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August 2013



un·pre·dict·a·ble /ˌʌnprɪˈdɪktəbəl/  - 1. not predictable; not to be foreseen or foretold: an unpredictable occurrence. noun 2. something that is unpredictable: the unpredictables of life. Origin: 1855–60 from the Oxford English Dictionary 

Clearly, the same meaning as in 1855 and true to this day, especially when involved in Unit work!  Happy First Day of Spring!

We started August with the colicky Trigger having produced overnight, a huge sausage of pooh and now happily standing and eating carrots tendered by Alfred.   He was taken home later that day.  Kapie was presented with the ‘package’ at the same time and had his eyes opened about the problems of plastic!

On the very first day of August, the Unit had been invited to give a Talk to the Ladies of the Sunday’s River Valley Women’s Institute at the Valentine Hall.  A lovely bunch of ladies from the Valley, delicious tea and cakes, a donation of lucerne and carrots galore and a generous money donation as well as a huge bunch of lavender fronds that are still going strong at home a month later.  A donation towards the diesel to get there in the work bakkie was also made.  Thank you, kind Ladies!

This in turn led to meeting Hazel, also from that area, who later in the month introduced us to her friend, Metro, who because he was also tired of donkeys being in the road, had built his own fence and brought them in to keep them safe.   We were happy with his ‘doings’ and that of Hazel who assists with veggie gardens and with farm planning to get the maximum out of the ground (and who also happens to be quite the cook at her restaurant, appropriately named Hazel’s), completed with a lunch to die for.   One of the donkeys that we met that day had a severe leg wound and was duly collected the next by Stanley and moved on to ‘greener pastures’ where there is no more discomfort or pain.  An X Ray post mortem indicated a badly healing greenstick fracture, probably of long standing but also of ongoing pain.  Poor boy!   Another was attended to nearby, having got wrapped up in wire.

A Driver for Dunlop Tyres popped in and asked for horse manure, but not with donkey droppings in for a cultural ceremony!   He was assisted by Tom and went off beaming.

At the Grahamstown Donkey Clinic 14 donkeys were dewormed, harnessing replaced and old harnessing brought in for destruction.

And then….

Stanley had headed into the wilds of Transkei for some interaction with ‘his’ horses.  He had left on the Friday, but on Saturday found that despite all sorts of pulling and pushing by the locals, the vehicle would just NOT start.   One thing led to another, and as everything ‘fell into place’, I headed off late on a Saturday afternoon with a hired bakkie trailer with the Unit Colt, coffee and padkos in hand and went to collect him and the Toyota and returning on Sunday at midday.

At the end of this entire escapade and having everybody and the bakkies home safe, I must say that the support of my sister in law, Lesley, in Durban, was just awesome!  Smses from Stanley were sent on to her and she and her husband then plotted where Stanley was and where I was coming from and where I needed to get to in the pitch dark (literally as black as the inside of a cow’s stomach – and they have four!), putting me right in the right place and following my movements all the way.  In a way I am very happy that it was pitch dark as there were way too many ‘Picnic Spots’ along the road meaning that there were stunning ‘views’ of the surrounding countryside and inviting passersby to stop and have a look!   Thank you Lesley and Roger for being with me all the way!  Thank you too, to Bill who about 2 months ago, gave me a teeny, weeny, keyring torch that ‘did the business’ at 2am showing us what we were doing!  Also thank you to Bernadette who with her SAPS connections made for a slightly easier trip being in contact with all the right people should things go pear shaped. (I must mention here that this all occurred at almost same time a year later that I did a tandem jump out of a plane!) (PS – on checking up, found that we had saved the Unit about R6000 in towing fees!)

You know how things go ‘in threes’ – Well, a third horse belonging to the same owner required despatching at our request by Dr Pieter in Humansdorp having come into contact with a vehicle.  Owner devastated but the job done pronto.  Thank you, Dr Pieter.

I think that I should say here that the staff at the Unit work as a team, and the team includes Amy who comes to ride the horses as well as Isabella – who ‘does’ the Tack Recycle Shop – as well as Treloar who is always available for good opinions – and such a good team it is.

The third and final SOS Trail Run took place at Walker Drive Shopping Centre early on a beautiful early morning.  Competitors applauded Sharon Jessop of Extremebootcamp who had laid out all three courses when she was presented by Dawn Rogers with a Certificate of Appreciation for her work on behalf of the Unit.   See you all next year?

A donkey from Kwanobuhle, Uitenhage, was brought in with an eye injury as well as a hind leg problem.

A horse in Transkei that was battling to put on weight was discussed with our Dr Hilda and the necessary information acted upon by the owner. 

A stray horse in Kwazakhele, originally reported by the NMMM Cowboys about two months ago, and that had diligently refused to be caught was finally captured with the help of another horse in hand, haltered and brought in to safety.  So well done, Kapie and Stanley!   Is now reacting well to human contact and has been dewormed and the matter of ownership now established.

