Carthorse Protection Association

Uitsig Animal Rescue Centre main concern is for all animals to be treated humanely with consideration and care for their welfare and well-being.  We endeavor to assist wherever possible, whether for those at the center or in the community and we understand the difficulty knowing when or how someone should report abuse.

Having horses at the center that have ended up with us through no fault of their own other than circumstance we thought the public may appreciate knowing how and what is termed as abuse for those animals who are still working out in the field, or on the roads, below is an article from the Carthorse Protection Association giving insight into what should be looked for and what to do should you feel that something is not as it should be.

Cart Horse Abuse can be classified as one of the following: overloading, whipping, untreated injuries/lame horse, horses in terrible condition (eg: underweight) reckless driving, ill-fitting harnesses or the horse needs new shoes.

Overloading – It is best to look at the horse and judge whether the horse appears to be straining against the weight of the cart, if the horse looks tired or the drivers need to go to extra measures in order to get the horse to move forward, then you know there is a problem. Sometimes carts are packed high but with light materials, and sometimes there are only 3 items on the cart but they may be solid and heavy. So always best to look at the horse first.

Whipping – Please ALWAYS report whipping. There is no need for the cart horse drivers to ever whip their horses.

Injury/lame/bad condition – If you see a cart horse who appears to be in terrible condition, lame (limping) or has an injury which looks untreated, please call us immediately.

Reckless driving – Cart horse drivers should follow all the rules of the road. Please report reckless driving where the well-being of the horse is put at risk.

Ill-fitting harnesses/shoes – Check for badly fitted, damaged or broken harnesses which could be hurting the horse. Horses with loose shoes or hooves that require attention should also be reported.

These are the best details to keep an eye out for when reporting a case of abuse:

  • Colour of horse & name or ID number
  • Any distinctive markings on the horse such as a blaze, a star, white socks
  • How many men are on the cart
  • What colour tshirts are the men wearing, are they wearing anything distinctive such as hats or beanies
  • On what road did you see the horse and in which direction was the horse going
  • What is the closest intersection

Other information: If you are reporting a case of abuse, don’t let the cart horse drivers know. Once they suspect you have reported them, they are adept in disappearing down side roads so that the inspectors or CIDs will not find them.

If there is any chance you are able to take a picture – PLEASE DO! Pictures of abuse are invaluable when it comes to court cases and a history of abuse would just make our case stronger. Also a picture says a thousand words. With one picture – Cart Horse Protection will know who the horse is, who the horse’s owner is and who the drivers are.

In terms of the Animal By Law there is no legal age specified to drive a cart. The Road Traffic Act also has no age specified but it does say that the animal drawn vehicle has to be operated by a competent driver. This is something that we need to change in the By Law. We are not issuing E53 permits to anyone under the age of 16 years.

If you do see a horse that looks like the driver is not controlling properly, please send us the ID# and we will contact the owner to find out more about the driver.

Reporting (please always call the emergency cellphone number first, if that is unavailable then move down the list):

Post Cart Horse Protection

Call or SMS 082 6 599 599

Call 021 535 3435

Call 082 6 566 599

Email all the information to

Facebook should be your last option in a case of abuse as those working at the association are not always online so might only view your comment hours after it was posted.

Aside from the above, if you see anything at all that makes you uncomfortable or doesn’t feel right – please call us. We are always happy to chat to cart horse supporters!

Please note that we only work within the provisions of the Animal Protection Act and we cannot respond to calls for dumping. This has to be handled by law enforcement. People can report dumping to 021 596 1999. Taking photo’s when the dumping is taking place is always helpful and is evidence.

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