Friday, January 24, 2014

The Chestnut and the Grey Part 2

For Part One click here

We found him in the middle of the road; tuk tuks and taxis stealing around him in an attempt to avoid his broken body and the puddles of sewerage rising up from the drains. He weakly thrashed his legs as we approached, and we soothed him with our voices and touch. For sometime he was calm, but the close by traffic unnerved him. As gently as possible we pulled him to the side of the road and laid some straw beneath his battered head.

Ramadan came down the street when we phoned him. We checked over the horse and found a large injury on the right side of his head and oedema on the left. We tested his reflexes by waving our hands close to his eyes; they were troubled, and darted about without seeing.

People stopped by in cars and microbuses to ask us what had happened. A man came past in a carriage, being pulled by a thick necked, stocky horse, and stopped to talk to us. Behind the carriage an Arabian stallion was being towed to give him some exercise. He trumpeted his call at every horse and donkey that passed, curling his swan-like neck and prancing on the spot, nostrils flaring. He was a far cry from the bleak situation spread out on the street beside him.

The man finally came with the boy on his horses. His sullen face and tired eyes told us how he was faring. He asked if there was anything to be done. Ramadan explained what we had found and that the kindest thing to do would be to euthanise the grey.

In the Muslim culture, many believe it is God's will whether an animal dies or not, and so many will refuse to euthanise their horse, even if it will surely suffer and die. This man was different. He is one of a minority who can see when an animal is in pain and will not make it. Gently stroking the grey's neck, he agreed that to put him to sleep would be a kindness.

He had no money. Not a piastre. He could not pay for the euthanasia drugs, and he couldn't afford to have the grey's body taken away into the desert. He could not even afford food for his other horses that day. Thankfully, Ramadan had a drug that would quickly put the horse to sleep, and we managed to put together some money for the horse to be taken away.

Egyptian horses are incredibly strong. They are galloped out in the desert, flat out with a novice rider on their back, and rarely stumble or fall. They work so hard and can be in a skeletal condition. Even when tack that is poorly fitted and rubs them raw is put on their back and their faces, they often go without complaint. Some do not have the energy to complain, and some have learnt that complaints get you hurt. 

Stay tuned for Part 3!

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