“What do you want for Christmas?” I asked Daisy, Jenny and Larry Potter. They looked up from munching, reflecting on the question. Looking at them, I thought how content they looked and a new grooming brush, a few carrots or even a new food bowl wouldn't make much difference to their lives. But the one thing I could do that would make a difference was to make sure that at over the Christmas and New Year period, I spent some quality time with them so they had a sociable festive season too.
Whether in the brick kilns of India or green meadows of Devon – foot problems are an issue affecting donkeys across the world. Twenty-nine people currently practise farriery in our projects internationally, but some in different ways to others. To make the most of their wealth of knowledge and experience The Donkey Sanctuary recently organised a workshop in Egypt to bring people together from across the world to share ideas and put together competency standards everyone could take home.
With rugged hills and mountains, Dansa village in Hintalo Wijerat district, 9 miles from Mekelle city in Tigray region, is the home of 250 donkeys in 300 households. The community in Dansa village relies heavily on subsistence farming. Every Monday and Friday many donkey owners in Dansa village transport vegetables and fruits to markets in Mekelle town. Due to uneven hilly topography, donkey owners in the village have to fasten a strap to a pack saddle looping under the tail of their donkey to prevent the load from slipping forward. In the past the strap was a rough thin rope which caused a wound under the tail, known as a crupper wound, on many donkeys. Based on an assessment we did two years back in a focus group discussion with donkey owners in Dansa village, 97% of donkeys had crupper wounds.
Have you ever walked into a shop and looked at a pair of shoes and thought “I like those” and you then look at the price tag and think “no that’s too much”?
I do, quite regularly and my husband will always say “oh just buy them if you want them” but still you walk out of the shop empty handed.
You may be thinking what my point is. Well, look down at the pair of wellies or yard boots you are a wearing and tell me how much they cost... thought as much.
In 2008 we were looking for local harness makers in El Saf brick kilns when I met an elderly man called Salah. I was with Chris Garrett, International Harness Consultant for The Donkey Sanctuary. At that time we knew that the hitching point where the cart is attached to the harness was the main cause of wounds in all the kilns.