A rare tale of twin horses
Moosa Ockards beamed with pride as he admired his babies' birthday cake - hay enclosed in a heart structure with protruding carrots.
Ockards celebrated the first birthday of Success and Survivor - twin foals born to Popplin, a cart horse on the Cape Flats - with a team from the Cart Horse Protection Association and other humans.
Veterinarian Nadia de Swardt said: "It is a very rare occurrence. The fact that both foals were healthy at birth and survived to be yearlings is unheard of."
Ockards said he had had no idea that Popplin was carrying twins.
"It was during Ramadan. That night, after the prayers at the mosque, the stable was full of people. But we struggled all night to get Survivor to drink from his mother - there were a lot of prayers for him," said Ockards.
Eventually Ockards, 60, milked Popplin and fed Survivor from a bottle. The mother's milk, he said, was crucial for the foal's survival.
Cart Horse Protection Association inspector Diana Truter said Ockards' love of, and dedication to, his horses was an inspiration to all in the horse-drawn haulage industry.
"He knew just what to do. There is no replacement for that milk for the first couple of days," said Truter.
Ockards, of Hanover Park, rents stables in Philippi, Cape Town, for his cart horses. The association sends a vet to him when the twins need help. for which Ockards is "very grateful".
For now, he does not want Popplin to work.
Asked if the twins would become cart horses, he replied: "They are miracles. Maybe they will become cart horses. I hope I will be alive to see it."