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January 2011


Well, it is only 11 months to Christmas!  The New Year has commenced – may you have a really splendiferous 2011.  Thank you too, to all those who sent cards and gifts and sms over the Festive Season.

Luckily for the Unit, our activities have settled down a bit and this has allowed for reflection on the previous year and a slightly more relaxed January.  We have had time to extract our figures for 2010.  At the end of every month, I account to the Highveld Horse Care Unit and National Horse Trust for our basic activities and this has added up to, for the year 2010, the following:

Complaints/Investigations – 122 horses and 30 donkeys; Rechecks done on 418 horses and 42 donkeys; Township visits/inspections across the whole Nelson Mandela Metro including Uitenhage and Despatch run to 414 donkeys and 39 horses; Transfers from other animal welfare organizations and Motorist Complaints has meant 144 visits for 361 donkey and 4 horses.   37 Country Trips handling 258 horses and 220 donkeys.  9 horses and 76 donkeys were brought in for Medical problems and treated according to Vet Instructions and generally returned home except for the sad few who just did not make it.    Adoptions and Fosters have meant that 5 horses and 24 donkeys have found new homes.

All this activity has meant too, that the fuel and Vet account has on occasion been a little heavy, not to mention the work cell phone that is not used for personal calls (we all have our own private cell phones). 

A Complaint was received from someone that our banking details are not included in Newsletters for those that, on the spur of the moment, want to donate a little money towards our ever-increasing expenses.  Banking details will appear at the end of our newsletters from in future.  A further complaint is that there is no ‘blog spot’ on our Website.  Well, at this moment in time, sitting in the office is not an option, all of us runnin’ around doin’ stuff, so emails are done between about 5 till 7.30 in the morning – by nighttime, there is just no ways to handle computer issues.  We are, however, looking at a Facebook page for the Unit that might be a better option for some. 

Luckily, our feed bill is helped considerably by donations of fodder, ranging from 1 bale to 20 bales and grass rolls and generous helpings of ‘Readymix’ (leavings of oathay, Lucerne, teff all ‘ready mixed’) from many horse owners and fodder merchants.  There was also a donation from a gentleman who did not want to give his name – Thank you, L.

The quieter January has also meant that for the first time ever since the Unit’s inception, the entire Database, and the picture case files AND the smss are all up to date!  To explain further, each Complaint/Investigation/Client has a file where all information is kept and we use the files to go back and check what was ‘wrong’/done/found originally.  We are currently in the region of 414 Case Files!   Obviously the case details are confidential!

Well, so much for last year, now let us move on to January 2011,

Liezl was alerted by the SAPS on her weekend on duty about a donkey hit by a car in Walmer.  Although he was reported as dead initially, he clearly was only concussed as when we arrived the donkey had recovered and was missing!   A very upset owner phoned us to come and collect his donkey that had ‘been hit by somebody with a stone’ shortly after that.  His eye was a bit of a mess, but with Vet advice, the donkey survived to see another day, the eye recovering rapidly and the whiplash of neck and back being dealt with.

Michelle, Jessica, Nancy and Cheri all took some time during their holidays to visit and groom horses that made all of us feel much better!   Stefan also assisted greatly with fixing our gates that really have taken a hammering with water damage – it makes such a difference.   Thank you all!

The two preggy donkey mares that came for the Festive Season for safety purposes and at the request of the owner, had me running though.   Miriam began foaling down just as everyone had headed home at the end of a long day.  This was not a problem, until Pretty Girl, Miriam’s companion, decided that this was the easiest birth she had ever experienced, and proceeded to try and kidnap the newborn foal!  As they say in the classics, alles was in rep en roer!  I picked up the shaky foal and carried him as fast as I could to the crush camp with ma in tow followed by Pretty Girl doing her best to get near enough to complete the kidnap.   It was with great relief that I put the foal down and shut the gate!  Miriam and Pinky (a very definite pink coat) have returned home to their ecstatic owner.  Pretty Girl is still no closer to having her own ‘bundle of joy’ though.

We received a visit from a potter who wanted horsehair for a ceramic work of art and on being given a packet full, we received a handsome donation for it!

A new lady donkey cart owner was found with a lame donkey thanks to two concerned motorists.  The donkeys were brought in by horsebox and then we towed the cart to the Unit until such time as the donkeys had received their tune-up and puncture repair.  This type of problem always seems to occur on a weekend.  But I guess that is because landowners want their refuse/gardening discards removed on the weekend.   Education of the lady commenced forthwith!

