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October '11

We started off the month with an absolute blinder of a clinic in Grahamstown. No less than 8 donkeys requiring in depth treatment, and for that you can read ‘injections’, including one poor fellow whose dock had been dehaired and had a really nasty wound at the end of it as well as a couple of donkeys with old burn wounds where the skin had healed to the wound. So it was with great trepidation that I visited at the end of the month four weeks later! More of that later at the end of this letter! Later that day, I collected our Stanley from the Airport. He had been in Gauteng for further training at Highveld Horse Care Unit as well as a farriery course conducted by World Horse Welfare, which is to be continued in a second module shortly. It has been good to see Stanley and Ayanda going off to do hooves and not have to worry about the outcome! It certainly eased the pressure a bit! For a lot of this time we were doing the feeding routine with the orphans Georgie and Luna, and Georgie had me running to feed at 4.30am in the morning while Liezl handled the 8.30 feed. But it was all OK, as I enjoy listening to the ‘Dawn Chorus’ of the birds, some of which were a Burchell’s Coucal, a Fiery Necked Nightjar and the European Cuckoo!

We should at this time give a sincere thank you to all the contributors who delivered, in response to a Facebook request, litres and litres of milk, and at least 50kgs of Carrots. Sarah Thexton even managed to get a freezer donated which went a long way towards freezing our booty, although some of us had to take it to freezers at home, all duly returned to us when supplies ran down in the office! And then there was Tamlyn Gill. Another story altogether, but with the support of her mother, Kim, Tamlyn asked all the pupils at St Dominics Priory to bring in a litre of milk, and the end result was a stupendous 120 litres of milk! We laud Tamlyn for her forward thinking action that made our lives so much easier!

Stanley, Eric and Alfred then started bringing in a most splendiferous donation of Lucerne, 100 + worth, from Gill and Brandon. So, so, thankful to them!

With the return of Stanley, harnessing production got back into full swing, us having received our order of cotton webbing from Johannesburg and our usual generous donation of seat belting from a local company.

We were just getting back into our stride when we received a report of two donkeys behind Schoenmakerskop. That certainly woke us up! So, with the incredible assistance from Sarah Thexton and three volunteers plus Stanley and Alfred we took off. After a good two hour hunt in and around the bush, we eventually found a donkey mama and very young foal, and with everyone huffing and puffing we managed to load and bring them home. I knew at some stage somebody would put their hand up! Eventually the owner got to hear that we had two new comers, and when asked, he said they had just disappeared – one assumes mama wanted peace and quiet to have her foal and had just mooched off into the bush where she proceeded to do the foaling down. We need to say a special Thank You to Sarah, Micaela, Kayleigh and Shayne for their willingness and drive to help us as well as to the visitor to AWS who came in while we were out careering around the bush, found a escapee donkey from one of the camps and managed to get it back in all by herself! Thank You one and all!

And then the much awaited foaling down by Stompie occurred, as luck would have it, in the middle of the camp. As it was Bishop Tutu’s 80th birthday and as the foal was a filly, we named her Desi. What a beautiful, long legged, short haired beauty, with a feisty mother to boot!

A nice surprise it was receiving a US$ donation!

Just by way of a change a call about an owl with a problem was received but was referred to Arnold at Wildline 082 332 3660. (No Cowcalls this month!) With a cheery smile and wave of the hand and blue lights flashing, Traffic Officer Arnold assisted us with getting 5 donkeys home from the airport. Boys fighting for the girls again!

In the heat wave of 39.9 degrees, we were alerted to a serious case of cruelty in Uitenhage that was being handled by the SPCA. We have offered to give a Statement for this case as we do not understand the thinking of the perpetrators!

An alert received via the NMMM Cowboys had me tearing out at 7.30pm to the New Seaview Road where I found a really nasty case. Four horses had escaped from their well-fenced property. It was believed that somebody had left the gate open, with disastrous results. Luckily the neighbours in the area are horsey and any horse on the road gets led off the road by considerate people who understand that accidents happen. Three of the horses had been moved into a safe area, but the fourth was beyond help. The driver of the car that hit his hind leg was in shock, the owner of the horses hysterical, and lots of people and cars with lights flashing everywhere. With the kind, gentle hand of Dr Dave to steady me in the midst of all the turmoil, the Kragga Kamma Game Park came to euthanase the magnificent animal. It was really a ghastly evening. The next morning I went to check on the other three horses that had already been checked the previous evening by Dr Dave and found them calmly grazing with their new friends, all except the pony that had received a nick on his hindquarter and who was feeling a bit miz.

A Walmer donkey who has been staying with us for a while for a stab wound, on returning to work decided he didn’t want to and sat down in the cart traces! I am sure we are going to be asked to find a new home for him shortly. Stanley and I were invited to attend a short tree planting ceremony in memory of Wonderwoman Wangari Maathai who was responsible for the planting of hundreds of trees in her country and held at the Kragga Kamma Game Park. (Yes, we are tree huggers!)

We were able to make an appointment for the gelding of a horse belonging to one of our Humansdorp owners with the local Veterinarian. And check out the special shoeing job that was sorting out another’s problem, as well as a nasty gash to the pastern of yet another horse. A complaint received about a donkey riddled with mange, working in the Walmer area, on inspection revealed not mange, but old drying up bite wounds inflicted by another stallion. Clearly it’s that time of the year again!

