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April 2013


As the Unit deals on a daily basis with anything and everything equine that comes it’s way, this Newsletter  is about to tell you just some of ‘what is’ and not what some think we ‘do’.

We started off assisting a Thb that had had a munch of Cynanchum, luckily just a small bite of it, so the matter was quickly resolved.

Followed shortly thereafter by what we think was an attempted break in and robbery.  The office window was found broken, the window opened and the freezer underneath the window, opened.  What they had not bargained on was the hectically strong burglar bars that were made by a farrier in 2006 for just such a moment and very firmly attached to the wall.  Foiled again!

Two horses ‘stray’ on the Sardinia Bay Road were found by their owner and removed from the roadside but not before it ‘hit’ Facebook.   The problem with this was that the posting was made on Facebook and then to email!  So rather than smsing or phoning the Unit number thereby saving time, it was by pure chance that I found it on my cellphone and was able to despatch the lads to sort it out.  Bit of a waste of diesel, but the right result was gained.

A cross country undertaken by Stanley led to four horses being inspected and photographed, trimmed and dewormed.  At the same time, on the way home a Thb that had been surrendered to the Unit was collected. 

A phonecall from Friend Stan led to me finding Whitey and Daisy in the Pick n Pay carpark, which in turn led to me walking them down 5th Avenue towards the township.   A little while later, while shopping in Spar, a lady looked at me with great curiosity and asked ‘Didn’t I see you walking donkeys down the road just now?’  I had to have a giggle.

Our special township expatriot Konkie and foal, Liefie, left for their new family home and we assisted with the loading.  They arrived in their new destination and have settled in well with their ‘family’, comprising horses, dogs, children and parents.

You have days and then you have DAYS.  Not only did two donkeys from two different owners pitch up for breakfast, but another two from one of the owners decided to visit the local Tourism office and park off under the tree shade for a zizz.  Owner assisted to find and return home.

Stanley took off for his monthly adventure to the Transkei – ‘adventure’ because he never knows what he is going to have to deal with and I must admit that the horse owners generally keep the phone very busy the week before Stanley travels with questions like, what day, where, I don’t want to miss you!    So good to have their buy in.  An Inspection was undertaken and that led to hooves being trimmed, deworming done and general education given to the owner and the matter will be monitored.

I on the other hand, went the other way and collected two miniature horses/Shetlands (yet another Facebook ‘conversation’ ensued as to what they are ensued) and then multitudinous suggestions as to possible names .  

Although they were a serious problem to catch as they were unhaltered, unhandled and stallions to boot, the donkeys did their normal trick of calming the fellows down, and gelding helped a hang of a lot too, but they did actually settle down, and with Stanley, Tom and Alfred doing sterling work getting them used to be ‘handled’.  They were also treated to a much needed ‘mani & pedi’.  They were then adopted out a week later and are currently bringing great pleasure to their new parent.

A Kwanobuhle owner requested urgent assistance for his sick jenny with foal at foot.  Having collected her and paid a visit to the Veterinarians, she made a rapid recovery and was returned to a very grateful owner a few days later.  If you ‘get’ these things early, it always helps.

The Grahamstown Makana Donkey Association visit meant that 14 donkeys received treatment for wounds, abrasions, a trim and file of hooves and Passports issued.

Stanley on the other hand was despatched to collect a collapsed donkey from Walmer Township.  Unfortunately equines can’t talk, so one has to do the best one can in trying to decide what the problem is and what to do about it.  Little Man as I have called him was unable to stand and we believe that it was not beyond the bounds of possibility that he had been connected by a vehicle on his offside shoulder, leaving plenty of bruising behind.   We let him stay recumbent for the first four days and then it took all four of us to get him to his feet and sling him up in the crush.   The weather started getting iffy, so he was moved to the High Care Pen with a shavings bed, fodder and water.  In his own excitement at finding his feet again, he did not want to lie down because he knew he could not get up again.   We gradually moved from 4 people to get him up to 3 then 2 and now 1 person just has to grab his tail and the job is done.   At night, the procedure is reversed, with a bit more effort – to ‘put him to bed’ on his shavings bed, food and water close by.  Until Saturday that is;  Alfred and I put him down for the night and carried on with feeding everybody else, and when I checked over the wall to say a final good night, he was standing up all by himself!   It is really good to see him responding so positively, especially when he ‘sings’ for his carrot! 

Another Thoroughbred was surrendered with a problem wound, but with Miracle Foam is making a rapid recovery and hopefully this beautiful animal will find a new home shortly.

Another working donkey was collected having trodden on a piece of glass or wire or something sharp,  piercing the bulb of her hoof.  A couple of warm poultices later and she was back on the road.

