AKI Grantee: HorseSafety in Ghana
Providing healing, care, and health for the horses
We're supporting HorseSafety in Ghana with a 2021 grant for their project, "Healing, care, and health for the horses at the Kingdomstables, Accra [while
raising awareness and providing positive influences for other horses around us.] #thesixfreedoms
Ghana has a long history of using horses-for polo, in ceremonies, as army horses (more ceremonial than for fighting), and for racing. Horses are also used to take tourists on rides along the beaches. But keeping horses has become more expensive, and with widespread urbanization, it's not so practical to have a horse, especially in Accra. This, plus closing down the racetrack in Accra, has led to a great number of horses being abandoned --sometimes left tied in grassy roundabouts, sometimes just abandoned at stables, with no money provided to cover the horse's care. Also, horse caretakers may not have the knowledge and skills needed to properly care for horses, and in general, a position as horse caretaker is not as respected as it once was.
HorseSafety aims to improve the care of horses and give horse caretakers the opportunity to improve their knowledge and skills, thereby creating a more respected cadre of professionals, who are paid salaries commensurate with such an important profession. And in turn, they will take better care of the horses entrusted to them. (see pictures below the text)
With the AKI grant, here's what HorseSafety has done, straight from the horse's mouth (actually from HorseSafety Coordinator, Ulla Deventer):
IMPROVEMENT IN HORSE NUTRITION: With guidelines of Eva Lydeking (Horse Nutritionist, Ghana) we improved the feeding of 7 horses at Kingdsomstables, adding necessary vitamins, minerals, and proteins (maize and soya). Moreover, we changed to a more appropriate de-wormer. We're already seeing positive effects on the horses health-their bodies, hair and skin are more healthy, they are gaining weight again and getting back their strength.
HORSE TREATMENTS: We treated 7 animals; 2 stallions in severe condition (open abscesses from unprofessional given injection), 1 stallion and 1 mare with wounds from rope, 1 foal with skin eczema, 2 mares with vitamin mineral deficiency.
NETWORKING and impacting horses around us: Collecting and applying knowledge on appropriate feeding helps us to influence other horse owners. Together with Dr. Akunzule, we introduced the head of the Ghana police horses to nutritionist Eva Lydeking. The Ghana police showed positive interest in collaborating with us to improve the health of their horses.
IMPROVEMENT OF HORSE CARETAKERS: With the support of the grant, we have been able to employ 3 caretakers with a regular salary and could furthermore improve their living conditions by fixing their wooden huts and purchasing a gas cylinder for easier cooking than on the open fire as before. The better living conditions of the caretakers already shows a positive effect on the horses' health as well.
TRAININGS OF CARETAKERS: One of our new employees is Yaw, a 15 year old orphan who used to hustle from stable to stable in Accra. He shows impressive talent. He is currently at the ranch of Eva Lydeking for a workshop. We are planning on training programs for the other caretakers, our own and outside our stable, and will collaborate with the ranch of Eva Lydeking and Dr. Akunzule.
In August we made an ATTEMPT TO RESCUE ONE PREGNANT MARE AND HER FOAL: Together with Eva Lydeking, we are in the process of adopting one mare and her foal in Accra, who are both in severe condition: malnourished, lack of hoof care and deformed legs of the mare from calcium deficiency. Both are standing in constant heat of the sun close to the Ridge Hospital Accra, mostly tied at one place with no access to water, unless someone provides them water in buckets. The owner asked us to adopt them, but suddenly seems to change his mind and asks us to buy the horses. We are still in the process and hope to find a solution. Many more horses in Accra suffer the same way, they stand in the heat at one place with lack of water and feed. Hopefully we can improve their lives for the better.
By September we RESCUED THE 2 HORSES: MARE Queen AND FOAL: After long negotiations with the owner, we have finally been able to take the 2 horses into our care. We agreed that he will never sell the horses but let them stay with us, and that he pays a monthly compensation for their feed, while we cover the balance and provide their care. Obviously, we are on the challenging side since our budget doesn’t reach at the moment, we therefore urgently need to focus more on social media to fund raise for these two horses. The mare is pregnant and because of her severe condition, she needs extra feeding. Moreover, she soon needs a separate shelter of her own to have space for the baby.
PROGRESS IN PURCHASING LAND FOR OUR OWN RANCH: For our planned ranch THE SIX FREEDOMS, we are negotiating with the chiefs and wait for further updates. Having our own land would enable us to adopt more horses and enhance our teaching programs.
WE MADE MORE PROGRESS IN SEPTEMBER with Queen when Eva and Eddie provided hoof and teeth care for her very neglected teeth and hooves. We also treated colt Pablo's eczema. We got a de-wormer and drugs for bathing him and both are showing good results-his skin shows improvement. Caretaker Wisdom is looking after Pablo. Wisdom also took care of the hooves of 3 other horses at Kingdomstables.
WE VISITED THE HORSES AT RING ROAD and connected more with their caretakers.
Horses are in severe condition, the caretakers are trying everything to make a living, including overworking their horses.
Pictures of our work are below:
Healing process of Boga, one of our stallions recovering from severe open abscess, Dr. Christian Twumasi treated Boga (#1, Boga healed: #2, Boga, open abscess from injection given by untrained individual):
Healing process of Arrowboy, one of our stallions recovering from severe open abscess, with Dr. Christian Twumasi treating the abscess:
Healing process of mare Saza after she strangled herself with a rope from being tied too tight for too long:
Horses close to Ridge Hospital, Accra that we rescued (mare and her foal in background):
Our visit to the horses at ICGC Ring Road Accra – all horses show severe physical and mental conditions:
Team of the Ranch Eva Lydeking, with who we are collaborating with for horse rescue and horse care training:
Transport of Queen and foal Goodnews to Ranch Eva Lydeking:
Bathing the new arrivals:
Hoof care for the new arrivals:
Teeth care for the new arrivals:
Yaw out with Queen and Goodnews for grazing:
Pablo in the paddock- healing of his skin-he had a bad case of eczema: