A place of safety for abused horses

The Cart Horse Pro­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion is im­prov­ing the lives of hun­dreds of an­i­mals

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - JELLYBEAN JOURNAL -

WHAT DOES a four­legged fella or filly do when he or she is over­worked, un­der­fed and in piti­ful shape Well, if the fella or filly is a cart horse, they have to hope like crazy that a guardian an­gel from the Cart Horse Pro­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (CHPA) spots them or that a con­cer ned by­stander re­ports their plight.

The as­so­ci­a­tion is a group of ded­i­cated peo­ple com­mit­ted to im­prov­ing the lives of hun­dreds of hard-work­ing cart horses from the Cape Flats, and to ed­u­cate and em­power the “car­ties” who rely on their horses for a liveli­hood.

Of course, horses are their num­ber one con­cern and for this pur­pose they have adopted a ze­ro­tol­er­ance pol­icy to­ward cart horse abuse. When this oc­curs, they turn an un­for­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion into a for­tu­nate one by re­mov­ing the horse to a beau­ti­ful sanc­tu­ary in Som­er­set West.

Known as the Fir­lands Rest and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre, it is a place of heal­ing for horses. Lov­ingly nursed and re­stored to good health, they turn out so hand­some that they are scarcely recog­nis­able as the poor beasts that were brought in. Some­times it is nec­es­sary to per­ma­nently re­move them from their own­ers who are con­sid­ered un­fit to own a horse. They will then be put up for adop­tion, and a new home found.

While Fir­lands serves as the hospi­tal wing of the as­so­ci­a­tion, (with ma­ter­nity care for foal­ing mares and a place of safety for those re­peat­edly abused and ne­glected) the main hub is the clinic and train­ing cen­tre in Ep­ping.

Here, staff get to meet and in­ter­act with car­ties who come to buy food at spe­cial prices and to have their horses shod by trained far­ri­ers. There’s a harness shop, treat­ment stalls, a ve­teri­nary sur­geon, pad­docks, an ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing room that of­fers skills train­ing for car­ties in far­ri­ery and harness-mak­ing, and a feed stor­age barn. This is also the place where the cart is reg­is­tered.

All this ac­tiv­ity gets you think­ing about the im­por­tant re­la­tion­ship be­tween horses and hu­mans. Horses have al­ways been a part of everyday life, pulling ev­ery­thing from carts to canal boats, mak­ing de­liv­er­ies, plough­ing fields, work­ing on the rail­ways or coal mines, and of course, trans­port­ing peo­ple around the land. Hu­mans and horses have been a driv­ing force in war­fare, but they’ve also re­laxed to­gether, gal­lop­ing along stretches of beach or coun­try roads. They’ve teamed up in com­pe­ti­tions of all kinds. Horses have in­spired books, po­ems, plays and films, both real and imag­i­nary. To­day horses are even used in ther­apy.

A lit­tle bit of horsey re­search re­veals that they are built for power, are ag­ile, quick, and as they only eat grass they can go al­most any­where that hu­mans can, eat­ing as they go.

How did our Cape cart horse in­dus­try orig­i­nate? Ac­cord­ing to the as­so­ci­a­tion, the horse and cart have pro­vided a liveli­hood for pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties of Cape Town for over 100 years. The cart­ing in­dus­try has been passed down through the gen­er­a­tions, and to­day the col­lec­tion of scrap metal has be­come in­creas­ingly im­por­tant as the only means of in­come for many.

This in­crease in horse and cart op­er­a­tors has led to the de­vel­op­ment of a sec­ond form of in­come: the rent­ing out of horses and carts.

“Un­for­tu­nately,” says the as­so­ci­a­tion, “in most cases th­ese peo­ple are un­trained, with no ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing with horses. A grad­ual in­crease in horses be­ing over­worked, over­loaded and of­ten in­cred­i­bly abused re­sulted in a need to cre­ate a sus­tain­able so­lu­tion to the carthorse prob­lem.”

En­ter the CHPA – and the rest, of course, is his­tory.

Any­one who spots a dis­tressed cart horse should no­tify the as­so­ci­a­tion im­me­di­ately.

“There is never an in­con­ve­nient time to re­spond to a cart horse emer­gency,” they say, “We’ve seen meet­ings in­ter­rupted, ad­min work stopped, lunch times cut short, staff train­ing ses­sions missed – all to at­tend to a cart horse need­ing ten­der love and at­ten­tion.”

Con­tact num­bers are pa­trol in­spec­tor (all ar­eas) Karin Bothma 082 656 6599; chief in­spec­tor (Ve­teri­nary) Diana Truter 082 659 9599 or clinic in­spec­tor Karin Kno­bel 082 326 1972

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.