, descended on my office and in a blitz, did some furniture moving, which went a long way towards easing my frame of mind.  It is very special to have Friends like these – I am truly blessed.

 

The fact that Hildegard brought a money donation from the UK for the Unit, was soured a bit when the bank refused to accept the ‘old’ R200 note and directed me to the Reserve Bank who then refused to acknowledge the temporary documents issued by my own government and refused me access to the bank.  It was 5 minutes to lunch and closing time, so that also might have been the problem.   This was when I spat my dummy in the carpark! A friend came to my rescue.

 

A visiting German journalist popped in to see how volunteers are used and got treated to a donkey gelding and a new donkey owner from Uitenhage needing harnessing and also was introduced to all the girls and boys!  I also introduced him to a Kragga Kamma Game Park volunteer Ranger and he tells me he will send his article when complete.

 

A Uitenhage Cartie, having over a period of many months, identified where his stolen donkeys were to be found  and with the support of the SAPS, requested help in getting them home.  All I can say is that it was an exceedingly looooong day but worth it when the owners wife burst into tears on their return.

 

A Complaint received meant that Ayanda and I attended to some ponies, one with a hoof well on the way to slipper foot.  Once the reluctant equines were caught on a very hot day, the job was completed.

 

A ‘rescue’ of a horse galloping towards town through Mount Pleasant that was caught and led to a safe haven until ownership could be established was reported.  Thank you so much, Darren!  You saved the day for both of us – the horse and I!

 

Stanley has duly returned and was shocked to hear, like Carties and Friends alike, about the attack.  Me, I was just glad to have him back and happy to have a working External Hard Drive although I have yet to do my December Income and Expenditure Account!

 

A Walmer donkey brought in because of a lameness, like so many others this month, is making steady progress, and now his hooves have been straightened out, his recovery should be rapid.

 

The final Cartie problem this month was on Monday afternoon when the cart was found to have developed a puncture of a wheel this time, rather than a hoof.  With Stanley bringing the donks in by horsebox and me bringing up the rear with my car towing the cart, all was sorted quickly, and finality found this morning with the tyre being sorted by Supa Quick, 6th Avenue.

 

It has all been said before, but I will say it again.  Donations in whatever form are really appreciated and for which we are very grateful, so Thank You to you all, although I am aware that there are folk who have also been generous without giving us their names but in the blur of the past month we apologise for not asking for your details but thank you nonetheless:

 

Nicky – grass roll

Jonathan – ready mix leavings

Adele – donated tack

Gina – donated blanket and boots

Melany – what appeared to be a ton of carrots.

Fiona – Bonaqua Pump bottles and boxes of Epson Salts

Rhoda  – 10 self addressed envelopes with stamps for her copy of the newsletter

Sandy – December financial donation direct to the Bank Account

Westering Methodist Church – excess bread donated for their Creche and that the donks find so toothsome

?? - 50 kg bag cubes

Nicky – ready mix leavings and grass

Petra – a big bucket of disinfectant

Rachel – assisting on her Saturday morning with haircuts and bread breaking and grooming.

EP Cricket – grass cuttings, and

Barbi – making grass while the sun shone, the donkeys raising a racket when they spy her bakkie coming down the road!

 

The Fund Raising Committee at its recent meeting has set out a Plan of Action for the year and we hope that all our plans come together!

 

Banking Details:
Bank:  Standard Bank    Universal Branch Code:  051001
Account: Racing Association, National Horse Trust (all donated monies are used by us in the Metro and beyond!)
Account Number: 080563473
 
Landline:  041 366 1594
Cellph: 072 357 2505
Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website:  www.echcu.co.za
Facebook: East Cape Horse Care Unit

 

Finally, WELCOME FEBRUARY and some glorious rain after the extreme heat and humidity we have experienced in January! 

 

M

PS - Sorry it has been a long one, but you need to know the facts.  TIP:  ALWAYS lock the door/gate behind you!

 

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