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June '11

Well, I think we can all safely say that the drought she is broken and that the rain is most welcome, albeit making us cold and wet. But thanks to one of our Sand Saviours, Jan Beyers, the water channels through our camps are working like a dream, so we are not as bad as we have been in the past.

Bles, having been gelded was returned to his owner in Kwazakhele, and it was quite sweet to hear Britman yelling a welcome on his return after three days away. I am sure Britman had really missed Socks and is happy with his new pulling companion.

A Complaint was received about two horses that looked like they might be in need of assistance were visited and after consultation with the owner giving all their options, a decision was made to release the horses for euthanasia. It was quite a job doing two horses at the same time, but accomplished nonetheless with great assistance from Kragga Kamma Game Park, Stanley and the owner’s son. A heartbreaking decision for them to make, but clearly things were out of control.

A Western township visit in the very late afternoon to try and find a donkey with blood on his face was unsuccessful as the donkey was never found. However, another one of our Carters took the opportunity to ask for assistance with a donkey’s tail that had been bitten off by a dog!
A 6.30 Saturday morning call was received by Liezl who was on weekend duty and she in turn phoned me. Thick with a head cold, I still don’t know how I was able to do the business, but we did it. A donkey had been hit on Old Cape Road at 3am and was still lying there.

All the while, a running commentary was being given on Algoafm, alerting the public to the animal.

On arrival, we found that the young donkey was still alive but unable to get to its feet and had been lying there for 3½ hours!

After loading the animal into the horsebox, with help from bystanders, a trip to the Vet just to get confirmation of damage led to a trip back to the Kragga Kamma Game Park for euthanasia.

The matter was broached with our SAPS Sector Manager as to why the Unit was not called earlier as it was totally unnecessary that the animal lay there for so long before we got to him and I am sure those irresponsible persons have been carpeted!

An interesting question raised on the Unit Facebook page regarding export of horses to Lesotho led to some questions of our own. We were able to assist with information that led to answers from our own Department of Agriculture. By the 9th of the month, the rain had really set in. A request was made on the Facebook page for sand for the camp, which were, by now, really soggy with rain.

A chance check up on the AWS fb page by Denise Barendse from Seaview Sand Quarry led to their generous donation of 7 tons of sand!

And, delivered gratis by Dennis van der Watt of Erlou Sands in his huge truck which promptly sank up to its axle in a hole in the drivearound!

This of course meant that the hydraulic tipper would not work, so Stanley, Alfred and David AWS had to start offloading with shovels. When they got to the stage where the tipper would work, Licorice the cat had ‘got lost’ inside the truck engine but once we established where he was, the rest of the sand was deposited on the ground.

Sharon AWS had the bright idea to call on a man who is happy to donate his time and resources when we need help – Jan Beyers – who hopped into his truck with a TLB on the loadbed and hitched up the stuck truck and hauled him out!

A large sigh of relief was given by all.

Jan then proceeded to rejuvenate the canals in the camps to the extent that after some small obstructions were removed by the TLB, the water rushed out of the camps.

We would like to say a special thanks to Denise, Dennis and Jan for their generous gesture – altogether it has made a big difference to our inhabitants and the Unit! We would also like to thank Kyla and Hanna and their mum for spending their afternoon shoveling and raking sand to flatten it in the Hi Care camp.

And still more rain!

Which meant that when our Bankers (Standard Bank) came to do our section of their Amazing Race on a Friday afternoon, a highly entertaining time was had by all.

One team of 7 participants arrived at 4pm in between two other tasks, and Unit staff had been instructed what to get them to do and goodness, they had such fun giving orders of who, what, where and when to the hapless bank officials. After singing Happy Birthday to me, they were told to collect all the feed bliks, wash them out, put them back in the camps, fetch the wheelbarrow and grass bales and bags, and empty them into the bliks.

In the meantime, a whole lot of carrot cutting was going on and this also had to be fed to our animals.

With all the mud, a lot of cleaning up had to be done to shoes, toes and hands at the end of it all before Stanley could give them their next clue – which was to go and play with some snakes! I am told everyone enjoyed their afternoon excursion and some even threatened to return. At the last check up over 800 hits had been made on our Facebook page to have a look at the Posters of pictures taken during this event.

The next day was a visit to Grahamstown for donkey clinic but before I even got there, the alarm bells were ringing. Annerie who has made it her business to help donkey carters over the years and who has done a great job, phoned to advise that a donkey mare with a potential broken leg had been found in the town. By the time I arrived at the church where she had been caught, Patrick from R + S Plumbers and the donkey owner had lifted her into the back of the work’s bakkie ready to transport to the SPCA. Patrick had been willingly hijacked by a SPCA member.

It was quickly established that all was not lost for the jenny and Patrick duly took her to the SPCA grounds where she was reunited with her foal from whom she had become separated. I have subsequently been told that the jenny is making steady progress – thank you to Jane and the SPCA Grahamstown for taking her under their wings.

Once I arrived in Joza, 4 donkeys were dewormed, 3 grotty bits replaced, 4 harnesses supplied and 4 removed from circulation, a donkey with a wound on his nose attended to, and a check up on last months abscessing stab wound to the abdomen, found that the wound was completely healed. Well done to Dumisani for doing what he was told to do and getting the desired result.

On my way out of town I popped in to check on the jenny at SPCA from earlier that morning and also dropped off a dog with a very painful leg that I am sure they will resolve. It was a loooong day, because having finally got back to PE, a couple of rechecks were done on the way home.
Only to be called out again after dark by someone who was concerned about a cart on Glendore Road.

