The Highveld Horse Care Unit is one of 3 Units in SA: the others are Eastern Cape Horse Care Unit ( EC HCU), and Coastal Horse Care Unit. All three Units are Section 21 Companies, independently operated. All of the Units obtain their income by various fundraising activities, appeals, sponsorships and operational charges. All three Units liaise with each other on operational matters, national problems, mutual support etc. None of the Units receive any government funding, but all three are supported to some extent by the horse racing authorities in their Province.
The Highveld HCU became official in 1991.
Today the Highveld Horse Care Unit is a Section 21 Company in its own right, responsible for its own management, funding and operations, and is the largest equine welfare organisation in the Southern hemisphere. We cover an enormous area in South Africa, and now not only carry out investigations into reported cruelty cases, but half of our organisation is dedicated to outreach clinics and owner education and upliftment in previously disadvantaged areas.
The National Thoroughbred Trust which initially managed and channelled funding to the Units, has evolved into the National Horse Trust, and is now an administrative and fundraising body.
STABLES AT THE UNIT:
We have the facility to stable 30 horses at the Unit. Very often we have more than this in custody, so horses may have to sleep out, or, in a few rare cases, share a stable!
Recently, through the generosity of sponsors and some hard work fundraising, we have made many improvements to the farm.
Manages HHCU. She is a qualified Senior Animal Welfare Inspector, and started up the Unit in 1991. She has worked with animals all her life, firstly as a zoo keeper, working her way up as a dolphin trainer in Europe and the Far East, and then as a Veterinary Nurse in Wales. She has been involved in animal welfare since 1982, and has been with the Unit since inception.
One thing not many people know about Bev: she sings off key and can’t whistle to save her life
Stella du Toit
Stella has been with us for almost three years. She is our admin manager and takes care of all of the important day to day stuff …. as well as a million other things!
One thing not many people know about Stella: she loves to paint and adores all animals.
Who is also a qualified Inspector, is a jack-of-all-trades! Presently, she is managing our Outreach Projects in seven different Provinces throughout SA.
One thing not many people know about Nadia: she is of Italian descent
Has been with the Unit since January 2000, and is a qualified Inspector, carrying out the majority of the distant calls. Bobbie heads up the Inspectorate. She has testified in many court cases of cruelty and abuse, and won the case for the animals!
Bobbie has worked with horses for many years, starting her career with show ponies in England and then travelling extensively with Internatonal Showjumpers.
One thing not many people know about Bobbie: she worked as an international groom to top showjumpers in her early career with horses.
Ashley is one of our Inspectors. She is a brilliant investigator, who has done a lot of work investigating and prosecuting individuals involved in the illegal slaughter of donkeys.
Ashley grew up with horses – in fact, as a child, she lived at the Unit when it was ‘Kingfisher Stables’ many moons ago! She has remained a competitive rider, and helps Nadia work and train the Unit horses as part of their rehoming assessment.
One thing not many people know about Ashley: She is a brilliant mimic, who often has us in stitches!
Is our township Inspector, who started at the Unit early in 2005.
Solly was our very first qualified Inspector to work solely in the townships. Having Solly at the Unit enabled us to finally tackle the problem of working horses, which had been our goal for many years. He works mostly in townships which are not covered by any other animal welfare organisation, and is out every day educating, issuing second-hand tack to owners and providing basic treatment to any horse or donkey needing his assistance. Solly is an excellent negotiator, and works under very difficult circumstances at times. He is patient, kind, and compassionate.
One thing not many people know about Solly: He started his career in animal welfare as a kennel cleaner at an SPCA. Today, he is a valuable member of our team.
Ismail started working for us as a groom he literally walked into the farm ten years ago and asked for a job. He was a brilliant groom, and was soon promoted to head groom.
Today, he is a valued member of our Township Team. He has trained in farriery, harnessmaking, and basic medical and veterinary matters. Although well over 6ft tall, Ismail is our little terrier he never ever lets anyone off if he thinks a horse or donkey is being abused. He is prepared to work at all hours to help an animal in need, and we value him.
One thing not many people know about Ismail: he has a wonderfully dry sense of humour
Makhosini Trainee In Inspector
“Mac” has been working for us for almost two years. We simply love him. He has a background as a groom and work rider in horse racing. He is also part of our Township Team, and he has a wonderful way with people which is half of the job! Mac has completed various courses to enable him to gain enough knowledge to work in the field of equine welfare. He is our star.
One thing not many people know about Mac: he can fix just about anything!
Joseph Trainee Inspector
Joseph is training with us to become an Inspector and an Educator. He is young, bright, and studious. He will go far with us.
One thing not many people know about Joseph: he has a beautiful singing voice
Hope is our newest trainee. He is also the ‘baby’ of the team ! He started at the Unit two years ago as an untrained groom. We saw that he had a wonderful compassion for the horses and loved working with them. He was always first to take ‘colic duty’, feeding orphans, assisting with injured and sick horses. After a three month apprentice trial period in our Township Team, he is now undergoing training under the mentorship of Solly.
Qualified as an Inspector in 2007. He is our farm manager, transporter, computer fixer, plumber, electrician, hairdryer fixer et al ! Johan is pictured her with Odysseus, his beloved percheron.
One thing not many people know about Johann: he loves ‘Curly Wurlies’ the english toffee/chocolate that you cannot buy in South Africa – he once helped himself to Bev’s secret stash from England! He also listens to Steve Hofmeyr, but hey, no-one is perfect….
Dr Dale Wheeler
Has been the Unit veterinarian for 2O years, during which time he has donated his professional expertise and services. He is also a committee member.
He is dedicated to the Unit, and a much-loved and respected member of our team.