Friday, April 27, 2012

Size wise

You are what you eat, there is no denying it. Just as those that grow up on junk food, will probably turn into fat adults. Those that grow up hungry will never reach the size they would have with adequate nutrition.

In fact nutrition probably plays a bigger part than genetics in how we develop.

The wild horses are a good example of this. There genetic pool comes from cavalry horses and farm mounts let loose and allowed to breed in the moutains on the central plateau...yet the horses there today are not horses, but generally ponies. Small around 13hh hands upwards. A combination of lack of food and nutrition, large numbers of horses and breeding young, probably combined to mean that these horse never developed to their full potential, but stated relatively stunted due to their poor diet...

Here the proof
Matai the stallion came back to my lace for the week, and the yearling Sonny who's arrived in his mothers belly form the same muster, recognized his old friend immediately and ran up to him showing the same submissive attitude he exhibited as a weanlings, they both fell straight back into their roles as playmates, and herd stallion and thing has changed though.... The yearlong towers over the 5 year old ex wild stallion..coming from the same genetic pool,the only thing that can contribute to one looking like a baby war horse and the other being pony sized is that sonny grew up with access to food, and adequate nutrition and his mother could provide Jon with obscene amounts of milk as she wasn't struggling to survive herself..

Check put the proof for yourself.

Ps click the photos to see the whole horse for some reason blogger sometimes crops my images...

Monday, April 23, 2012


In Egypt I saw some terrible things, that saddened,shocked amd disgusted me at times.horses that were walking skeletons, with rope tied through their flesh, with severed tongues, donkey carrying morse than their own weight on their backs, or pulling more weight than you can imagine, camels with such bad sores on their legs from being forced to live and sleep tied in th road that I could fit my whole hand in the wound.  some of the wounds and conditions were more horrible than you can imagine Yet I have come home ,feeling inspired, by all the positive things, just as their are bad people in the world, their are those who do incredible amounts of good, sometimes in the face of extreme adversity, overwhelming odds, little support, and no rewards. Overall it has left me with the feeling that I too want to make change, to help and do what I can for those that can't help themselves, in short it did leave me with the desire to become a better and more selfless human been. The work we did their was grim,  working with the worst of the worst, in the areas that have the terrible animal rights, high poverty, low education and a host of other problems. it really was the asshole of egypt. The team of us from New Zealand, worked in conjunction with an Egyptian charity, and a team of farriers from England,setting up street clinics to help care for the animals and provide first aid. We took our own medical supplies an d paid for the trip out of our own pocket, and it was well worth it  To be honest at times I wanted to find a way to humanly just put some fo the animals out of their misery, becaue frankly their was nothing good about their lives sat all. We were there for one month. Their are people who face this day after day, month after month, year after year, and they manage to keep working towards caring for these animals, for change,and for the good of every animal they see. The vets also face the attitude of a lot of egyptians, that there profession is some way second class, probably stemming from the fact theat there is no respect for animals, therefore none for those who care for them. Facing this kind of adversity and continuing, is to me is hugely inspiring, because it is hard, with little reward and most of your success you will never see. I was lucky enough to do a day in the countryside working with a charity caring for the donkeys, that worked on farms and brick factories. This was one of the most positive experiances, the charity was extremely organized had great succes, not only treating the animals, but also getting the owners to change detrimental practices and start to actions to prevent problems from occurring. They had a system that worked well, and they had really created change in the area they worked. The conditions for the donkeys in the brick factories had improved dramatically although a long way form perfect, and they communicated with factory owners to better, their business practices in a way that improved their profit, as well as the donkeys life. Truly inspirational However some of the saddest things I saw was not the neglect. But when people actually had tried to care for their animals, and it had gone wrong. Working with the donkey charity, we did an emergency call out to a donky with a cast on its leg. We got their and knew it was bad. An otherwise fat and healthy donkey, wouldn't get up, could barely walk, and ws hoping on three legs. Whoever put the cast on had set it wrong, as well as applying it jot tightly. We got half way through taking off the cast , when the vet said the worst "watch out guys the foot is gunna come off with this " The cast being to tight had cut off all circulation to the donkeys foot, causing it to die and rot off inside the casing. Sure enough as we unwrapped it, the hoof jus peeled away before our eyes, with blood and puss just oozing everywhere. The stench and the horror were beyound belief. The pain for that donkey would have been excruciating. It was a tragedy all around, for the owners who had tried to do the right thing, for the donkey, and for us, as their was nothing we could ,do to save the poor creature. All we were able to do was wrap the legs in a more comfortable way, provide pain relief, and negotiate with the owners to arrange to have the donkey euthanized as quickly as possible (which is very hard over their beause it goes against a lot of people's beliefs and customs). To me this was the saddest case for all involved. Another great charity had a equine hospital in Cairo, where they took in all sorts of cases, but again provided education and preventative treatment to owners. They had their own farrier, gave medical cards for the horses to owners to monster treatment. Set up water troughs for the public to use for their animals(extreme dehydration was one of the biggest problems we saw), and provided emergency care, and a horse ambulance, as well as paying compensations to owners who wer willing to euthanize animals that could not be saved. Seeing the horses in there emergency ward was inspiring, horrific injuries form being hit by cars,working in factories etc and here they were healing and receiving the best care possible for injuries that even in this country would sometimes cost to much for owners to attempt treatment. Yet here these horses were healing, being cared for, and recovering from there wounds, without any cost to the owners wo brought them in. Every success like this helped, change peoples faith in 'traditional' medicine and turn to the vets in order to save their animals,  I think I learned that change is possible, there are amazing, kind and inspirational people worldwide, despite race and religious and media portrayal.wanting to make change and do good has to be selfless and not for personal gratification. yet with time small steps and hard work change can happen for the better. If change was easy it would have already happened, and it takes all these hardworking people, willing to make change and help those who cant, who work quietly away for years at a time who make these changes possible. truly inspirational

