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OK.  So it’s 25 days to Christmas Day, and 31 days to the New Year and it still feels like I would imagine a horse feels in a horsebox, with the scenery ‘rushing’ towards me.  (Which is why, some years ago, I read that the American’s prefer to have their horses loaded the other way/backwards, meaning that the scenery opens gently in front of them.)  

It has been quite a year all told, and when one hears that the Court date for the Assault and Robbery Case in the office in January this year, has been set for the 2nd day of January, one can’t help but wonder how 2013 is going to ‘go’!

We ended off last month with the sad tale of the month old foal that was irretrievable no matter what the Veterinarians tried.  On further investigation, it transpired that the mare was being fed sheep pellets and on the label it clearly stipulates that it should not be fed to horses as it contains an ionofore.  I was advised by our Veterinary Practice that this can cause cardiac problems in equines!   So, now we know!  Too late for the foal though.

A Thoroughbred newly off the track, on release into the Girl’s camp, managed to wound herself on a sharp object on the shoulder.  This entailed some work for the Vet!  Not easy as she was anything but submissive at the time.  The donkey ladies have however calmed her down, and with Eugene’s gentle hand, she will be ready to leave for her new home in the near future.

A Complaint received of a donkey in Community Road had a seriously funny side to it – we had a really good laugh!  On arriving on the scene, the donkey eyed out first the bakkie and then Tom walking towards him and then suddenly ran back into the township, braying all the way as if to say ‘Man, how DO they find us!’

Another Complaint was of two donkeys walking down Butterfield Road and Stanley was despatched to collect post haste.   A Jenny and her yearling foal.  A very old Jenny and son with a peculiar gait in the hindquarter.   He was promptly weaned from his mum and moved in with the young fellas.  It has subsequently been established that he has a locking stifle making it an ongoing problem to get to his feet, and in fact, if rushed, he actually falls down.   All very distressing.   And although the nearest SAPS Station as well as the Unit Facebook page and other related pages carried the information, nobody has claimed ownership.   They clearly were not ‘working’ donkeys from a nearby township and when we got Ayanda to trim the jenny’s hooves, they clearly had not been done for some considerable time.   As they say in the classics, every picture tells a story, and this story makes me angry that they should just be turfed out.   The right decision will be made for both of them.

Stanley headed off for the first of two cross-country, long distance assessment visits to the Transkei.  In the space of 5 days, he inspected and in some cases educated and supplied the necessary to about 300 equines and their owners.   His second trip was shorter but with just as many equines, and on both occasions returned exhausted.  He gave a workshop in just one area in the local Police Station, using a newly purchased flip chart and as I understand it, talked from 9am then headed outside to give a physical example and then back inside to discuss another problem, before heading outside again to show what he meant when talking.   This went on till 6.30pm!  No lunch, no tea, no sit down.   Clearly the need is there, and people are excited about the Unit’s visiting their areas.  On the second visit, deworming was the flavour of the day, and before he knew it, R5,000.00 worth of dewormer was used up!  This is where we thank you for your donations because this would not have occurred without the wherewithal to pay for the muti.  SO well done, Stanley!  Although you had much trepidation about the trips, you did good!

One of the horse owners Stanley found on the roadside knew all about the Horse Care Units and what they do having seen a TV documentary featuring Highveld Horse Care Inspectors Solly and Trevor.  Mdingi was very happy to receive a numnah, bit, and the horse dewormed.   If you have tack you no longer use and it is just gathering dust, please won’t you consider donating it to the Unit to help further our ‘work’ in these rural areas.

We put a stall up at the PE Petexpo, but all was quiet for us, until that is, I took Newby up on the Saturday with the prospective adoptive parent, Kelly, controlling with a lead rein.  It was and always will be amazing to watch how everything comes to a screaming halt when a young donkey arrives.  Children, aged from 2 to 70, come from all sides to put money in the tin for their carrot coins in the bucket that they can feed to the donk.  People just want to touch, kiss, hug, and feed them with smiles all around.   Guess what I will do next year?  Yup, no stall, just a donkey for a couple of hours with a bucket of carrot coins.  Thanks to Dawn and Bonita for popping in and allowing me to go places!

As we all know, our beloved horses are part of our psyche.  They are also our responsibility and this means having to make decisions for them when the time is right.  Sometimes we need to chat about it, however painful, but we do the best we can in this kind of very difficult situation.   And so, two much loved Thoroughbreds were ushered to the ‘other side’ with dignity and humanely during the month leaving the owners devastated but knowing that the ‘right thing’ was done for the animal.  It has its affects on us too, leaving us ‘down in the mouth’ but at peace at the same time.

