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Positive developments for the working horses


At the beginning of March 2017 FOUR PAWS travelled to Petra, Jordan together with the Princess Alia Foundation (PAF) to evaluate the progress of our working horses project. Due to the big commitment of the team on site, the horses are doing much better, in all aspects. There are fewer records of colics and injuries and a noticeable reduction in the number of lame horses. During this stay not only horses but also a dog and a donkey were treated.


Now after almost two years since the intervention in Petra was started, there are several positive signs to be seen. The stables which were funded by FOUR PAWS, and were ceremoniously opened in May 2016 together with Princess Alia Foundation (PAF) and the Petra tourism authority (PDTRA), are to this day still being used by the horse carriage owners and kept clean. Apart from a few exceptions, all horses are also supplied with sufficient water, fodder, and also get enough rest.


The twelve horse-drawn carriages that are currently in use will eventually be replaced by new and lighter carriages. Through generous donations from individuals in Jordan, one carriage is already in Petra, and three more are on their way! With the help of PAF we will try and get the remaining eight before Summer. This will greatly improve the health of the horses and put less strain on their backs.

In the meantime together with Bridget Hancock (PAF) we distributed the carriage harnesses which were sponsored by the Robert Cave Memorial Fund last year, to further reduce the wounds resulting from wrong fitting harnesses. 


Furthermore the Petra tourism authority (PDTRA) has installed a check-point for all horses at the entrance to the Equine clinic in the Petra park – this will enable the authorities and the vets to check the horses prior to the start of the working day to ensure they are fit to work. Those that obviously need rest, and/or treatment will not be allowed to work.


A further important development is the willingness of the Horse owners and the Horse owners association to purchase new saddles for all horses registered at the Horse owners association (HoA). Through Bridget’s (PAF) support a great deal of research was done in order to find the best possible saddles for the work required in Petra. The new saddles from the UK are lighter and better fitting which will also help to reduce the injuries we often see. They are also cheaper thus giving the owners more incentive to acquire a new one.


Of course, there still is a lot to be done, but we are confident that we will continue to improve the lives of the working animals in Petra, together with our partners the Princess Alia Foundation (PAF) and the Petra Tourism Authority (PDTRA).