After a hard fall, working horse El Medina was badly injured and in desperate need of veterinary care. Read about how our SPANA Morocco team came to the rescue.
Every day, Mustafa harnesses his white mare, El Medina, and drives her in to the bustling centre of Chemaia. There, the 28-year-old and his dependable horse serve as a local taxi service, carrying locals and their goods to and from the market. Mustafa takes great care to look after his horse, his family’s only working animal and primary source of income. He gives his horse regular breaks, clean water and nutritious food and always uses SPANA-approved harnesses. The small income from this work goes to support Mustafa’s parents and four siblings who would otherwise struggle to survive in rural Morocco.
After a day’s work, Mustafa returns El Medina to the family farm where she is unharnessed, brushed and led to a pasture to rest. But upon their return one evening, Mustafa moved El Medina to a new field for better grazing. The flighty mare immediately froze when she saw the neighbour’s horse grazing nearby and in a panic, wheeled around and bolted.
El Medina fell on the rocky ground, landing heavily on her chest and legs. The animal was in shock and although her legs weren’t broken, she was bleeding, bruised and struggling to walk.
Mustafa was distraught – he couldn’t stand seeing his animal in pain and ran to borrow his neighbour’s pickup truck and race El Medina to the SPANA clinic.
At the centre, the dazed horse was gently unloaded from the truck and immediately examined by SPANA vet, Youness, and his team. To manage El Medina’s pain, the vets sedated her and administered a local anaesthetic before applying a tourniquet to the badly cut right leg. They cleaned the wound and injected the area with antibiotics before closing it using button stitches, which relieve tension on the swollen skin around the sutures.
Finally, the vets gave El Medina anti-tetanus injections to prevent future complications and admitted the mare for three days of rest and recovery in the Chemaia stables. There, staff could keep a close eye on her recovery and make sure there were no complications from the procedure. Mustafa was instructed not to work El Medina during the two weeks it would take for the injuries to heal.
For people like Mustafa, life would be incredibly difficult without the income that their animals provide. Thanks to SPANA’s presence here, owners now appreciate that if their animals are to remain healthy and productive, they must care for and protect their working horses, mules and donkeys. Youness has seen steady improvements in animal welfare in this region and is hopeful that with continued support and guidance, even more owners can show the same care for their animal’s wellbeing that Mustafa does.
Before the young man led his horse back home to continue her recovery, he thanked Youness and his team profusely for their intervention, saying:
‘I was very worried about her because I thought her legs might be broken. I’m so happy she has been looked after here. May God bless SPANA.’