Island Hopping Equine Outreach – Koufonissi & Donoussa

The next stop on the Equine Outreach team’s four-day island hopping trip was Koufonissi, followed by Donoussa.

On 11th June, they visited Ano Koufonissi island for the first time. Ano and Kato Koufonissi are both part of the Natura 2000 Network of natural habitats and feature a varied coastline of soft limestone that has been eroded by the sea and the rain, making impressive geological formations. The landscape is smooth and stony, with low vegetation.

We provided our services to 3 animals – a donkey, a horse and a mule, who had never been checked by a vet or received dental or farriery care. The donkey was very sociable and calm, unlike the horse and mule who were very nervous. Despite this, the team cracked on and answered many of the owner’s questions regarding the care of his animals. As Koufonissi is a rather remote island with few facilities in general, it is important that our team was able to spend time with these animals.

On the same day, the team visited Donoussa, a small island of 1,375 km2 and 167 inhabitants mostly engaged in fishing, animal farming and, more recently, tourism, to visit just one donkey on the island! The donkey’s owner had expressed last year her keen desire for our team to visit the island and treat her donkey; however this was impossible at the time, as the island has very few ferry connections with the neighbouring larger islands. This year, however, we managed somehow to combine the ferries and make a visit! Yolanda was a healthy donkey, but quite nervous, despite the owner’s love and devotion. Alkis rasped her teeth that had excessive sharp edges and caused pain in the animal’s cheeks and tongue during chewing. This pain was also clearly being expressed by her strong reaction and unwillingness to follow when being lead on her headcollar and the constant nervousness that her owner witnessed as a change of behaviour during the last year. Tasos got to work trimming her hooves; she was also vaccinated, given antiparasitic paste and the team emphasised ways of training and handling her to not only make her life, but also the owner’s, a little easier! The owner thanked the team warmly and asked us to visit again next year.

Several days after our visit, we received a lovely update from her owner, who informed us that Yolanda is now calm in her everyday life and happy to be guided around with a headcollar; something that she attributed to the tooth rasping, which proves once again how important dental care is, not only in terms of health but also behaviour!

Treating Yolanda the donkey in Donoussa
Equine vet, Kostas, and farrier, Tasos, treating Yolanda
A horse and mule on Koufonissi island
Coming to see what the fuss is about!
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