It has been a rough road to travel, but finally after 18 months of working through the myriad of issues the City of Victor Harbor Horse Tram looks to finally have all the processes in place.
After years of losing more than half a million dollars a year, the operation has been fully scrutinised by an independent horse tram committee, chaired by councillor Carol Schofield, and with their recommendations the losses could be cut back to only $140,000 per year.
Half a million dollars a year is unsustainable, so it is with a deep breath that the operation can now function in clean air.
On page two of this week’s Times, an interview with Horse Tram Team leader Adrian Cox gathers more excitement for the iconic service with the introduction of three new horses to work on the tram and the purchase of a horse float.
Elliot, Isabelle and Murray will join the four other horses to carry visitors and locals over the causeway during Victor Harbor’s busiest period.
There have been criticisms from the reading public that it is “cruel” to work the horses like this, but this criticism is unfounded, as on the independent horse tram committee was veterinarian Dr Kirsty Cordon and one of her first conclusions when looking at the health of the horses was that they were under worked and that is what Clydesdales are bred for, to work.
You do not hear that the Clydesdales which pull the Coopers and Carlton Draught brewery carts are being cruel or mis-treated and either are the City of Victor Harbor Cydesdales.
According to Mr Cox, the horses love the attention given to them by visitors, in particular children, and this happens because of the profile the horses gain by being part of this very special operation. The names of the hoses in work are written on a board at the barn at the causeway and this helps everyone identify and take a little ownership of the horses.
To further boost the profile of the service is the establishment of the Friends of the Horse Tram, which is headed by co-ordinator Peter Lewis. Maybe if people wish to be critical of the operation, they should think of rolling up their sleeves and volunteering some hours in assisting the running of the horse tram. The community of Victor Harbor has a love for the horses, which is invaluable and with three new horses joining the program, it is a service that will last for many more years to come.