Bernadette of I Patrol (a SAPS and General Motors anti crime initiative) was a great help when we were called after hours to a broken cart miles from home.  We hitched up the horsebox and found the problem, a broken drawbar.  What a surprise!  Bernadette is getting better at loading equines now, but even then, the donkeys did not understand what was going on and loaded eventually – getting a lift home and all.  The cart owner, bless his cotton socks, went back and fetched the cart and pulled it home himself and got back to his shack at midnight.  It saved me having to go back in the morning and tow the cart home.  Well done, Moses!

The early morning of 6th November was broken by numerous calls and sms’s about three donkeys in the parking lot of Standard Bank in Walmer Park.  What a circus!!  Thanks to SueT who had our number we eventually found them behind the school.  Catching them was a nightmare however.  The young jack just wanted to ‘play’ with his mom and aunty and chasing them all over the place in the morning rush hour.  Thanks to a municipal substation we were able to corner him, attach a lead rein and tie him to the back of the bakkie and gently towed him home, using the grassy Walmer pavements to protect his hooves.  Even if Alfred and I had have had the horsebox, we would never have got him in, and at least this way, the girls were happy to just mooch along next to the bakkie.  Thanks to all who alerted us to the problem.

Two of our young donkeys, having been adopted out some months ago, were joined by a horse, which meant the grazing became a problem.  We collected Rooibos and Bloubos and brought them home again, only to adopt out Bloubos/Little Boy Blue shortly thereafter to his new home as a companion animal to a pony.   Things just work out the way they were meant to.  See you again soon, Bloubos!

The Animal Welfare Shop in 6th Avenue called to report a donkey outside the shop but then decided that they could do it themselves.   Bravo, Deirdre!  I did wonder if he was looking to buy something.
Our Fund Raising Committee organised another Street Collection to raise Funds, and one of the Shakers and Rattlers brought along her giant Boerbul dog to assist.  So well done, Michelle, on your collecting the most.   Clearly Bruno had the magic touch!

Two of the horses that have been with us a while were adopted out and delivered to their new home, with lots of lovely grass and shelter.  Thank you, Sam!

Stefaan, one of Patrick’s donkeys and who brought him in, had been found tied up in Airport Valley, where the dogs and other jacks had had a good go at him.  He was really a sad sight with major wounds in the tail and ear areas.  Thankfully, he is making good progress and he should be going home soon.

On doing a Feed Delivery to the local township where a lot of service delivery protests have taken place recently, we were excited to find that after all this time, we now have a beautiful road to travel on through Airport Valley.   Thank you to whoever made the difference!

After months of planning and with a weather postponement thrown in for good measure, the Unit enjoyed the Festival of Racing at the newly refurbished Fairview Racecourse.  An exciting Auction conducted by Clyde, Auction items organised by the one and only Dorrie, rounded off with an fabulous evening of Entertainment with a capital E by Gino Fabio and Donna Afrika, the Unit has benefitted from many generous racing folk.  Thank you all so much for your generosity and support!

Followed the following day by a visit to Grahamstown, via Nanaga, Kenton on Sea and Salem for the yearly Donkey Carnival organised by local Sheriff, Annerie.  A total of 54 donkeys inspected, reharnessed and rebitted where necessary, and judged and 26 carts newly done up for the occasion.  All guided through the hustle and bustle of a Grahamstown Saturday morning to the cricket club grounds where a lovely braai, cooldrink and prize giving were organised.   

And then, Ta Da. Donkey foaled down with Liefling.   Donkey was brought in at the request of SPCA Uitenhage and the Uitenhage SAPS.  She and her pulling partner were pulling a cart that had stolen goods on it and cart and donkeys confiscated.  A lady came along and fell in love with Donkey and adopted her and took her home to a beautiful property with lots of horses and children.  Donkey responded well to Liza’s love but also grew fatter and fatter as time went on.   After many false alarms, the early morning phonecall was received that Donkey had been and gone and done it.   A gorgeous dark filly now known as Liefling has joined the happy family and I just know that she will be just as loved as her mummy is!

The next newsletter will be out in January 2013, so the Unit would like to extend to you our wishes for a Peaceful Festive Season and a very Happy New Year!

 Donations of fodder received:
Cindy and Barbie – fresh cut grass
Jonathan C – fodder leavings
Horse and Hound – 3 big bags lucerne leavings
Peter and Di – 10 ½ bales lucerne
 Nicky – 14 bags lucerne leavings
Bennie S - 2 bales grassmix from a Street Childrens home Nativity play.

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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