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Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust to hold 6th annual show

Nov 25, 2013, 9:55 AM

The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust (GHDT), a local NGO operating in The Gambia, will on 30 November 2013 hold its sixth annual Horse and Donkey show at Sambel Kunda village, Niamina East District, Central River Region south, this paper has confirmed.

The show will be in a form of competition among local farmers and prizes are in place for participants, and winners in each category will be awarded D1,000 each with a trophy and the judges will announce the winners based on the set criteria which include caring and handling of the animals.

As part of activities marking the event, there will be free vets service to give each animal attending a free health check and treatment if required and owners will be able to purchase good locally made harness if they need it.

In addition to the show there will be a demonstration on the correct way to harness a horse or donkey and two equine physiotherapists will give briefing on some of the simple ways to keep the animals healthy and fit for domestic work.

According to Dr Heather Armstrong, director of the Horse and Donkey Association, “The show is a good day out and if you own a horse or donkey it provides an excellent opportunity to learn more and exchange ideas with others and we welcome horse and donkey owners or anyone who would like to see some of the best cared for working animals in The Gambia.”

The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust was established in 2002 to recognize the plight of the animals and the need of the community. Heather and her sister, the late Stella, worked together to establish the trust. 

This has involved training par veterinarians, farriers, harness makers, cart makers, equine dental technicians, and teaching more broadly, both the owners of the animals and the children in schools about many aspects of the equine welfare.

Heather and Stella believe the plight of the people and the plight of their animals are very closely inter-related and that poverty plays a great part in many of the welfare issue and problems that charities see.

This has meant that they have approached problems holistically by helping both people and their animals, and initiating selective, but complementary, community development projects.

This has involved a wide range of activity, including setting up two other charities, one to cover primary healthcare and the other one a school sponsorship scheme to improve access to education in the communities with which Heather and her staff work.

In the 11 years since The Gambia  Horses and Donkey Trust was founded, it has treated over 50,000 animals, provided scholarships for 16 students at the Gambia College, trained 40 farriers  and 40 harness makers as well as undertaking research into diseases which are affecting the working equines of The Gambia.

The trust has also built a road, distributed 150 donkeys to the poorest members of the community and, through its contacts with other organizations solar power has been installed in many of the schools in Niamina East. This is in addition to its day-to-day work of providing veterinary support and teaching in the communities in which it works.