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November 2008


With 24 days to Christmas Day, this is the last newsletter for the year of 2008.  It has been quite a year, one way and t'other, with highs and lows and great surprises!   I sincerely hope that all your ducks are in a row, and that you are prepared for the Festive Season!
The Unit was asked by the Mayoral Committee involved to assist with getting some donkey carts to the Mayor's Non Motorised Transport Day in Wells Estate.   This involved a lot of planning and meetings, bringing various roleplayers to the table to discuss the how to's of getting this whole thing started promptly at 9am on the 30th November (yesterday) led off by the Donkey Carts.  I was so proud of the drivers as they took off with great aplomb at the starting gun, fired by the Deputy Mayor, ON TIME.  As many will tell you, if you have set a start time , I will do my very best to do just that, start on time.  
With their hazard plates, yellow lumo stripping, bright T shirts, caps, new matching harnessing, and in one case, a new load bed, they made quite an impact.
But as we all know, especially those that have taken part in 'horsey' shows, it is just about getting the rider up and riding in the ring.  It is the 'befores and afters' like getting there, all the tack, the horsebox, the final brush down that all has to happen before the rider can do their 3 minute round.
So, Craig and I found ourselves in the cold light of morning, in a howling westerly with hovering rainclouds, loading up the horsebox at 5.30am in order to get to the township to pick up donkeys at 6.30am.  The Municipal Cowboys assisted with the donkey transport too.  Then we had to wait for the trucks, one with a crane, to collect the actual carts.  Once loaded we all made our way to Wells Estate in northern Port Elizabeth.  We had our work cut out for us, as you can imagine, to put everything together again!  The donkeys were the least of our problems, just standing and waiting to be harnessed up.
The donks did not turn a hair at the wheelchair participant, the runners, the walkers, the skaters or the Traffic Vehicles with blue lights flashing and returned to the Start after their 'round', to the yells and applause of other participants and various organisers.  Once unharnessed, they were quite happy to tuck into some lucerne while they waited for us to repeat our whole performance of earlier in the morning of loading and trucking them back again!
The Mayor even drove William's cart for a short while after the event, with very little problem.
As the Chief Pooper Scooper of the day, the donks even made it easy for me by not leaving copious amounts of signage along the road to be picked up!  (All part of the planning.)
All in all, quite an occasion, made possible by some excellent co-ordination by roleplayers, to whom I extend my thanks for making it possible.
Thank you, Madam Mayor, for your invitation to participate!
Every year, animal welfare organisations are inundated with lost and confused animals that become very anxious when fireworks are being exploded in their environment.
We are all doing our best to participate in upgrading Municipal Bye Laws to prevent this practice, in the main, because it causes such distress to our four legged friends. 
So, I am happy to report that the Unit did not experience any untoward problems at this time, although I know that the organisations that concentrate on small animals, had their hands full, again!
We have pleasure in advising that this month we have adopted out of townships a number of donkeys to new homes. 
While every adoption is a bittersweet occasion, we were especially happy that our Beauty has found a really good home along with her friend, orphaned Rusty.   The entire adoptive family are absolutely besotted with their new friends!  Beauty and Rusty took everything in their stride, my last picture of them being one of them standing shoulder to shoulder munching grass.
Talking about adoptions, our very first adoption was of Jack.  Jack and his mum were found abandoned in New Brighton by the Animal Anti Cruelty League's inspector Justice.  It was found that the mare had a fractured bone in her leg and she was euthanased accordingly.   And then Jack was adopted by Jenny.  I saw Jack this past week and he is just the most beautiful animal, and is in fact, the master of the herd of Shetlands!  Definitely head and shoulders above the rest!
Then there are Smudgie and Ntombi at the Webbers - two beautiful, happy, spoilt rotten donks who give their adoptive parents so much pleasure.
And this all means, I can sleep at night!
A chance meeting at the Bank led to the donation of 10tons of sand for Camp 3.   Camp 3, due to many factors not the least being wind erosion, had 'sunk' in the middle, and being already low lying, was a natural sump for excess rainwater, and excess water is what we have had over the past month!!
Thank you to Desmond for this kind donation.   It took a while to spread the sand, but what a difference it makes.  The donkeys, like some plants, don't particularly care for 'wet feet', and now we don't have to worry about it as much as we were!  And, bonus, it looks so much better too!
There were also two large canisters from Denise - ideal for keeping our stirrup leathers and reins separate and much tidier, and when we need them for donkeys, they are easy to find and fit.
As you see, donations of all sorts are so welcome and while we might be puzzled at what we have received, so often we find that shortly after the receiving, that particular item is required, frequently, with haste!!
Reports of horses in bad places often come in from, of all people, Estate Agents.  This led to the finding of a horse who had given his best over the years and which had been 'handed over' to a friend to 'retire'.  The word 'retire' is a euphemism for when we find ourselves unable to 'do the necessary' and make a decision and rather make it someone else's problem!  When we found him, we were shocked to see that his teeth that had probably been a problem for years, were virtually nonexistent and he definitely would have required specialised feeding which the new owner who knew nothing about horses anyway, could not have handled.   As the poor guy was over 30 years of age and looked it, the necessary decision was taken under vet instruction, and he thankfully, is now in a better place.
Again, this means I can sleep at night!
Last year we started selling Christmas Cards.  There was quite a demand too!   So we are continuing this year, and expect our order shortly.
So, if you would like to buy our cards, this year with a picture of Socks and Britman, please let me know.  If you are not one of those that does the paper trail card, and rather makes use of email cards, I will also email you the Highveld Horse Care Unit eChristmas Card in case you would like to use it!
Craig, Alfred and I would like to wish you a Happy and Joyous Christmas and New Year.  
I personally would like to thank my support system, like the Highveld Horse Care Unit, the Veterinarians, the Game Park, the Animal Welfare Staff who are always ready to climb in and assist, the Feed Sponsors, the many generous donors who over the last year have played such an important role in my life and that of the East Cape Horse Care Unit.
Thank you All!


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