Tooth Fairy Fund for Horses in Cairo

by Hannah Stansfield

We want to help the working horses of Cairo to be fit, healthy and happy.

Education Lincoln, United Kingdom
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The PFK team is committed to helping the working horses of Cairo, many of whom are underweight and suffering from poor diet.

The aims of this project are;

  • to obtain dental tools and equipment and train locals how to use them properly.
  • to fly an equine dentist over to Egypt to teach locals how to use dental tools to maintain healthy horse teeth. They are also important in treating serious dental issues that may have not been discovered or treated before. 

The target for this project currently stands at £2,000, which would cover the cost of a small amount of tools and pay for part of the flight for an equine dentist. Thereafter, any money raised over that will go towards more tools, baggage allowance and the rest of the flight price. Any extra funds made from this project will go towards the general stable rent, feed and care of the horses, including permanent residents and foster horses.

One fundamental reason that horses do not put on weight, even when given the correct diet, is because their teeth have not worn in the correct manner. A horse's teeth are continually growing as they are worn down by the immense amount of fibre they have evolved to eat. Unforunately with little high fibre food available (or little food available generally), horse teeth do not wear down straight, and so can cause painful sharp edges and overgrown teeth which may stop the horse from eating. 

By tending to an underweight horse's teeth, food can be chewed and digested properly and so the horse will find it not only easier to eat but also easier to put weight on. 

We have already carried out several different, successful projects focussed on different issues that the horses, donkeys and camels of Cairo face on a day to day basis. Ongoing projects include the fluffy noseband and fly fringe project, whereby these items were handed out to donkeys and horses that require them to cover chain nosebands and keep flies away. The Fluffy Farrier Feet project aimed at getting the local farriers' skills up to scratch through lectures provided in person by Doctor Jude Mullholland. The charity raised more than $3,000 to bring Dr Mullholland and her tools to Cairo, which she then donated to the local farriers. The project was a massive success, with the treatment of some of the worst hooves many of the followers had ever seen.

Why are we doing this?

Our work was inspired by one horse in particular, Prince Fluffy Kareem - he is proud, beautiful and mainly thinks with his stomach. Just over a year ago it was not like this for him, as he was little more than skin and bone, and on the brink of death.

Below is more detail about Prince Fluffy Kareem, his 'mum' Marte, and numerous followers around the world.

There are many working animals in Egypt - mainly horses, donkeys and camels. These animals are used day in, day out to help their owners make a living. Many donkeys and horses pull carts and transport a variety of products around the city, whereas some horses and camels are used to give tourists rides around the pyramids. The ridden pyramid horses can often come off worse than many other animals, as they continually stand tacked up wherever there is space with little food or water, occasionally being ridden.

Life for people and animals in Cairo has been difficult for many years, however with the recent revolution and subsequent drop in tourism, tourist dependent businesses have found it even more difficult to make money. This has included the ridden tours around the pyramids, and has seen a huge rise in the amount of underweight and emaciated horses in the area. Some owners can barely afford to feed themselves, let alone their horses, and so veterinary and preventative care is usually out of the question. 

Kareem was working as a pyramid horse when Marte, a Norwegian lady, first found him. At first the owner refused to sell him at a reasonable price even though the horse was incredibly thin, however after two more weeks of haggling with the owner and persuading him to hand the horse over, Marte bought Kareem. She had already rescued one horse prior to Kareem - Na3Na3 - and both horses were incredibly emaciated and unwell. Sherif, the stable boy, treated both horses for their wounds and any illnesses, whilst Narieda, an Australian lady, provided cuddles and support for the horses. As Kareem progressed, his princely manner came through, and at this time it was decided that "Kareem" was too boring a name for such a characterful horse. 

Marte set up a Facebook page and a Twitter for the newly named Prince Fluffy Kareem to raise awareness about the pyramid horses' plight, and people soon began offering to send donations. This helped the PFK team save more horses - some would become permanent residents, whereas others would be fostered for some rest and feeding. Over the past year there have been some ups and downs, but ultimately the team have made a massive difference to the lives of local animals, whether by giving out fluffy nosebands and fly fringes, or by helping locals with ill animals. Marte's main aim is to train the rescued horses as therapy animals for the children and disabled in the local area, which has already begun with the education of some kids in proper care and management of horses. This should help to bring better animal welfare around in the future through educating the young.

Please share this project wherever and whenever you can, and help to make it a success!