Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hoofing It To Cuba!

Back in early January I received an email from Dr.Hester Massop. She is a Dutch Veterinarian presently living and working in England.

Here is an excerpt...
 “I have been on holiday in Cuba and seen with my own eyes (which I knew I would) what struggles and battles there are to be fought and that they will be hard and often leave you feeling helpless (but in need to keep going)

I am writing you to see how I can be of help in person if possible, I do have to say that my utmost passion lays with horses and I will try to get in contact with Julio of the Diana Project, as I am going to do a intensive farrier course in the USA in June and July and after that traveling around the whole of America and hopefully Cuba again. I am also trained in acupuncture for animals.

I know that money is always needed, but I would like to do more and I am hoping you could give me a heads up where I could be most helpful.

I think my plans would be to go to Cuba around Sept/ Oct time.”

With that we got to work.

Susana, Spanky Project Coordinator of Projects in Havana, contacted our collaborating partners. They were thrilled and excited with the prospect of 
having Hester work and share with them for a month. 
In short order we put together a program based in Havana with stops in 
Trinidad, Aguacate and Vinales.
Once that was established we began the visas process. 

Here as some photos of Hester perfecting her technique at the Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School.
She's not a giant. It's a very small horse.

Once Hester's visas was issued it was full steam ahead.

On July 25 Hester arrived in Toronto. I drove in with my dog Skeeter to pick her up at the airport.
Once we got her checked in it was off to dinner with Dr.Michael Belovich and Dr.Michele Travers.
Both are a big part of the Spanky Project and have been to Cuba working with horses.

After leaving Hester for a couple of days in Toronto, which allowed her a trip to Niagara Falls, I was back with Skeeter to show her around the city.

Skeeter has been on the limp of late. 
Hester did a sidewalk exam of my little buddy.
It's nice to have Vets as friends. 

We toured around various neighbourhoods of Toronto.
While in Kensington Market it was time to shop for a Salsa Congress she was attending while in town.
Skeeter was much less interested in the shopping protion of our day ....
... than the ice cream part of the day.
A fun time was had by all.
 It was great to have some face to face time with Hester before her Cuban adventure.

 This is Hester first full day in Havana.

 Here is today's program.
Day One
Theoretical Workshop: Equine foot. Care of hoof and frog. Cold and hot shoeing. Equine orthopedics. Defects and correction. Food and water needs. Animal well being: harness and shaft management. Veterinary problems.
Time: 10am-2m (with a short break)
Location: Quinta de los Molinos. Calle Infanta esquina Carlos III, Centro Habana
Special Guest: Dr. Carlos Yrurzun. Full Professor at the Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria, Universidad Agraria de La Habana (UNAH), Specialist in Horse Management