Keeping Tradition “Alive”

Another depressing piece on ponies kept on common land, this time on the Gower peninsula. It’s from This is South Wales:

 

It costs as little as £2 to buy some foals — less than a pint of beer — but around £200 to put them down and dispose of them, according to the Gower Commoners Association (GCA).

This has led to more people buying ponies and horses who then find out they can’t afford vets’ bills and rising feed costs.

…Concerned residents and walkers have contacted the Post saying they have seen dead or malnourished horses and ponies on the peninsula.

John Lovett of Cockett was confronted by a dead horse last Sunday while walking along cliffs near Overton last Sunday.

“It was one of a group,” he said. “It didn’t look too old. Its eyes were gone. You could see the ribs of another one. It’s been a really harsh winter. They don’t have much to eat. I sometimes bring carrots to feed them.”

There are people who still breed these horses. Who fail to give them minimal care. Who cling to the “tradition” of keeping horses even when it makes no economic sense to raise them as a cash crop, and when the horses are dying under their eyes.
Horses don’t “need” to be kept on any common land. It’s nice to have them there, but not when they’re corpses with their eyes pecked out.

Throwaway Ponies

More abandoned horses: after dead and dying ponies were found dumped on Bodmin Moor, police in the New Forest suspect the same thing is happening in Hampshire:

An animal abandoned near Lyndhurst had to be shot because it was in a weak condition.

It was found just two days after a dead pony had been discovered at nearby Ipley. Police believe both animals were taken to the New Forest and dumped by people determined to avoid veterinary bills or the cost of disposal.

The latest incident involved a skewbald cob cross filly thought to be about a year old.

The corpse of a starved grey pony carried by litter and dumped in Sussex.

Another German media outlet covers the issue of horse welfare in post-crisis Ireland.

Meanwhile, in other British native pony news, you need planning permission to keep a Shetland pony in the Shetland Isles.

Poor Beasts on Bodmin

Very upsetting images in this BBC report from Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, where the corpses of emaciated ponies have been found. It’s unclear if they were killed by disease or were victims of  neglect by a non-commoner owner who then dumped them.

Rehabilitating a Young Offender

“Zara Doidge-Walker, who runs Barnt Green Horse and Animal Rescue Centre with her mother Rayna, took second in the Blue Chip RLF Joint Power on the five-year-old Biberty Boberty Boo – one of their rescue horses.

‘We got a phone call from the police that an 18-month-old filly was running riot in Stourbridge town centre,’ explained Zara, 18. ‘No one claimed her so we took her home. She hasn’t any breeding that we know of, but she has got a crime reference number!'”

Horse and Hound, December 9th, 2010 (finally arrived).

Rocking Horse Winner

The Stevenson Brothers have made a rocking-horse replica of three-day eventer Headley Britannia which will be just one of the lots in a British Horse Society auction to aid their Drawing the Line campaign against irresponsible breeding. Sadly I couldn’t track down a photo, nor a shot of another famous rocker I read about – a lifesize Anglo Arab created for Harrods a few years ago.

UPDATE: see photos of the Headley Britannia rocking horse and Headley herself here.

Forbidden Flesh

Bottled horse sausage for sale in my local supermarket

I’ve become interested in the trade and tradition of horse meat consumption as part of my research. We ate horses for 90,000 years before we thought to ride them, and yet horse meat is a taboo substance in the Anglo world – very much a case of them vs. us, “civilised” vs. “barbarians”.  I have various theories as to why that is (more, I hope, in later writing) but meanwhile two morsels of food for thought.

1) Salon writer Luke Meinzen goes to Mongolia to eat horse:

Still, despite my hope to eat one there, horses do not want for respect in Mongolia. To see that firsthand, travel in winter on a bus, a Russian relic overfilled with sacks of meat and passengers in cocoons of wool, cashmere, nylon and faux fur. The temperature, vibration and cargo are absolutely numbing. On every trip, however, a child’s voice calls out. Passengers awake from a collective stupor and rub portholes in the ice-coated windows, point, appraise and come alive. Nothing — not five welcome minutes to piss into the snow, not a sacred tree streaming with prayer flags, not even the relief of the capital’s central heating and serviceable vodka — is as dependably remarkable to these travelers as a herd of potbellied horses on the plains.

2) The spectacularly named Orestes Gonzalez is arrested in Florida and charged with selling black market horse meat. It’s not clear if he was buying it from the roaming gangs who have been butchering peoples’ pet  horses in Florida fields.

Round Up

  • Rodeo mules in San Antonio swan dive into water tanks to entertain the paying public. “What’s wrong with a mule diving into a cold pool on a hot day?” asks their trainer. Where to start?
  • A starved, dying horse is dumped in an LA street. Police question locals to find the owners. NFL player Jared Allen offers a reward for information.
  • Twenty shire horses hauled a replica of the Titanic’s anchor from Dudley to Netherton in a recreation of the original anchor’s journey from foundry to railway. Eight thousand people turned out to watch.
  • A statue of a riderless, injured horse was erected in Brno, Czech Republic, to commemorate the cavalry mounts who lost their lives there in 1805 in the Battle of the Three Emperors at Austerlitz.
  • Anna Sewell’s will is now available to view on-line.