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31st May 2018

Be mindful of working horses on the roads

On 30 May 2018, the Cart Horse Protection Association (CHPA) together with cart horse drivers will embark on a special campaign to increase the awareness towards working horses on the roads. We will be attempting to create awareness among motor vehicle drivers on the roads surrounding Epping where our offices are located. CHPA staff together with cart horse owners and drivers will hand out stickers to drivers and try to increase awareness of the dangers of horses on the roads, especially now that rain is decreasing visibility.

“Carties” can often be seen in the area as they visit our offices in Epping to get services, or drop of scrap at SA Metal down the road. They also regularly visit the market, which is where Amber and her owner were returning from when tragedy struck. Horse and cart were hit by a passing vehicle mere blocks away from the Cart Horse Protection Association offices. A normal morning at our clinic ended in heart break for our staff members and the owner of the horse. She sustained multiple fractures and had to be humanely euthanized. This horse, named Amber, is the inspiration of this campaign to create awareness of the horses working on our roads.

Horses are big and react with lighting speed. They are, and will forever remain flight animals, and even when they are accustomed to things such as traffic, every day, their first instinct when encountering something they deem dangerous, will always be to try and flee. Horses can spook in the traffic and react unpredictably, making it imperative for other drivers to slow down when they pass a horse and cart. Another point to take notice of is that horses need a lot more room to slow down and stop than cars with ABS brakes. It is vital to give them enough room to stop and not cut in front of them. According to the by-laws in Cape Town, animal-drawn vehicles actually have right of way!

As the Cart Horse Protection Association, we deal with horse-related complaints from the public in various shapes and forms on most days. In fact, we rely on the general public to report issues with working horses as much as, if not more than, our own staff. We are simply not able to be everywhere at once and without people letting us know if there is a problem, we would not know and wouldn’t be able to respond as needed.

There are a number of things the public can do to help us. You can donate to our cause and help us subsidise the care of these horses. You can also report any of the following to our emergency number 0826 599 599:

  • A cart without a back board.
  • A horse that is looking overloaded or over-tired.
  • A horse that is lame
  • A horse and cart that is violating regular traffic laws such as running a red light or not stopping at a stop street.
  • A horse that is being abused
  • When a carthorse driver is caught dumping

If possible, take a picture of the transgression as we will need evidence if we want to take legal action. We will also need a statement from a witness. We need at least a statement to attach to any fine issued.

We strongly advise members of the public against stopping or engaging with cart horse drivers. This could be equated to members of the public stopping fellow motorists and demanding to see their driver’s licences.