We were able to assist a pregnant horse whose udder had no teats due to tick infestation prior to purchase. The little one was duly born and we were able to supply the balance of the magic colostrums left over from Georgie for Maximus the foal and get him drinking from the bottle.
Last I heard, he was drinking from the bottle (not ideal) but running with mama, until he can be weaned off into a bucket.

On 21st October, The Racing Association kindly hosted a Charity Race Day for the Unit at Fairview Racecourse. The response from the racing community was AMAZING!!!! THANK YOU doesn’t seem much to say but it is heartfelt.

We would like to extend our most grateful thanks to the following race sponsors whose continued support is much appreciated. Ian Levitan , IL Steel, John Koster & Grant Knowles of Klawervlei Stud, David & Sandy Hepburn-Brown of Hemel 'n Aarde Stud, Kate & Jan Peskens of Algoa Structures, Rennie & Alison Price of Wicklow Stud, Brett Lange of Triton Express, and Alan Denby, Martin le Roux & Len Sham of The Scoin Shop who donated 2 Gold Coins for our auction. These raised R16000.00.

Michael, Matthew & Marcus Sham of New Turf Carriers who organised the musicians Brent Harris (Just Jinger) & Nick Rush (ex Watershed) and then brought down all their equipment. Also many thanks to Clyde Basel, Luciano Passerini & Karin Le Roux for their support and hard work behind the scenes.

Larry Wainstein & Johnny Johnson of The RA for their support of the UNIT in the Eastern Cape, many thanks again.

Our thanks to all the loyal racing supporters who bought at the auction and also to Graeme Hawkins for once again being a GREAT Auctioneer. Richard Staffen of Fathers & Sons for excellent food. A Thank You too to Sharon for assisting with the pre and post mopping up for the Festival of Racing. Now the fun starts! How far we can stretch each Rand! Yet another early morning meant leaving on a painful trip at 5.30am to take our Georgie and Luna to their new home. In the short time they have been with us we have grown to love them and so it was with heavy hearts that, now that both were drinking from a bucket that they go to their new home, never to pull a cart. One cannot help getting emotionally involved with these animals, especially when you can ‘turn them around’ and we try not to get too attached. I personally find that somehow I always seem to find a teeny space to fit yet another one into my heart.

On the last weekend of the month, we were off to Grahamstown again – but very early so that a refit of those who had indicated they wanted harnessing could dolly their donkeys up for the Donkey Carnival, organized yearly by Mrs Annerie Wolmarans. Feverishly working to get the old off and the new on, I was surprised to find that, unlike the first weekend of the month where there were many difficult wounds to deal with, this time, there were only one or two minor wounds that needed treating. And then they all moved off to be judged by Friend Andrea, traffic control by Traffic Officer Nicholas Gxekwa, lead from the front by Annerie and her right hand man, Tim, and the Unit bringing up the rear! Annerie goes to enormous lengths to keep the carts and donkeys in check and to gift them at this time of the year with numerous donations from friends, family and interested citizens. SO WELL DONE, Annerie! And a special Thank You to Andrea who got thrown in at the ‘deep end’ to do the judging, and her daughter, Megan, who assisted with running repairs.

In total, 28 carts, 58 donkeys and lots of dogs (judged by Insp Milole of SPCA Grahamstown) were given the ‘once over’, and overall not too many problems except for our lack of harnessing that takes time to make! 8 bits and 17 harnesses replaced altogether, never forgetting the ones replaced from earlier in the month. It was also a pleasure to find that those that had had problems at the beginning of the month had done what was requested and the various wounds completely healed!

Donations received:

  • Micaela – grooming, and then bringing along her friends Kayleigh, and Shayne from Alexander Road High School
  • Donna, Charne, Marnie and Mieke from Collegiate High Seatbelting, orange and green from SA Webbing Feed and Seed - 14 lucerne, big bag leavings and 4 small bag leavings and 8 bags spoiled feed Di Ras delivered 4 bags shavings and bread Barbie Schroeder delivered grass cuttings Horse and Hound delivered 31 bags spoiled horse feed.
  • Robyn delivered a bakkie load of bread and 1 bale grass.
  • Michelle M delivered donated grass bales Anne delivered her donated Lucerne leavings. And a very Happy Birthday to Rhoda who had all her friends from the Retirement Home over for tea to celebrate but they were instructed to bring sliced carrots for Col B currently being fostered by Treloar – so thank you to the two Joans, Mary, Barbara, Isabella, Shirley, Janet, Vera, Suzie, Meg, Val, and Lyn. Well done, Ladies!!

In conclusion, early in the month, I was dumbfounded to see the mares in the Girls’ Camp, using the rainwater channel through the camp as their midden! After all this time, why choose to do your business in the middle of the chanel? If only I had known, I would have made Jan make the channel a lot sooner! It makes Alfred’s life soooo much easier!

Banking Details:
Bank: Standard Bank
Account: Racing Association, National Horse Trust (all donated monies are used by us in the Metro and beyond!)
Account Number: 080563473
Landline: 041 366 1594
Cellph: 072 357 2505
Facebook: East Cape Horse Care Unit.

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