Meet the adorable Moonlight, a veteran of the carting industry! Marike Kotze tell us about how this beautiful snowy pony came to be a carthorse:
“Eighteen years ago, Moonlight arrived on the back of a bakkie with other young horses all the way from Napier (a practice which is no longer allowed) to work as cart horses. On that first night, he had to sleep on the back of the bakkie as he was so wild that no-one could unload him.
“Luckily for Moonlight, he had arrived at the stables of some of the best horsemen in the carting industry, the Ockardts family. Ahmat Ockardts used to drive around the midwife in District Six before the forced removals. Nearly all of his offspring have inherited his love for horses and their horsemanship skills have been passed on from generation to generation. Nasroedien Ockardts soon trained the little pony and Moonlight himself, has since taught many a driver how things are done!
“Currently owned by Jasmine (Miena) Kassiem, Ahmat Ockardt’s granddaughter, he has had the same driver, Michael van Nelson, aka Attie, for the last 10 years and they have a deep understanding of each other.
“Moonlight wasn’t only a working horse, but was also used as a show pony. In 2012, the then 12-year-old Faiek Kassiem (a nephew of the Ockardts’) won a prize with him at the annual Cart Horse Show.
“Moonlight has quite the sense of humour and he has even been known to leave Attie where he was picking up vegetables and to go home on his own, waiting patiently in front of the house to be let in. He responds to voice commands from Attie even if he is not on the cart, and he is trusted to go around the block with his owner, Jasmine’s four-year-old grandson. He stops on his own at a red light and moves on when it turns green. It is rumoured that as well as knowing his traffic signals, he can read and write!
“We celebrate a pony that has been in the industry for a long time, who has been so well taken care of, he is still able to work, albeit on a part-time basis.”
Keep shining, Moonlight!