In The Saddle column: Please don't feed our horses!

It’s been crazy times right now with most of the world in some sort of lockdown thanks to Covid19.

Friday, 19th June 2020, 2:03 pm
Updated Friday, 19th June 2020, 2:04 pm
Please don't feed our horses, is the message!
Please don't feed our horses, is the message!

As more people are at home and therefore keen to get out of the house for exercise, people have increased their walks in the countryside.

Unfortunately, some of the public have been feeding horses whilst out in their walks during coronovirus, causing death and serious illness.

It’s got to such a state that the British Horse Society is issuing a warning to walkers, cyclists and members of the public not to be tempted to feed horses especially grass cuttings which can have detrimental effects on their health.

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There have been a number of cases where equines have been made extremely ill or have lost their lives through actions of he general public.

What some people don’t realise is that some of our horses have medical conditions or allergies. They may well be on a special or restricted diet.

If you feed a horse grass clippings for example, the grass will start to fement and heat up in the horse’s hind gut. This can lead to laminitis or colic, both painful conditions which can lead to the horse dying. It’s extremely dangerous.

A horse may suffer a condition called Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM). This is the abnormal storage of glucose in muscles and these horses follow a very strict diet.

This isn’t the only medical condition, horses can have. There are many illnesses including a form of diabetes similar to our human form type 2 which is called Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) which could also be lethal if given food by the public.

Even if horses don’t have a medical condition, feeding grass clippings can prove fatal. Why would you want to cause unnecessary suffering or their death?

A lot of my equestrian friends have signs up asking people not to feed their horses, but these are still ignored. I see a lot of posts where luckily they have found things before their horses have.

I’ve seen friend’s foals killed by people tipping over carrots cut into tiny pieces causing them to choke or colic. It’s tragic.

We wouldn’t dream of walking up to someone else’s children and feeding them so why would you do the same with horses?

I’m really not sure where it stands with criminal damage in the law, but in my mind tipping over anything onto someone’s land should be seen as fly tipping at the very least; with more severe consequences if it causes suffering to animals.

The British Horse Society are trying to educate and raise awareness with the public and I’m right behind them.

Whilst I am sure people think it’s just a nice thing to do it can have devastating effects on our animals. Please, enjoy your walks, but like the British Horse Society say-don’t feed our horses.