The Harvest Primary School Grade 4’s resumed their monthly visits, but were devastated that the donkeys ‘ran away’ from them.  And then I realised why.  Some other children and teenagers, although they had been told the donkeys were definitely NOT for riding, had just done so and that had me yelling like a banshee.  I did not sleep that night because the girls had gone and stood in the furthest point in the camp, their psyches wounded, until the Ladies and Gent of Exposure Marketing came along and gentled them with brushes and carrots and tlc.   Just shows you that donkeys and horses do have memory.  I hope that the ‘girls’ will be forgiving of human bad behaviour and get back to their wholesome relationship with the Grade 4’s.

On the Humansdorp visit, 17 horses and 3 donkeys were found to be good with no problems.  We all know that horsey folk talk to and sometimes, about each other’s horses from time to time.  It all comes ‘good’ when somebody new with horses comes to the area and starts talking to other owners who then point him in our direction, leading to the horses getting their first deworming and assessment for future reference.  Numnahs and halters supplied, Dip dispensed with help from Renaldo.

One donkey seen by a passerby and reported to us, standing on Heugh at the ‘tunnels’ at Walmer Township had us contacting the owner to collect but finding out at the same time that their other two were ‘missing’.  Eventually all three found and returned home by the owner’s wife with Unit help.

A call taken from ADT Security Company had us tearing off to the Hunters Retreat Tip to ‘rescue’ three donkeys that were being mishandled by youngsters – who should not have had them in the first place!  The Tip Management and staff had taken the donkeys under their combined wings until we could get there with the horsebox and uplift them and bring them in to Protective Custody.   We brought the harnessing in at the same time.  The wind was howling and the donkeys were ‘down’.  We were informed by the owner’s son that the owner was in hospital and to please keep the donkeys until he was well and home again.  No problem!

From time to time, we get requests from horse owners for Assessment of their equines.  There have been a couple this month, one where we were able to add to Veterinary opinion and another where very little appeared to be wrong at all.

And then a Cartie from Walmer phoned to say that he had found one of his donkeys that had been missing but she looks terrible and can we come and fetch.  Well!  We did!  Mangey beyond belief!  And we brought in one other starting with the same thing!  The jenny then produced a dead pre term foal that Dr H assisted in removing with great support from Mr and Mrs Daisley!  Quite a Sunday morning for all.   At the same time as we collected the two donkeys, we also brought in a limping dog to AWS.  Dr Dave found that the elbow of the dog was shattered and the kindest thing for the animal was done with the approval of the owner.   Dr H advised a shampoo regime and as luck would have it, the phone that had been quiet all morning, suddenly went berserk when we were in the middle of the shampoo and sopping wet!  But it is looking a lot better.

Cartie Patrick was engaged for an 8th birthday party in the Schoenies Village at the request of Mikey’s mumkins.  Judging by the smiles in the photographs and Patrick’s smile later, all went well. 

A horse owner with a ‘choke’ problem asked for assistance but unfortunately there are only so many things we are trained to do, and passing a tube ain’t one of them!  He was directed to get his Veterinarian asap.

Stanley undertook another Transkei visit and 4.5 days and 2082kms later had attended to at least 50 horses ranging from hoof work, deworming, supply of numnahs that help prevent saddle sores, a Recheck and blood collection and a Prehome Check. 

AWS received a Cape Hare from a member of the public.  The hare looked like it had tar burn and really as an indigenous animal the best place for it was with Arnold from Wildline.   The horses and donkeys shared a few carrots with him and he has now been released by Arnold into his natural habitat.

Our special Daisy has been brought in to foal down and is currently ‘putting her nose in the air’ to all the other donkeys as she is staying in the Pink Palace!  Wonder when it will be?

Our Grahamstown visit was a freezing one with few donkeys and owners arriving.  Being alerted to some ‘badboys’ who give all the others a bad name with the treatment of their donkeys, a visit was paid to them where Stanley laid down the Law!

On our long roundabout way home, calling in at two other owners on the way, we came across a motorbike accident that was really ugly.  I rustled up some Authorities while a very rattled Stanley did Traffic Control with our red flag until they arrived.  Some family is be grieving.

Donations Received in August for which we Thank You:

Horse and Hound – food additives for the Tack Recycle Shop.

Carol, Kelly, Sue – fodder

Andrew and Anneke – California and Germany – voluntary groomers

Fiona, Glynis, Ronel, Kelly and friends and Tanya –  tack

Tarryn - 2 bags horse cubes via Treloar

Volunteers Coral and Kate - Muck out, grooming, feeding, took Noodle for a walk, break bread. 

Erica – an 8 year old who has been carroting the donkeys since she was 3!

Kathy - carrots

Treloar - a pair of nippers donated to Patrick Grahamstown as his are very worn


Finally having condensed 30 pages down to these few, and not wanting to be accused of ‘talking the hindleg off a donkey’, we head down the main straight towards the end of the year.


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
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