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Oh the places we go

okay my adventures in egypt are winding up sadly. so i think its safe to start spilling the beans about some of my experiances. For one I really excited to now count a, muslim, and a Coptic christin, and a couple of mohammeds as very good friends. I've ridden a camel, seen the pyrimads and can now also tick being in a revolution off my bucket list. I dont know how many of you know what has been going on in Egypt regarding the revolution and rioting etc. But for those of you who dont know, ther has been a revolution, and the presidents been kicked out of office,blah blah, blah. Well the place of all the protests, and most of the images broadcasted world wide is Tahir Square, this is where the protesters still are, where the riots were etc, and where everything goes down. I have now been there twice.... The goverment warns against going here, in all travel advice...with good reason, there's been people shot, ran over,beaten and killed in the protests. Some risks are stupid, and some are calculated. I took a risk going t, but both times i was there i never felt in danger. The first time was at night, and to be honest, Tahir square looked just like any rounabout in the world with a few homeless people camped in the middle. Everyone there we talked to, only ever greeted us with a 'welcome to egypt' adn 'where are you from?' Today however is friday and things were a little differant. Friday is a day off in Egypt, so genreally this is when all the protests go down...and go down they did, hundreds of thousands in the street, megaphones, flags, mraches, it was all on. I didnt really intend to get in the middle of it,we were just en route to the Museum, which took us through tahir square. after asking if it was safe, we got a lcal man to take us through the barricade, which took a twenty pound bribe and a glimpse at our pass ports to make sure we wernt foreign spys, and we were in the middle of the protest area.. It was an odd experiance to say the least, we got there at midday preyers, and so thousasnds of people were on the streets, prostrating to allah, while the prayers blasted across the cities megaphone system, all was actually really quiet, protest flags hanging in the breeze, megaphones blasting, but there in the centre all was qute still and everyone prayed. Then a switch was flicked, prayer time finished, flags started waving, and the whole tension of the area picked up immediantly. You could feel it in the air. Every boday started pouring into the centre of the square, and chanting there differant slogans. To be honest it was really exciting feeling, like something could happen at any second, and there you were in the middle of it. It is easy to see how riots start in this sort of enviroment, you just join in with the excitment of the crowd... There were film crews in the middle, burka clad women taking home video on there cellphone, men with camera taking snapshots and children climbing trees, everybody jsut seemd to want to be there and in on the action, waiting for something to happen. Suddenly it was time to leave, our guide clearly didnt want the reponsibilty of four westerners getting killed in the protests, with marches puring in from all over,and started to hurry us out, although he kept assuring us it was safe.... to cut a long story short, after hiding out in a perfum shop, as more and more protesters marched towards the square, we headed to the museum. By now the tension had really picked up, we even heard shots fired in the air... but again the feeling you got was more excitment and curositry from all the people around you, everyone waiting to see what could possibly happen. So we wandered around the museum abit, still hearing the megaphones blasting outside..but all felt safe, and theere were other tourists around, people taking in the sights of the museum with us, so we never felt in any danger.. until we all got locked in the museum... for fear rioters were about to break down doors and ransack the place...them we all sat there for a bit listening to the booming from outdoors.. It one of those moments in life that you kind just go 'really this is happening?' I'm locked in one of the most famous museums in the world, with king tutenkahmens tomb, 5000 year old artifacts, and billions worth of Egyptology, for my own safety, with a cultural and political revolution happening just across the street, with gunfire heard once or twice, and a completly burnt out building for last riots just out window, yet we all wandered around and made jokes like it was the most natural thing in the world I know some people will think I'm irresponsible and stupid for getiting myself in this situation, but being on the ground experiencing it is very differant. I got out alive, nothing dramatic happened, no one died and as we left the protest and energy of the people was already waning. It was a risk being there, but how many people can say they been in a riot and a museum in one day. As we walked out of the museum, people would still come up and ask where we were from, how did we like egypt, and the people with better English asked our opinions of the revolution and explained there opinions, media would have you believe it was an angry mob ready to burn and beat you, and it well could go that way, but rally what I found was a whole bunch of people excited and wanting change, and looking to the future. It was an amazing experiance, and I'm glad I had it

