Teaching children to love animals

Farouk Brenner, from Montrose Park, cares for a mare and her foal on the school grounds of Lentegeur High School.

A Montrose Park man is taking an age old tradition of caring for animals and selling fruit and vegetables by horse-drawn cart to a new level, by using it to keep children off the streets.

Ten horses and a cow can be seen grazing at Lentegeur High so the Plainsman went to find out what these animals were doing at the school.

“They are the lawn mowers,” joked principal Abubakr Frieslaar.

The animals are enclosed on the grounds where they can graze and are kept away from the pupils.

They have been on the school premises since January but were in Farouk Brenner’s backyard on The Farm before that.

Mr Brenner said he feared that the cars would knock down his animals and that it was best for them to graze on an open field.

“These are horses which I have bred. I take care of them. I feed them. I brush them and they pull carts with fruit and vegetables, which I sell,” he said.

He says his caring for the animals drew children to him, which kept them away from substance abuse and gangsterism. “The children come to me after school and they ride the horses, help feed and brush them.”

Mr Brenner, who was born and raised in Grassy Park, said caring for horses which helped them sell their family wares went back generations.

“Ek het opgegroei met hulle,” he said.

On The Farm he has another 10 horses which have been groomed to take part in shows, he said.

Mr Brenner also takes his horses to festivals, where children get to ride them for a fee.

“I do this because I love it but it does cost me to have them participate in shows.”

He pays R70 per horse, for each of the five classes they are ranked in.

Mr Brenner said the animals taught children a sense of responsibility.

He said it was important to show children that they could live side-by-side with nature.