I then found that someone had decided to do some of their own treatment on one of the donkeys in for repair without finding out what the problem was from us.  We never did find out who, but definitely not the ‘done’ thing.

Two of our donkey mares adopted out to a farm in the Karroo subsequent to their adoption, had their foals that are greatly loved.  However, they are both jacks!  Adoptive parent Brenda went to great lengths, with a little assistance from the Unit, to make proper plans for gelding.

On one of those hot days I just could not stand to see the young donkeys with their matted ‘baby hair’ and so stood in the camp and did some shearing with scissors.  Initially, the youngsters were not happy but when they realized they were feeling a lot cooler, there was no problem with them standing still and in fact, some of them demanding their rights to coolness.

The lady residents at a local Old Age Home and who love donkeys, phoned in to say that they had had a visitation.  Donkeys found and brought home with the aid of the owner – problem sorted.

Complaints by the Carters about not being able to dump their loads at a local Transfer Site were handled with the assistance of the Municipality.

Something not commonly known is that township residents flock to the Animal Welfare dipping tanks during the week, bring droves of dogs who all get dipped.   One of the township ladies, visiting AWS for treatment to her sick dog, came rushing into the stables to tell Stanley that we had a dead donkey in the camp and could we please come and see and sort.   Stanley just smiled, went out and pointed out that the donkey’s tail was moving.  He went on to tell her that our equines are regular sunbathers!  She was a little sheepish but rather get the call than not.

A number of calls about ‘neglected’ horses were received in January, but on doing the necessary it was found that things were under control and being handled.  Calls also received asking for assistance were dealt with as well as a ‘fence problem’ – the neighbouring stallion leering over the fence at the ladies!   Sorted!

The Donkey (and Cart) Recovery Unit was active this month, once for a lame donkey followed by the normal broken cart drawbar.

An after-hours AWS visitor with a ‘damaged’ bird, had a quick solution as when the box was opened to see what the problem was, the bird flew away, probably having got what he needed, a good rest from high winds!

An electricity surge in Summerstrand whizzed its way along the electricity cables all the way to AWS and beyond, leaving a fire in the trees on the premises!  Thanks to alert Sunday morning dog walking volunteers the fire was put out, followed up with a thorough dowsing by the Fire Department.  Thank you!  Unfortunately, there was also a gale blowing that weekend and that interfered with the Telkom landlines, duly repaired.

Three more Thoroughbred horses have been surrendered to us.  Anyone wanting to assist by Adopting is welcome to visit. 

A wonderful selection of good horse bits donated mean that our stock has been plumped up for those looking for bits.   Which brings us to Sally’s Bit Library.   She has a Library of bits for renting and trying on your horse until you find the right one.  Sally can be found at 082 820 4971.  Aside from the other tack donations, a number of horse blankets have been donated but some did not stay long!

The carcass of a donkey, stabbed into the lung, was removed from the township to the Kragga Kamma Game Park – Thandi, we miss you.

Our Collection Tin fund raising project raised a wonderful R330 from Feed n Seed in Mount Pleasant.  We are so lucky to have safe places to leave our Tins as a common problem for many organizations is the theft of the Tins when they feel heavy!  Thank you to Feed and Seed customers!

A generous offer of a landowner with plenty of grass, to foster some donkeys, led to Braveheart and Kleintjie finding themselves in a field full of the green stuff!   We check on them regularly and they seem to be happy although slow to stop eating and greet us.

We finished the month off by adopting out our beautiful boy, Chesterfield.  It was a bietjie eina, but believe we have done the ‘right thing’ and found the right adoptor.

My regular commentator on her fostered donkeys, as I have said before, usually gives me a fit of the giggles at 6 in the morning, so herewith for you to giggle too:     Matillah the Honey has taken to sneaking into the lounge to steal the cat food if I leave the door unlocked. She opens it with her lips in a flash. When I come through to see what she is up to she purses her lips and tiptoes out with her eyes half closed, as if I won't be able to notice her...........  she is very careful and doesn't knock anything over. I think the expression should be watch like a donkey, hawks have got nothing on these two, they don't miss a thing!

Finally, some folk know that I collect, wash and sort stamps – have done so for yonks – so it was with some happiness that Isabella Childs presented me with an envelope full of them – one of which was a gorgeous British stamp showing Winnie the Pooh with Eeyore.  It is going to look really good in my animal section!  Thank You!

Well, into the first day of February, have a gr8 day!


BANK: Standard Bank

Account Name: Racing Association, National Horse Trust

Account Number: 080563473

Reference:  your email address please!


"Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened."



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