Thursday, April 5, 2012

judgement day

You don't realise how much of a privilage freedom from the press is until it's taken away. I don't think I will ever take it for grtanted again. There are a few things I'm really dying to get off my chest while I am here but simply can't. I have some horrific stories and pictures, have encountered some horrendous things and yet all this stuff I want to remember and share with everyone, I know I wont be able to for at least another few weeks and by then the smaller details will have skipped my memory. I think something I can talk about without giving to much away is judgement. It is easy to judge things at face value, to assign blame and nominate blanket problems and solutions. No situation is ever that simple, ever. I thought this before I came to egypt and I think it even more now. As I mentioned earlier, I have the horror photos and stories... well there is more behind either of these than I can possibly ever explain and everyone will have their own opinions on what they see and take things for. However to me, screaming judgments of right and wrong, is only ever showing and to some degree emphasing ones own lack of understanding, sure everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but i guess what I am trying to emphasise is that before you go making judgements (and public judgements for that matter) you should at least have some form of understanding of the situation and what lies behind/beneath what is visible on the surface ie. the history leading up to it, the conditions, possibly even politics in some cases... Coming here to Egypt, there are some things I have wished I didn't believe could happen, such as animal abuse, neglect etc... but they do happen and it's never really going to be as simple as saying that the people who allow and cause these things to happen are infact bad human beings (obviously there is an exception to some individuals who actually do posess no empathy what so ever). However, from what I have experienced so far in the areas we have been working, most of them are simply illiterate so to speak. They have grown up knowing no other way in how to treat their animals, they cannot afford to do it any other way, what they do infact works for them (even if it is considered inhumane to our standards, like I said, it works for them and they don't know any better) and at the end of the day, majority of tourists/westeners from developed countries themselves don't know any better and come and pay to ride these poor creatures, thus encouraging the vicious cycle. We have also been working with some amazing local vets; talking to them you really get the scale of the problem, unbelievably to us, some of the things they are taught in vet school are infact outlawed in many western countries. The newest vets do however realise that some of these practises are wrong and come with implications and as a result are trying to change things; but who is to tell some local owner (and animal owners in general) who's practice has been handed down from father to son for generations untold is actually wrong in their treatments and practicings, especially as some of these things are seen as a source of pride (because they have given results in the past). Don't get me wrong though I'm not justifying what they do, just stating the way things are. There is no one solution, instead there are many things that need to start to happen in order to implement change before this problem is resolved. This problem is not just Egypt, for example I have heard old cavalry stables and the practices they did back then, would be seen as barbaric in this day and age. Keeping horses tied in long lines twenty four hours a day, with barely enough room to move, because you had to pack maximum amount of horses into a barn, not to mention also the practice of bleeding (still have heard of this happening recently in Australia and New Zeland for horses to pass drug tests), this was all still commonly practiced up untill world war II. The stories coming out of the Tennesee walking horse community (I know not all TWH people are bad, don't worry) are sometimes more horrific, than what I've seen here and this is