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August 2012

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Well? What can I say?  A carefully hidden secret since March led to a very successful surprise Birthday for my son when I visited to celebrate it with him Down Under during August.  The first proper Leave I had had for three years aside from a couple of day off here and there with family and friends, I really needed it.  To really ‘let loose’, my son and daughter in law paid for me to join my son, and jump out of a perfectly functional airplane in a tandem skydive (Paul, you were amazing!) at 12,000 feet.  Can’t tell you if it was brave or crazy, but what an experience, along with cuddling the odd koala, kangaroo and kamel, er… camel.  And never forgetting Thomas, the only horse I know with his own business card.  Thomas pulls an old style tram from Victor Harbour over a looong wooden bridge to an island close to shore and what a ride it was.  What a gentleman! 
 
This retreat was taken on with some trepidation as to how the Unit staff would cope for an extended period.  I made every plan I could think of to make their job a doable and with thanks to Tracey, Treloar and Sarah for being backup.   But I should never have worried.   With a strong esprit de corps they did a very good job aside from the odd wobble but clearly the donkeys have rubbed off on them – docile, hardworking, perservering, tolerant, accepting of any behavior.  Well done, Stanley, Alfred and Tom!  It is good to work with you.
 
A callout by SPCA Humansdorp for 2 horses near Hankey was resolved when the owner also showed up scratching his head as to how his horses had strayed so far away – 15kms!
 
A midnight delivery of a surrendered horse – due to changed owner circumstances – has meant that Rigby, a beautiful Appaloosa has been with us for a while waiting to be gelded before being adopted out.
 
As so often happens, a reported stray horse on the highway near Van Stadens had disappeared before Stanley could get there.
 
Martin donated an old bath tub and the guys had a great time installing it in the tree camp.  This gesture will mean that the twice daily filling with water is no longer necessary as the plastic half drum that had been used before could not keep up with water demand.
 
A Walmer Carter phoned to request his donkeys be collected as they were ‘not happy’, ie, lame.   They were duly collected, repaired and returned to their owner.
 
A horse that we are currently working with improving managed to cut his heel.  The necessary visit was done and veterinary instruction taken as to the treatment thereof.
 
A number of donkey complaints were received and dealt with, including a couple of very late night calls.   Thanks to AWS’s Hannes who took the calls and passed them on to Stanley often on his own trying to find the animal in the dark (not easy!) and the reporter having left the scene.
 
A number of hoof trimmings were carried out, some of them arising out of old complaints originally received from members of the public. 
 
Another complaint of a neighbouring stallion breaking fences and letting other horses out was dealt with as far as possible.
 
A magnificent chestnut gelding Thoroughbred racehorse was donated and is currently standing with another potential adoption.  We thank the donor for giving us the opportunity to find good homes for these animals.
 
There is a book called “There is more to life than surface” by KateTurkington (I think) and any Inspection/Investigation/Complaint is undertaken with due process and for obvious reasons, is confidential and the same courtesy would be afforded you should you be the recipient of a Complaint.   There had been ‘viral’ emails, phonecalls, smss received by both Stanley and I.  The necessary visit was done and the horse surrendered to the Unit.  It was most interesting to read the many comments on the Facebook page.
 
The Third and Final SOS Trail Run took place from Triangle Sports in Main Road, Walmer, under the enthusiastic supervision of Sharon Jessop of Extremebootcamp.  Although there was a hectic wind blowing and the competitors were warned that the Baakens River although not nearly as overflowing (which was the reason the Race was postponed from end July) and this might lead to squelchy areas during the Run, everyone set off down 10th Avenue, dogs on leads and all.   Sharon has indicated that the same Series will be held next year and that this should be diarised.   Thank you so much to Sharon, the trailblazer, Dawn and daughters (taking turns to help mum) and of course, the Sponsors for a job well done!  Our Isabella Childs was a Birthday Girl on the day so she got a special prize especially as she was the oldest Veteran Runner and had also participated in all 3 SOS Trail Runs.
 
One of our Humansdorp horse owners, on leading his horse home on a Saturday afternoon, saw to his horror that the horse had been spooked by a speeding car, jumped into the road and had been hit by another vehicle leaving the animal with a broken leg.  Although he was terribly shocked he had the presence of mind (and a cellphone with the Unit number) and phoned requesting help.  Dr Pieter, a local Vet that we use for problems in that area was asked to please attend as a matter of urgency.  In a short space of time, the horse had been euthanased by the Vet and released from his pain and suffering.  I am quite sure that at some stage the good Doctor would have been called by somebody, but just by being able to get the communications going quickly, the horse was not allowed to suffer unnecessarily.  Thank you so much Dr Pieter and our commiserations to Bernard.
 
The Sardinia Bay Horse Riders Association held an Enduro X event in August and during the event, the attending Vet was tasked with a Vet Check.  A couple of horses unfortunately had to pay a Penalty when not passing their Vet Check and this penalty money was donated to the Unit.  Thank you so much, SBHRA, and well done on what appears to be a popular new Event for your calendar.
 
Two stray horses in Boundary Lane had Pauline calling for help early one morning.  The owner was identified and collected her horses.
 
The Unit had to say a final goodbye to Britman towards the end of the month. A heartbreaking decision for the owner who had bought him from his township master 8 months ago.   She gave him her very best and he repaid her with his affection and he leaves a gaping hole in her heart.  So very sad.  But now free forever.  You will be remembered.
 
On the second last day of the month, a panicky owner from northern PE phoned as his donkey mare was foaming at the mouth and as well as out her nose.  We collected Duiker with her gorgeous foal, Beauty, and visited the Vet who did the necessary.  Clearly she had eaten something that brought on the foaming fit because by next morning she was munching away on her grassmix and hopefully had evacuated most of the offending substance.
 
Donations for which we thank you:
Martin – a bathtub
? - Brow bands and stirrups
? - a roll of grass
Jean - dried cut grass
Madelaine - 2 half bales grass mix, halters and other riding items
Belinda - 3 broken grass rounds
Shelley - donkey bit
Jenny – all sorts of tack plus buckets etc.
Judy – bags of lucerne leavings
Bill – snaffle bit
Jean – brooms and buckets
Michelle - lucerne leavings
? – And today, while we were out, a large donation of tack, from horseblankets to white plaiting elastics, gloves and half chaps. 
 
Thank you to Volunteers:
York, Hannah, Imogen & Josh – grooming of horses and donkeys.
Amy & Eugene – exercising all the horses
Marcelle, Judy & Anro from Linkside High and
Lauren & Jo from Collegiate - grooming
Jordan, Kayra & Jorja – feeding carrots to the horses and donks.
Tarryn – grooming horses
Karli & Jana from Woodridge – grooming
 
All in all a busy month as usual!
 
Banking Details:
Bank:  Standard Bank    Universal Branch Code:  051001
Account: Eastern Cape Horse Care Unit (all donated monies are used by us in the Metro and beyond!)
Account Number: 080733875
 
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
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