Friday, November 4, 2011

Horse rescue in Hurghada

It's Eid in Egypt again. This time of year for many animal activists, particularly in Cairo, is marred by the slaughter of many animals, and the flogging of horses in the pyramids area from dawn till dusk to cart the holiday makers around. For stable owners in Giza, Eid means increased business. For horses, it means less rest and more running. A vicious cycle indeed.

It is no coincidence that I have chosen this time to introduce Hurghada's new horse rescue and rehabilitation programme. This is an attempt not only to highlight to readers the importance of picking horses that are well nourished, but also to underline that there are people out there doing their utmost to make a difference even if it is just in the life of one animal at a time.

Meet Cleo.



Cleo is a grey mare who was rescued from the Giza pyramids area just over one month ago. In the state that she was in, Cleo was still being used as a riding pony to take people back and forth from the desert.

Cleo on the day she arrived. The wounds on her back were
horrific. One was deeper than three inches. 

She had open gaping wounds where the saddle had rubbed her skin raw. She was listless, and barely had the strength to stand up herself, let alone be carrying people around!


Cleo is the first in what will hopefully become many horses to find a new home in the Continental Rescue and Rehab stables. Rescued by Claire Dunkerley and her husband Mohammed, Claire knew as soon as she laid eyes on Cleo that she was a special horse. At once, Claire began bargaining a price for her to give her the care and attention she so desperately needed.


After 1 week in the Continental
Upon arrival to her new home in Hurghada, Cleo was met with love, affection, and cleaning agents. Claire and I, Susan Richards-Benson, immediately went to work cleaning up her wounds (although my stomach of steel - hah! - meant Claire did a great deal more of the cleaning than I did!). The little mare was evidently distressed and in pain, but so weak that she could do little more than feebly turn her head in protest. Upon further inspection and vet checks, it was uncovered that not only was she grossly malnourished, this emaciated animal was also pregnant. This of course complicated the healing process, as generally a horse would be given a round of anti-biotics to help clear up the infected wounds. Cleo could not receive the same treatment for fear that it would cause a mis-carriage and jeopardise her own safety.

Instead, Cleo has been tended to daily by Claire, Mohammed, and their dedicated team at the stables. She has touched a piece of all of us; her lust for life is contagious and the strength she is already exhibiting inspirational. I have been blessed to be a part of her rehab, and have great hopes for what the future for this little horse holds.

The Continental Rescue and Rehab has one simple goal: to help the desperate and derelict horses throughout Egypt. What sets it apart from other horse rescues, is that the rescuing isn't the primary goal. Once the horses have been re-habbed and brought back to full health, they will be re-homed to a good home where they will never again suffer neglect at the hands of humans. Cleo was meant to be the first horse in a long line of many to be re-homed through the Continental, but her spirit has firmly implanted itself in the stable, and she will hopefully never have to leave again.

To this date Cleo has gained a whopping 15 kg. What makes her recovery process so remarkable is not only that she has not been given any anti-biotics, but when you compare her recovery to many other rescue horses throughout Egypt, her improvements which are seen daily begs the question: how are some of the horses we see that have been rescued months ago still emaciated? Is the entire "rescue process" in the country in need of an overhaul?

Cleo on October 31st.
Regardless of what the reasons are, her recovery process is incredible to watch. For anyone in the Red Sea, or for those who are planning on heading out to this area, I invite you to the Continental Rescue and Rehab, located at the Continental Hotel on Mamsha, to come and meet Cleo for yourself.

For others who would like to track the steps of her recovery, please follow our Facebook page here.

Do you know of any horses that are in desperate need of rescuing? Leave a comment on the page, and we will do our utmost to ensure that Cleo's story is not the only one of a horse in Egypt who's life has done a 180. 

1 comment:

  1. Horses used for work in the lower class areas of Cairo, Egypt... such as Shoubra, Kitkat, Waraa, Etc.
    Even the some of the nicer areas (Behind the Conrad Hotel, Wadi el Nile in Mohandeseen Etc..... We must make people understand that these are also living beings,... all animals are...
    Good Luck!!!

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