The carting industry today has a proud heritage rooted in District Six where horses and carts were used to “smouse” (hawk) fish, fruit, vegetables, bottles and bones.
Horses were kept in community stables, travelled short distances with light loads and business was lucrative for the cart horse owner.
With the forced removals to the Cape Flats, the lives of the cart horse owner, his family and his horses took a turn for the worst. Far from their markets, hawking was no longer a viable option and communities began using horses and carts for the collection of scrap metal as a means of generating an income.
This new carting industry led to the renting out of horses and carts and an increase in cart horse operators who had limited knowledge on how to properly care for and maintain a working horse. Consequently, badly shod, thin, overloaded, overworked and abused working cart horses became a common site on Cape Town’s roads.
In 1995 Cart Horse Protection Association (CHPA) was established, providing vital services and education to the cart horse owners from two rusty shipping containers in an attempt to address the appalling conditions in which these working horses lived and worked. Today, the Cart Horse Protection Association Clinic and Training Centre, located in Epping, boasts a farrier agency, harness shop, treatment stalls and paddocks, cart repair workshop, education and training room, administrative offices and a feed storage barn and provides services to over 260 working cart horses and their owners.