Perfect timing has settled in nicely. He has found his voice and realised that he is allowed to express himself. He now has a “complicated relationship” with his camp mate where he will fight and manipulate her into giving up her food despite having his own. Then he proceeds to ignore her…until one of them sets foot out of the camp and he becomes very vocal and incessantly calls for her. On his strolls around the farm he eats grass and chats along the fence. In general he has settled well, his have wounds started to dry and heal better and he is starting to look more “horse” !

On 29 June 2020, Inspector Diana Truter received a call from a Law Enforcement Officer who had stopped one of the working horses on the road. From what the officer was telling her, she knew that the horse he was describing was not the horse whose ID board was at the back of the cart he had stopped. But she knew the horse and she knew that she had been waiting for years, biding her time to confiscate this poor little soul, called Perfect Timing. The sad tale of Perfect Timing sums up many of the hurdles Cart Horse Protection has to overcome in order to remove a horse from unfavourable circumstances. It is almost never as simple as seeing a horse in trouble and removing it from its owner. The process is long, arduous and often frustrating. In September 2011 a little foal was born in Valhalla Park to registered working horse mare. This and this alone, enabled his owners to register him as a working horse too. Horses cannot be randomly bought and brought in from anywhere to be registered as working horses. Only when they are born to a registered mare, can they themselves be registered too. In earlier years, his owner had been a good owner who took good care of his horses and Cart Horse rarely had problems with their condition.

Later, however, the family fell on hard times and was often the recipients of feed help from Cart Horse. When the old man passed away, the horses were sold and Perfect Timing ended up with yet another family with whom Cart Horse had had a history. Sadly, it was not a good history – we had prosecuted the father of the second family for neglect. He had been found guilty but he died before the sentence could be handed down. We therefore had no legal recourse and could not prevent the horse from going to this family. We hoped that because the new head of the family was fairly educated, that although he had no equine knowledge, would be easy to instruct with regards to the keeping of a horse. We gelded the pony free of charge to help them out and waited to see what would happen. Soon however, we were receiving complaints from members of the carting community itself that the little pony was being abused. Somehow, they managed to evade Cart Horse Inspectors for two full years – whenever we were patrolling, they were not out working with the horse or if a complaint did come through, they managed to slip away.

The problem with animal cruelty cases is that you need to catch the culprit red-handed for a successful prosecution and somehow they always managed to slip away. When the call finally came in, Inspector Diana knew that there was no chance that she would let the little boy go back. We had no space at the Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre in Gordon’s Bay, but thanks to our close working relationship with the Cape Of Good Hope SPCA, we were able to stable him there for two nights until we could clear space at the R&R. Right now, the thin little boy is healing from numerous harness wounds and slowly making friends with other horses. He has lived a solitary life for so long that he doesn’t quite know how to be a proper horse just yet. But despite all his hardship, he is a sweet-natured soul and has no vices.