Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad
Jeremy Hume, Chief Executive, reports after his visit to Marrakech in April 2009.
“Everything is progressing, but of course, being Africa, it all takes a little longer than one might hope for. Currently, all nine troughs have been built - with adaptations to the curbs and roadways, to allow horses to approach head on, while still in harness.
But only one is actually fitted up to mains water and working. This is because originally we had intended that the troughs be connected to either a local well or the mains supply. However, the local authorities only switch on the ring mains during the summer, for irrigation. Although they are very supportive of the project they also felt that some unscrupulous/opportunistic people will steal the water to set up car washes/launderette businesses.
So it was back to plan B.
This involves making a caleche, with a water tank/bowser on it. It will be based, and the two horses stabled, at our refuge, where we can fill up the tank as we have our own well there. The driver will then visit all the troughs twice a day - the extra advantage of that being he can keep an eye on things and ensure that the water troughs are kept clean and being used properly.
I saw the caleche bowser under construction a month ago - they had to make specially strong wheels to carry the load and it's almost finished. They are also going to weld baffles inside the tank to stop the water sloshing around too much. I also think there will need to be brakes on the rear wheels, as well as really good breeching harness on the horses.
I did see horses drinking from the trough outside one of the hotels - but they take a while to get used to it - never having seen a lot of water with reflections before. It took over a year for the animals to get used to the trough outside the Marrakech refuge - now it's extremely popular. When mules and donkeys are unharnessed, they even make their own way, unattended, across roads and pavements, and help themselves. As do all the local stray dogs and cats, of course.”