in a civilized country. In fact in my text books it even talks about certain practices for loading horses which are now completly out of date and considered cruel. Change takes time, and I think yelling loudly how wrong someone is, is the fastest way to get them to shut down to the ideas and opinions you are trying to encourage. If someone came to me in my country and told me I was doing it all wrong and that I was a bad person for doing what I thought and considered was good and successful for myself and my family, I would want to give them the fingers and tell them to F*&k the hell off. So when I look on facebook, and see all the comments about how horrendous these people are (ie. what they do (and don't do for that matter) to their horses and animals), I worry that all we are doing is makng the people we want to help, shut down to our ideas, and consequently preventing any chance we have of actually making progress.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Urghh, I don't know why my last post didn't work.....I'm sorry for all those who clicked only to find a blank kpage. To sum up what I don't have the energy to re type. I'm in Egypt, working my ass off, with some of the worst affected horses in the country, I have never seen animals in such a sorry state. Ive ridden camels, galloped horses across the desert on horses, and climbed inside the pyrimads, so it has been amazing as well. Unfortunately at the moment I cannot tell anyone to much about what we are doing,for security and other reasons, but really looking forward to telling the whole story when I get home. For those of you interested check out Kiwi Care Team on facebook to see what me and the team have been up to, the pictures will shock you.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


I don't know if anyone remembers me saying I was going to Egypt a few months back...well I'm in Egypt now, have been for a a week now. This is my first chance after the maadness of packing, and oqrganizing, flying, and now working here in Egypt, that ive actually had a spare second to write. Well,unfortunately due to security reasons, and a few other complications, I can't say to much about what's going on, or show to many pictures, but il say a little, and when I get home in a few weeks, il spill all the beans. Egypt is amazing, the history of the place, Im literally sitting here and can seethe pyrimads, right outside my window,and to think someone built these all thoses years ago is unreal. The rubbish is equally mind blowing, it's everywhere, the streets, the desert, the canals, in fact in some place you don't know there is water because the trash layer is so thick. Oh and there is floating dead horses, bobbing along in the mix as well,giving the streets a very memorable aroma. But the reason I came, was to look after the horses, and I have done that on a grand scale every day since being here. There is two types of horses in egypt, those that are fat, and those that are starving, some people own both types, so in a lot of cases it is not a financial thing.The scale of the problem is almost overwhelming, hundreds of thin, and I mean if you knew how much a skeleton weight was, that about the best way to measure the body mass of some of these horses. But also, sores, destroyed mouths, leg problems, shoeing problems, wounds,malnutrition and dehydration is as common as flies around these parts. Yet I have seen some of the most beautiful horses,I mean stunning, and would give most show horses a run for there money back home. Purebred Arabians, that look straight off the black stallion movie set, unbelievably gorgeous, just tied in the street, working in carts, carrying tourists, or tucked away in private stables, they are far more attracttive, and sane than the Arabs we get back home. Even more exciting, I have gotten to treat camels who just line up right alongside the horses for care. Amazing creatures, so gentle, majestic and huge, I've even been camels riding, and loved it. Overall loving Egypt, can't wait to release all the details on what going on, how ever il try and keep you posted, as it makes every horse person appreciate the life our animals lead back home.