Equines and humans have always had an intricate inter-dependent relationship in most parts of the world including the northern parts of India. In the last 30 years in spite of rapid urbanization and substantial popularity of motorized vehicles Northern India still observes a consistent population of working Equines. It is one part of the world where vehicles vie for space on motorways alongside tongas (horse drawn carriages) and mules carrying loads and people.
With families numbering up to 10-12 members being solely dependent on one earning animal it comes as no surprise that most times the welfare of the animal is compromised due to acute poverty and lack of knowledge. Basic medical facilities aside these animals often do not even get a full meal or drinking water. In spite of human welfare largely being dependent on the animal’s welfare the working Equine still does not get a fair deal in India.
In this setup, three decades back, Friendicoes SECA introduced the Mobile Equine Clinic for the welfare and benefit of the working Equines of Delhi and its surrounding areas. Over the years the team has expanded it’s field to reach out to more animals in distress. Presently with 22 stands (including the famous Taj Mahal stand in Agra) and about 1500 animals under its wing the Friendicoes SECA Equine team of 3 people (a vet, a paravet and a driver) does a fair job of looking after the needs and medical care of these animals. The team is on the road for 6 days a week running between the four states of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, covering a distance of 200-250 kilometers a day.
The biggest challenge faced by the Equine team is educating and sensitizing the owners on the proper care of their animals. Saddle sore due to neglect or over loading to earn a few extra pennies is a very common problem and so is lameness. Another very common “evil” practice prevalent is putting the foals to work at an early age which leads to cap elbows and other deformities. The next step applied is primitive methods of treating the problem by heating an iron rod and placing it next to the deformed area to correct it leading to further burn injuries and other wounds. Colic, metabolic diseases and respiratory diseases are other common problems treated by the Equine team on a regular basis.
Apart from providing medical care and assistance to over 1000 working Equines, the Mobile Equine team also provides free farriery training as well as service for the Equine owners. The team also looks into the availability of clean drinking water and shade shelter for the working Equines at major points of business and areas with a high concentration of working Equine population.
Old, injured or handicapped Equines are also offered permanent sanctuary at the Friendicoes Gurgaon sanctuary to avoid being abandoned on the road side to die of starvation or car hits. The Equine team makes sure the animal is transported to the sanctuary with the maximum care and least stress possible.
The Friendicoes SECA Mobile Equine Clinic has opened the world of medical care and expertise to these poor Equines who never get the appreciation they deserve and are often abused and misused leading to an early and painful death. The animals as well as their owners now have easy access to medical knowledge and products which are otherwise substituted by age old and local treatment which often cause more damage than help to the animal.