BENGALURU: The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has changed life as we knew it. Even as the struggles of various establishments and individuals have been brought to the fore, few have given thought to the plight of animals, especially horses that once prominently figured in weddings.But city-based Sandesh Raju has been concerned about their plight and spent the lockdown raising funds, requesting contributions for an ‘Oats Feed Program’ to provide a nutritious diet.
“With weddings becoming a rather simple affair with no pomp, and rituals being low-key, horses that were used at weddings are not hired anymore. They have taken a significant hit. The horse owners whose main stay was from these occasions, are now unable to feed the animals adequately. As a result, the health of horses is deteriorating and they are in grave danger,” says Raju who runs Samabhava, an equine-care NGO that rescues and provides shelter and care for cart-pulling ponies that are old, injured, blind, and crippled.
Over the last few weeks, he has been trying to raise `50,000. Having reached his goal, he will be distributing 27 bags of oats and carrots on Wednesday. “Frankly, if rescused working ponies are compared with wedding horses, the former lead a life of dignity. Wedding horses are need based and used twice or thrice a month. During the remaining time they have no movement or exercise. Now, they are even struggling for food,” says Raju, who has helped feed over 150 horses, including 10 white wedding horses in the bylanes near Palace Grounds.
It all started when lockdown was imposed in March-end, and the tonga owners connected with Raju to tell him of their plight. “Most of them are located in Padarayanapura, which became a containment zone. Horse owners were out of work and didn’t know how to gather resources to feed the animals,” says Raju, who then came up with various ways to help them out. He even reached out to Bangalore Turf Club requesting oats and bran flakes for wedding horses kept outside Palace Grounds and Shivajinagar. “I had never done something like that before, but the situation demanded so,” he says.