A five-year educational project to improve the welfare of horses in Lesotho has been launched by the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH).
Lesotho, in the southern Cape of Africa, is a desperately poor country with an estimated 87,000 horses and 147,000 donkeys. Villagers hire the equines to tourists, and farmers use them to pull carts and work the land. Last year, an ILPH research team in Lesotho found a true need for training in saddlery, farriery, and nutrition.
Ian Kelly, head of international training for ILPH, told H&H: Nutrition and veterinary care are big problems out there. We are teaching them that they will get a bigger benefit from their animals if they treat them correctly. We supply the students with food, accommodation, and all necessary equipment.
The ILPH selected 20 students from areas of the country with a high equine population to take part in the course at Malealea Lodge, 1.5hr from the Lesotho capital, Maseru. The basic skills in saddlery, farriery, nutrition and management, which the students acquire in the first module will then be built on in the three remaining modules throughout the year.
It is hoped that the best four students will become assistant instructors on next years course, and the others will be encouraged to implement what they have learned in their respective villages.
The scheme is costing the ILPH £100,000 a year, which has been raised from donations made by members of the public in Britain.