The Brooke’s ambassador Major Richard Waygood MBE goes behind the scenes in India
Did you read all about the amazing work of The Brooke Hospital in May Horse&Rider? Here, Major Richard Waygood explains more about how the charity is educating owners of working equines in India on how to care for their animals…
Pictured right: Om Prakash and his cart, showing leg for balancing
“Bad weather, such as the storm we encountered on our first day, can have serious financial and welfare implications for the families and their equine animals,” says Richard.
Says Richard: “Loads of wet bricks are heavier, which means that the carts carry less – 300 instead of 450 bricks. And, of course, the quality of the carts the animals pull plays a major role in their welfare. For instance, if the wheels get caked in mud, it makes pulling heavy loads very difficult. Equally, once the carts are loaded, an animal can be expected to balance that load even when stationary, which can take a long time as they queue to be unloaded at the kiln.
“But the Brooke looks at all the welfare issues and as a result, some of the carts now have a ‘wooden leg’ at the front, taking the weight and stopping the cart form tipping forwards.”
Pictured right: Om Prakash with Richard, discussing feeding
In their community sessions, the Brooke educates animal owners on common diseases and diffrent types of injury, the importance of correct feeding and access to water.
Says Richard: “The Brooke’s first task in the new brick kilns has been to help the workers learn about these important elements of equine husbandry. The local people have a huge amount of pride in their animals
– this can clearly be seen by the way they have welcomed the Brooke into their communities and are embracing the welfare advice given.”
One such person is Rajinder (pictured below) who works at Tayal brick kiln in Baghpat. He depends on his mule, Raju to earn a living and spends almost half his daily wages on fodder for him. Rajinder works hard to keep Raju healthy and regularly attends the community sessions held by the Brooke. These awareness programmes involve working with owners to identify health-related problems and diseases that affect equine animals – together with the symptoms and ways owners can prevent them.
Says Rajinder: “The Brooke has been taking care of the equines, which are like our children. I am happy I now have the Brooke team to support me if anything happens to Raju. We hear about diseases like colic and ‘surra’, and I am thankful to the Almighty that the Brooke team is here to guide us on equine health, to identify symptoms so that we can immediately seek medical help.”
The Brooke’s website at www.thebrooke.org to read more about their work and fund-raising ideas.
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