Annabel and Apple Jack

12th Sep, 2018

Written by Marike Kotzé – Public Relations Officer, Cart Horse Animal Protection Association, and Rebecca Howard (CHPA Volunteer)

Professional photography by jani.b

Annabel, the little brown cart pony, was in very poor physical condition when she arrived at the Cart Horse Protection Association Rehabilitation and Recovery Centre with another pony. The two ponies were confiscated together earlier in 2018 due to neglect.

Her stomach was growing

Annabel was undergoing rehabilitation when we noticed that she was going through some alarming changes: her belly was growing exponentially and began showing signs of discomfort.

We thought she might be pregnant, and when, on the 25th of July 2018, she started looking really uncomfortable, we assumed she might be in labour.

But things were not progressing as they should have during normal labour, and her stomach was still swelling. She was clearly in distress. Annabel was taken to the Blue Cross Veterinary Hospital where she could be closely monitored.

Not responding to pain treatment

By this time, poor little Annabel’s belly was very distended. Examinations showed that she was indeed in foal – but something was just not right. We feared that she might actually be suffering from an impaction colic.

Impaction colic is a serious condition caused by a blockage in the colon, usually by eating very dry material, be it feed or other items. Not drinking enough water, not being allowed to graze normally, and insufficient exercise are also contributing factors. It’s very painful and, if left untreated, can even be fatal. With Annabel’s history of neglect, it was anyone’s guess what could be causing the problem.

Despite our best efforts, Annabel was not responding to pain medication and she was still swelling up. Being pregnant added an extra worry, and everyone was on tenterhooks, worrying about this courageous pony who’d already been through so much.

A colic operation is beyond our financial means, so it was decided that she’d be sedated, treated for pain, and monitored through the night.

If she didn’t improve within 24 hours, the difficult decision would be made to put her to sleep, as, above all, we couldn’t allow her to suffer – and she was in considerable pain.

Tangled masses of plastic

To our immense relief, the following afternoon Annabel managed to pass what turned out to be an entangled mass of plastic all by herself; after a while another large lump of plastic larger than a fist emerged.

We were stunned at the amount of plastic that she’d been carrying inside her for what must have been months and even more amazed that she managed to pass the mass on her own. Now she could really start the recovery process.

By the 30th of July, our little survivor was ready to go back to the R&R in Gordon’s Bay.

Welcome to the world, baby boy

By now, Annabel was grazing happily, her appetite restored, and her pain a thing of the past.

She was put on early maternity leave (and had a mini maternity photoshoot!) and we eagerly awaited the arrival of her baby.

On Saturday the 25th of August, Annabel gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Looking just like his pretty mother, with a black mane and tail, and white blaze. By the 27th, he already stood tall… at 60cm. Despite everything she’d gone through, both mother and foal were in good health, and it wasn’t long before the foal was up and about. Annabel is a wonderful mother, and her son is a confident, happy foal.

We invited our supporters to help choose a name for the new arrival; the top two suggestions were Astro and Apple Jack. And the winning name is Apple Jack – and we know he has a wonderful life ahead of him, as does his amazing mother, Annabel.

Thank you to everyone who contributed towards Annabel’s treatment, enabling us to help her heal and bring little Apple Jack safely into the world. Thanks also goes to the Blue Cross Veterinary Hospital, especially Dr Lezanne and Ernest who stayed up through the night to care for Annabel.

You can help the Cart Horse Protection Association

It takes a village to raise a foal, not just one mare. CHPA works hard at achieving their goal of protecting the working cart horses from abuse and contributing to the upliftment of the carting community living on the Cape Flats.

If you’d like to contribute to the care of our horses at the R&R, please join the “Sponsor a Stable” project by donating R500 per month. Alternatively, any amount helps, as does donating horse feed and tackle, books to sell to raise funds, and your time at one of our volunteering days. CHPA also prints a gorgeous equine calendar, which they sell to raise funds.

Find out more by visiting, emailing or phoning 021 535 3435, and following them on Facebook @CartHorseProtection (

Cart Horse Protection Association
Bank: Nedbank; Cheque/Current Account
Account Number: 104 639 5998
Branch Code: 104 609
Swift Number: NED SZAJJ 104609
IBAN: ZAI NED SZAJJ 104609 104639

Please use reference: “Stable” and email the proof of payment to