A possible African Horse Sickness death had the entire Metro in a state.  Needless to say to those who know, African Horse Sickness can only be confirmed by blood samples at first and tissue samples later from the dead animal, preferably taken by an attending Veterinarian.  We were fetching and carrying out of town that Saturday so were unable to assist, but on chatting to somebody who saw the animal in extremis, I believe it could well have been a snake bite to the head of the poor animal.  Either way the correct decision to euthanase was made.  And of course, Onderstepoort testing having been conducted, it was found that the animal did not have African Horse Sickness at all which meant that everybody could calm down.

Only I would choose to take two donkeys out to their new Foster family on the Ironman day.  But thanks to Walmer Police Station personnel, I was able to cross Heugh Road with little problem both in and out journeys.  Thanks, guys!

One can’t help becoming part of the Carties lives, so Stanley had a discussion with the relevant Municipal Official to ensure that Carties can dump their refuse at the Transfer Sites.  Rather this than on the roadside!

The other problem is that we all get so tied up with our Unit work that we forget to do our own stuff!  This occasionally leads to lack of electricity at home because I have forgotten to check the meter.  And then when you get to the Spar to buy some, you find that the entire supply network is ‘offline, sorry’.  You just have to go to bed.  Grrrrrr…

Another Complaint that came in led to the old mare that was really showing her age being surrendered to the Unit, and the family being educated by Stanley about remaining two horses.

While those kind Tin Shakers at our Street Collection were slaving away getting in our much needed funds (especially as it costs the Unit between R3,500 and R4000 for Transkei trips), Stanley was busy collecting a donkey jenny from Uitenhage.  We cannot thank donors and shakers enough for their contributions although it does appear that it helps if the shakers are accompanied by a dog!  I wonder what would happen if we dropped in at the Collection points with a donkey?

One of our Humansdorp horse owners phoned in a panic about his colicky mare.  A simple phonecall led to Dr Pieter attending and when I saw her last weekend, she looked very hale and hearty.  Thank you,Dr Pieter!

A call was received from SPCA Humansdorp that indicated that a horse had a serious wound to its hindquarter.  The attending Veterinarian was unable to find the owner but he also could not leave it, so the instruction was given to do the job, a kind farmer from the area making it his business to nurse the animal on his farm until it had healed.

We started the following week with a call about 6 horses on Victoria Drive at 6 in the morning. Assistance rendered led to the naughty children being gathered together and marched home.

Another Thoroughbred released from racing found itself in an ‘uneducated’ home and assistance called for.  However, she managed to fall into a swimming pool on the property and damaged her hindleg.  The situation is being monitored.

The Unit Facebook Auction Room is also up and running and it is hoped that this will generate some funds. 

Then there was the Complaint about donkeys at the Airport at 11 at night.  I stumbled out of bed and went looking, only to find that this main entrance way to the city was completely in the dark there being absolutely no streets lights working the donkeys never found.

Only to be followed by yet another Complaint two nights later of two donkeys in the middle of Heugh Road.  Luckily I had the ‘can do’ Georgie on hand to assist, helped by SAPS Personnel from Humewood Police Station.   All that was required was to keep the donkeys in a cul de sac allowing for the collection of the bakkie and horsebox, which the Policeman and Lady did and then assisted with loading.  Once back at the Unit I brought them out through the front ‘people door’ and popped them into the camp.  Thank you, Georgie, for your support through thick and thin, as well as to Humewood Police Station WO Khuzwayo and Constable Vara.

The Western Shoppe raffle draw that received much interest, was won by Nicole Kruger from East London.  When I phoned to congratulate her she was absolutely blown away with her prize of horse goodies put together by The Western Shoppe.   Thank you all so much for buying tickets!

Our horse owners in Humansdorp have requested a visit from Stanley and Ayanda for some hoof work and also been given options about some of their old horses.  Some follow ups and monitoring ended off the day’s visit to the area.

Rather than getting caught out again when Winter strikes, I took the grooms to organise boots and rain suits to complete the month’s expenses.    One just has to look after good staff.

An assisted gelding was undertaken and all went off well on the last day of the month.

Stanley was despatched to attend to a Uitenhage donkey with ‘a cut on his leg’, and to his horror found that the animal had been snared and in trying to tug and pull himself loose, had actually broken his canon bone at the fetlock.   The animal euthansed as quickly as possible.   Not the first and probably won’t be the last either although snare setting is illegal!

Sally, Tracey, Helen, Jill and Dorrie – tack.
Kragga Kamma Game Park, Feed n Seed and Antoinette – grass rolls, leavings, bales
Caelan and Tristan – time (grooming, preparation of Epson Water, sorting of harnessing etc)
Shahn – grooming horses.

Enjoy your May Day public holiday!

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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