I found the cart quickly only to discover that the one donkey was behaving in a very strange manner. My blood boiled over, I am afraid to say. I quickly removed him from the traces and while battling to hold him as he was wobbling all over the place, managed to call Liezl and one of our Veterinarians for assistance, and somehow managed to take a picture at the same time. Once help arrived I shot back to get the bakkie and horsebox and we loaded the struggling donkey into the box and back to stables where further treatment commenced.

I returned to get the cart home, only to find that the owner, realizing that he was in ’it’, put on a spectacular display on the road side saying he was sick.

Luckily for all concerned, Sidney arrived on the scene and having heard the whole story, took control of the cart and walked the donkeys and cart all the way home, with the bakkie now as back up and lighting to prevent further misadventure.

We finally left the donkey, by now flat out on the ground, but not before he did a fabulous judo throw on me, hurling me into the new sand!
I did not think he would last the night – but blow me down in the morning, I found he had recovered sufficiently to be alert and eating.

In hindsight, I believe that the donkey had probably had a chomp of cynanchum which led to the wobbly hindquarters, exacerbated by being urged on home, and leading him to appear to be having a heart attack.

All three donkeys and cart taken off the road. I was very glad when the 11th June was finally over but somewhat sheepish about my incandescent rage in the middle of the road! However, the 12th loomed just around the corner and carried on where the 11th had left off. On doing a spot check on a donkey cart on 10th Avenue, Walmer, I found that not one, but two of his donkeys had been slashed across their croups and he was coming to call for assistance. Stanley duly collected both donkeys and having assessed them, took them for stitching and stapling before returning them to Stables.

They are on the mend. I am sure we all know that we had a Lunar eclipse on the 16th, and when I arrived at work that day, I found that Lady had foaled down. The foal’s name could only be LUNA.

Already steady on her feet and doing all the ‘right stuff’, she is proving to be quite a hit with visitors, especially when milk has dripped onto her face and stuck the hair down!

…and then I found Grysbok spoor in the Boy’s camp. Such a nice surprise!

Our Bella has found a wonderful home with Siobhan and her horse. Bella quite fancies her new ‘friend’ and we are sure that this may well be, finally, a forever home.

We hope so anyway.

My Highveld Horse Care Unit boss visited briefly during the month and I obliged her with after dinner entertainment by chasing some donkeys over Heugh Road, much to her amuzement.

Three horses have been surrendered to the Unit and are available, along with Carmen for adoption.

A complaint received about stray donkeys on a road well outside Uitenhage led to a jenny and her yearling foal being collected, only to find that the jenny had a problem ear. On meeting up with Stanley and Liezl at the Vet, I was horrified to see that something was very definitely ‘wrong’ with the coupling.

It appeared that two of the four bolts attaching the socket on the horsebox had sheared off.

Once the animals were offloaded at Stables, I very gently took the box to Springwell, where Andries took matters in hand, and luckily for us, he completed the job by early the next day. One shudders to think about what could happen if the other two bolts also ‘went’ but it is not something that I have ever checked before. Have you?

Our Contacts were very kind in advising that the weather in Humansdorp was extremely inclement and suggesting that we not come through for the equine clinic on the last weekend of June. Which was just as well as our PE weather was just as bad but also good enough to ensure a quiet weekend indoors.

Two abuse Cases have been opened at the Kwanobuhle Police Station.

When I come to pay accounts at the end of every month, I can tell what kind of a month we have had – our main expenditure being Fodder, Veterinary and Fuel. This month has been heavy on the Veterinary side!

The new Fund Raising Committee had their first meeting this month and were advised that although it appeared to some that we only spend money, we also bring it in. Out of our 445 Contacts over 5 years (yes, 1 st June was our 5 th birthday), our Adoptions have brought in a much needed R40,000 +.


  • Enid – 5 bales Lucerne donated
  • Tamsin – donated tack and fodder
  • Michelle – bag of halters for repair and use
  • Kirsten - 1 grass roll donated
  • Seaview Spar – boxes of oats
  • Ian & Nina - 14 bales lucerne & 5 bags ready mix (oathay/Lucerne/teff mix)
  • Carolyn – 3 large woolsacks & 9 feed bags good dried cut grass from a public open space.
  • Shelley – a stock of F10 products for our Larder
  • Petra– donation of books and tack
  • Susan - 5 ½ bales of Lucerne donated
  • Kiara, Hannah, Michelle – grooming and washing a tail.
  • Anne – carrot tops
  • Kirsten & Jean – 10 bales Lucerne raised at the German Club
  • Jean – 1 bag feed & 2 bales Lucerne
  • Sarah – pink Himalayan rock salt on a rope (that I found Easter Surprise licking this morning!)

And finally
AWS received a donation of Astroturf pieces that is being made good use of in stables, keeping the dust, and now mud, down and making sweeping the Stables every morning much easier, as well as heavy duty plastic to fix the Hi Care afdak so that the rain does not rain inside it.

Our condolences have been sent to the Donkey Sanctuary in Devon on the death of Dr Elisabeth Svendson, who over her lifetime has made a considerable difference to many donkeys in many parts of the world – she will be missed – but I have a copy of her Manual to guide me. Rest in Peace.

Facebook: East Cape Horse Care Unit
Banking Details: Standard Bank
Name of Account: Racing Association, National Horse Trust
Number of Account: 080563473