The 6 Freedoms-Ghana: Bad, Better, & Interesting News (about horses)
The Six Freedoms is our only Partner Organization that specifically rescues and helps horses: READ ABOUT THEM HERE. And Ghana's horses need a lot of help!
We have sad news and good news from T6F, and since we always like to end on a high note, we'll start with the sad news.
We had previously mentioned the stallion, Zuma, whose owner pays no attention to him, leaves him tied up without enough food and no shade, no water. T6F has been watching over him for a few years and when they can, they bring food and water. They've tried to convince Zuma's owner to surrender him to T6F, but he's always refused.
Zuma lived in Langma, close to Kokrobite (near the stable in Kokrobite where some of T6F's rescue horses stay) and the last time Ulla (T6F) went by to check on Zuma, he was gone. Eva I, who stays in Kokrobite and works with Ulla, is trying to reach the owner, but he hasn't answered calls. We hope we can bring better news about Zuma soon.
Another very sad thing happened when a young, very weak mare, of course not one of T6F's rescues, gave birth on the beach. A huge cloud of flies appeared and in her weakened state, she was unable to run to the sea to save herself. Her foal, the other horses on the beach, and the humans all ran to the safety of the sea. The mare was attacked by the flies and passed away. Her foal survived. If she had been better cared for, she would have had the strength to save herself.
Horses in Ghana face so many dangers, most human-caused, even if indirectly.
Why is it that people even have horses when they don't treat them well, with the care and respect they deserve?
For some, it's a status symbol, sometimes it's a means to make money (polo, racing, beach rides), they are used for ceremonial purposes, sometimes they are sold to raise money when a need arises, especially an unanticipated, emergency need.
For example, a highly ranked chief in Langma is a horse owner and doesn't take any responsibility for his horses. T6F has, on several occasions, offered to take ownership of the chief's horses, but he won't give them up. Luckily, one of T6F's contacts in the horse community is Aikins, a groom, and even without any pay, he is helping the chief's horses--feeding them and providing general care.
But still we wonder, why have a horse when you can't or won't provide for her?
The last bit of bad news (I know, it's enough!) is that horses Goodnews and Medina were reclaimed by their owner and sadly, T6F is unable to do anything about it even though their care is again falling way below animal health and welfare standards.
And Lady's owner gave her to the Accra Polo Club with no notice given to T6F.
Based on these experiences, T6F decided not to provide care for any horses whose owners will not officially turn them over to T6F under a signed and witnessed contract.
Of course, T6F will continue to take care of the horses who are officially theirs-ones rescued from abandonment or cruelty and legally turned over to T6F. And they will continue to strengthen the horse community so they can provide improved care.
Now the better news:
Ulla went to Asafo over the 6-8 October weekend and saw Mr Key and Sunrise, two T6F rescues.
Sunrise, daughter of Sharon, who was rescued in Accra (https://www.animal-kind.org/post/aki-grantee-horsesafety-ghana-final-report), is big and strong now. This is thanks to Eva L, whose ranch in Asafo, is where Sharon recuperated (She never fully recovered and eventually had to be put down). Sharon was pregnant with Sunrise when she was rescued.
Mr Key was a race horse, driven to the point where he became an invalid (https://www.animal-kind.org/post/horsesafety-ghana-mr-k-s-story). Thanks to Eva L, Ulla, and Eva's staff (and AKI's kind donors), Mr Key made an amazing recovery.
Sunrise and Mr Key are now best of friends.
A young stallion, Shatta, had a very high fever and to identify the problem, Eva L took a blood sample that was sent to a vet to analyze. Shatta tested positive for tick fever. While Ulla was at Asafo, she watched as Eva L treated Shatta for tick fever.
No vet is willing to come to Asafo, even when offered extra money! It's just too far from the urban areas, where most vets work. So Eva L gives Shatta the injections of antibiotics and vitamins.
Shatta is recovering nicely now.
Eva has has had to do this many times. and is adept at giving injections, unlike many horse owners who give injections because they don't want to pay the expense of a vet or--as in this case, no vet is available. Improperly given injections have caused so many problems in horses, as we've discussed in previous AKI Blog posts.
This is why horse caretakers need to learn how and when to give injections properly, something that T6F hopes to train on, especially once they get their own rescue ranch.
Groom Maxwell is the main caretaker of the chickens and Guinea fowl at Asafo. (He also takes care of the horses and mucks out the stables--with a smile).
And here's the interesting news.
Guinea fowl are crucial for the safety of the Asafo ranch inhabitants.
Guineas sound an alert when a snake appears in the yard. If the snake is small, a flock may circle the snake and may even kill it. Generally, they will not eat a snake. But with their loud alerts, they protect horses and humans from the many kinds of dangerous snakes found in Ghana, especially in places like Asafo, where snakes are able to hide in the abundant bush. Thank you to Maxwell for taking good care of the Guinea fowl!
T6F has many plans for the upcoming year and we are looking forward to helping them achieve their goals, from purchasing their own rescue ranch to continuing to strengthen the horse caretaker community, and in the longer term, strengthening the legal framework for animal protection in Ghana by working with attorneys, police, and lawmakers.