May '09

The 10th of May 2009 dawned bright and shiny which made feeding the hospital donks a breeze. We loaded the horsebox with all our toys and headed over the road to Arlington Racetrack for our Animal Wellness Awareness (AWAD) Day 2009 festivities that we had moved from Walmer Township to Arlington at the request of our benefactor, Mrs Dorrie Sham of New Turf Carriers.

The first activity of the morning was the setting up of the cones for the Obstacle Course for the Donkey Carters and getting water in buckets from the Grandstand, and setting out Lucerne for our competitors and doing some running repairs on the Carts and their Drivers.

Four Carters duly presented for the Turnout Event, judged by an appropriately dressed Judge, Mrs Di Roe, ably assisted by Mr Stan McGarrigal. This was a difficult task as the Carters do the best they can, but their carts are a little shabby to say the least.

Then onto the Obstacle Course, which involved a small simple serpentine, a circle and the picking up of a bag of rocks onto the cart to be dropped off further down the course, all without knocking the tennis balls off the cones and all this going on with the gravel road to the back of the Main Stand that had vehicles traversing back and forth, thereby making ‘natural obstacles’! The final lineup, with nervous Carters hoping that they had impressed the Judge sufficiently and were going to be the winners, with the press photographer from Die Burger rushing around taking photographs. Carter Peter won the turnout prize and Carter William won the Obstacle Course and the donkeys won all the way with a mammoth carrot donation by New Turf Carriers.

We were so proud of our guys doing their best to give a good impression, not a whip in sight and not one delinquent donkey!! The Judge presented prizes and rosettes to each one, as just by arriving, everyone was a winner.

Special thanks to MaNDELA member, Shan, all the way from Grahamstown as well as Karien who became ‘gofers’ for the day and helped us pull it all together. Never to forget the newly married Craig, who spent half his Mother’s Day with us instead of with his Mom and her Mom and dashing hither and thither.

Then it was the turn of Animal Welfare Society dogs. All of these animals live in the township, and their owners readily accepted the challenge to come and take part in the Dog Dipping Competition. Township dwellers are regular visitors to AWS to dip their dogs and get them seen to where necessary, so it was just down the road for them and they arrived in numbers. One has to say that with all the noise of the loudspeakers, the cars, people and donkey carts, the dogs were most well behaved becoming part and parcel of the Carters Obstacle course too and in one case, snatching a ball from on top of a cone for a quick game with his owner! AWS’s Margaret was a busy lady organizing the donated prizes to participants while Sharon, the AWS General Manager, provided suitable backup along with Wendy and Peter.

This was all followed by a soccer match between two fun soccer groups from the township, and arranged by my friend, December from Conservation, who had had a round robin and they proceeded to have the Finals. With match shirts, shorts and socks, donated by DKT Engineering, urged on by their Coaches and various bystanders, a great game was had by all.

In due course, the soccer players were presented with Gold and Silver medals, depending on who won and who didn’t, and were presented with a soccer ball each, donated by Mr Prout of Opal Sportswear of Johannesburg, and arranged by that special lady, Dorrie Sham. I have been told that the children so look forward to this event, that they are unable to sleep the night before!

In endeavouring to bring to the attention of the public the place that animals of all sorts play in our lives, and just how important they are, we arranged a few ‘between race’ fillers.

So, along came Sandy Glover, on Two Step, to do a Musical Kur on the main straight, and what a great ride she had. Accompanied by a CD of appropriate music, and attired in her best riding gear, Sandy and her horse proceeded to ‘dance’ to the music. Two Step did not bat an eyelid at the unusual surroundings either!

Sandy and Two Step then led the Derby Runners onto the track for introductions to the betting  public, and Two Step just took it all in her stride when the racehorses did a gallop past prior tothe race. Thank you, Sandy!

Mark Marshall, herpetologist, brought along a Red Tail Boa Constrictor and a Black Mole Snake to demonstrate the snakes to the public, and in fact this had a couple of folk heading for the hills! Thank you, Mark!

After the final race of the day, oil paintings that had been donated to both the AWS and the ECHCU, were auctioned in the Stewards Room. Mitch Wiese who had won the Derby bought the ECHCU painting as a memento of his momentous day, and Mr Wright who bought the landscape donated to AWS. In both cases the money goes to a worthy cause and we thank those that bid and bought!

All in all a hectic, but very satisfying, day for all concerned. Our sincere thanks for planning, ideas, sponsorships, guidance, and caring, go to:

  • Mr and Mrs Dorrie Sham – New Turf Carriers
  • Mr Luciano Passerini - Phumelela
  • Karin le Roux – Phumelela
  • Sharon Plumb – Animal Welfare Society

Well, I am off for some much needed Leave and will be back in June. Craig will handle the phonecalls and continue as normal, and Alfred will supply his backup.