At the beginning of 2020, our local partners the Princess Alia Foundation (PAF), the Petra tourism authority (PDTRA), and FOUR PAWS had big plans to continue the work we had started 5 years ago – to improve the health and working conditions of the working horses, donkeys, and mules in Petra park, Jordan.
However, despite eight planned interventions in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns caused Jordan to close its borders and the seventh World Wonder to close its gates.
From one day to the next, the working horse, donkey and mule owners were left with no income and had to somehow survive. With no income, not only did the families suffer but also the animals they had to take care of. Although the "working load" was reduced due to the lack of tourists, some equines still needed attention in the form of medicine. Unfortunately, the Equine clinic in Petra was also closed, but we were in touch with local helpers who we knew could help. These helpers sent us pictures of horses that needed care but were not able to receive certain medication.
Apart from our work on-site, we have been strongly advocating for the promised club cars that were supposed to be delivered at the beginning of the year – they are to replace the horse carriages, which were causing additional suffering for the animals. These are still on the agenda and are planned to be imported at the end of the year.
We thank you for your support, so that the good work on the ground can be continued.
What is to come in 2022?
This year, we will continue to provide the needed veterinary and farrier services to further improve the wellbeing and health of horses working in the Petra Park. A medical and identification database has been created and we will focus on collecting more data to better assess and manage working horses in the park. We will ensure that all working animals in the park have access to clean water and shade, especially during the hot summer months.
Finally and most importantly, we will focus more on building the capacity of local farriers and veterinarians in addition to raising the awareness and level of knowledge among horse owners and handlers in terms of – best health and husbandry practices for their equids.
Stay tuned below for further updates!
E-mobility is arriving in Petra
Fortunately, e-mobility is on the rise in Petra park to reduce animal cruelty in the world-famous “Red Rose City” of Petra in Jordan. In place of the unsuitable horse-drawn carriage, tourists started using electric vehicles as transport within the park. Support remains a vital necessity for the rest of the working equines used for riding. Our first intervention of the year in the Petra Park was from February 14th to 16th, during which our team was able to treat 22 horses and microchip three. Eighteen working horses were shod; some of which needed corrective shoeing for various reasons.
A new program has started
In January 2022, the first part of our capacity-building program in Petra began. In cooperation with the Royal Jordanian Equestrian Federation (RJEF), PAF was able to provide farrier training to two candidates from the Petra local community. In our future interventions, our farrier will continue to provide the required knowledge and training for the two candidates – alongside horse caregivers and owners – so they can gain more knowledge and experience.
A successful 2021 for horses in Petra Park
We were successful in providing medical examinations and treatment, including radiography-assisted diagnoses, dental treatment, shoeing, and pregnancy diagnoses on over 350 horses.
After seven years of consistent and dedicated support in the Petra Park, awareness of equine husbandry and veterinary practices amongst horse owners and handlers has improved. This was evident through the evaluation of admitted horses/cases by our veterinarians. The decrease in the severity of injuries points to a far better understanding on the part of those working horses.
Thankfully, the collaboration between PAF, FOUR PAWS, the PDTRA, and the Horse Owners Association, as well as the key cooperation with involved local communities has been fruitful.
The unimaginable happened!
All twelve of the horse-drawn carriages, which had been in use for decades and were exhausting for the horses, were replaced with ten solar-powered transport vehicles!
Thanks to the commissioner of the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA) Dr Suleiman Al-Farajat, twenty solar-powered transport vehicles were acquired in 2020, ten of which finally began their trial operations in the summer of 2021.
Back onsite for castrations and tooth rasping
The 3rd intervention of the year and the 2nd one after the lockdown has proven again successful – the 17 tooth rasped horses will now be able to feed without any problems and will not have to suffer colic or wounds due to irregular-shaped teeth, and six horses were castrated within two days.
The program restarts after lockdown
After several months of hardship, together with PAF and PDTRA (tourism authority), our team visited Petra park to restart the program. The team provided vet checks on all equines that have various ailments or symptoms as well as gathering data on how the animals have fared in the last few months. In only two days, they were able to treat a total of 83 horses – 22 horses received general health checks, 44 horses had a pregnancy diagnosis, and a professional farrier was provided for 17 horses.
Even though our local partners, PAF, weren’t allowed to travel within Jordan, we decided to support several horses with medication and consumables so that they wouldn’t suffer – so two boxes of urgently needed medication were sent down to Petra park.
The 2020 Intervention begins
The intervention began promisingly with the diagnosis of several mares (pregnancy diagnosis), as well as the treatment of several horses who showed signs of lameness and colic.