Mahabaleshwar, 24th May 2021: Sadhu Vaswani Mission, in its endeavour to serve the voiceless ones, has adopted 147 starving horses at Mahabaleshwar.
Mahabaleshwar, a picturesque hill station and a weekend getaway for the residents of Pune and other cities of Maharashtra, is bearing the brunt of the pandemic. With the lockdown in force and people restricted from travelling for leisure, the hill station wears a look of gloom. With tourism at a stand-still, the conditions are pitiable.
Another segment that has suffered immensely is one of the major tourist attractions here — horse-riding. With the owners of the horses being unable to meet ends, the horses are close to losing their lives to starvation; their condition worse than any of our imagination (pictures and videos attached). An aristocratic and regal pride of the animal kingdom today appears enfeebled and malnourished; a tragedy in itself.
It is here that the Sadhu Vaswani Missioncomes into the picture. 22nd May 2021, the Mission received an SOS for saving the starving horses.
23rd May 2021, the Mission, immediately swung into action. A group of 8 volunteers, in two cars, started from the Pune Headquarters at 8:00 AM. Given the pandemic restrictions and owing to several check posts, a journey that usually takes two and half hours was delayed. When the volunteers finally made it to the location, they encountered the condition of the horses.
“When we reached the location, we were immensely troubled and disturbed at the sight that we saw. 3-4 horses cooped up in a tiny room and how malnourished they were! We came across 25 such horses and we were told of over 115+ horses that were in this state across Mahabaleshwar. The owners shared their plight with us and said that the horses are their breadwinners and with tourism stalled, it is impossible to manage their livelihood let alone feeding the horses. Besides, what they are feeding too is insufficient for them,” said a Mission volunteer.
The volunteers, realizing the essence of the time and also the logistical difficulty in commuting from Pune to Mahabaleshwar regularly, began scouting for a local fodder supplier.
“Each horse requires 10kgs of fodder per day. We, therefore, had to look for a local supplier who would be willing to deliver the fodder to the owners. Finally, we found one who agreed to our requirements,” added the volunteer.
After a day-long journey coupled with pouring rains, the volunteers reached Pune at 10 PM. Nevertheless, the efforts resulted in the Sadhu Vaswani Mission adopting 147 horses.
The cost of the fodder is Rs. 10/- kg – a day’s cost for one horse is Rs. 100/- per day with each horse consuming 10kgs of fodder/day. The Mission will be providing fodder to horses for 15 days, to begin with, and continue the efforts until things return to normalcy at the hill station. To ensure delivery of the fodder, volunteers would be overseeing and supervising the activity by visiting Mahabaleshwar at least twice a week.