Drastic Action

I write this feeling very upset.

Yesterday, Floss and I discovered someone had thrown garden rubbish – grass mowings and old daffodils – over the gate into the Minions’ field.

Words fail.  This is potentially lethal and I worried all night about how much my horses and ponies had possibly eaten and whether they would colic and die.  Grass-cuttings are poison to horses – they ferment in their hind-gut leading to laminitis, colic or worst, death.  It happens.  A kind neighbour kept me informed and this morning, they were all still here.

And, as my lot are professional beggars claiming starvation and lack of feed, I can see why anyone would believe them.  Fat little liars.

So we rushed home and asked OH to create two signs to put on the gate as soon as possible.

And yes, everyone looked a tad defeated from their begging – think Oliver and the Artful Dodger.

But it is essential no one feeds them, let alone their garden waste.

The Minions (and others) are all cosummate scroungers, hanging around to blag anything they can off passing strangers.

And now I have been told folk are letting their children go into their field to play with the ponies.  Jeesus-Christ-on-a-bike.  Why would you? This is too much. Another sign is being created to go on the gate.  And Sóley was a pig to work with today so this is all affecting them.

Edited to add: Because they are rescue ponies, some who have stared starvation in the face and near-death early on in their lives, they will eat anything just in case there is nothing in the future.  Dammit.

21 thoughts on “Drastic Action

  1. Kerry

    I can remember when we lived on the edge of Dartmoor telling people not to let their children play with the ponies, and in particular never get between a Foal and its’ dam as they tried to throw their arms round said little foal. They would look at us as if we were the idiots telling them not to play with the ickle ponies. Then we’d point out a kick in the head – by ponies not us – could cause coma or even death and the foals weren’t quite like little cuddly teddy bears.
    And yes, they also tried to feed the archblaggers every “not good for ponies” food item that they had in their possession and then scream the place down if the arch blaggers developed a skill along the lines of demanding with menaces.

    So sorry you have had to go through this and hope the signs make people think. I am also filing away JC on a bike for future use as that’s a new one one me. Dad’s favourite was always a heavily sighed “suffering catfish”

  2. Jan Knight

    Electrify the gate , this is trespass. Warning signs are there, it’s your land you must do what you can to protect it and the animals who depend on you. Grrrrrrrr.

    1. Frances Post author

      Sadly no trespass in Scotland. There is Right to Roam. When I phoned the mother, she was shocked and upset anyone had told me! Gah!

      1. Jan Knight

        Then she’s an idiot, and doesn’t understand how to bring up her children to respect other people’s property!

  3. Lisa

    We live on a country road. No street lights and our field would be very simple for someone to enter into on foot. I have a sign by the road in front of our house and along the field that read: “Warning- 24 video surveillance -No Trespassing”. We don’t have any surveillance cameras-just the signs! People don’t know if we do or don’t have cameras. Would there by any similar type of signage you could put up? Might be a deterrent…..

  4. Linda

    Unfortunately, I can see uninformed kids (and maybe adults) tossing things like this to the ponies, thinking they’re just giving them something to eat. I’m with the person who suggested the electric fence (if possible), and whether or not there is that Right to Roam, I think you should be able to put up any signs you want to on your property. (You can always justify any questions by saying you’re trying to keep the public safe.)

    P.S. You could add to the Do Not Feed sign by mentioning the danger of poisoning the ponies. There’s a sign just like that attached to a paddock we pass on our walks, explaining why not to feed their horse, saying he’s got allergies and will get sick if he eats anything outside his normal feed.

  5. Mary Colleen McNamara

    “LORD LOVE A DUCK!”..What were they thinking?
    maybe more work for OH but a sign that says flowers and grass are poisonous and will KILL the horses/ponies.
    Can’t believe that their mum seemed upset that someone had “told on” her ‘little precious’ imps. The adults should have been watching them; doesn’t anyone supervise anymore?
    Of course the kiddos doing this probably meant well ** (AND CAN’T READ) but as they say “if wishes were horses…” no pun intended. Keeping fingers crossed and sending prayers for all equine, ovine and ‘humaine’.


  6. Margaret Robinson

    I say this with true reluctance, but could they be in-comers who just don’t realize (really???) that they are trespassing and giving “food” to animals that can be life-threatening? I’d think that your neighbors of long-standing would already know this and be respectively doubly so as they know you’d never to anything like this. I did not realize until I read the other posts that people had a right to roam. Times they are a’chang’n and maybe it’s now that time. Can only of your officials help?

    A Mother like that does not deserve to raise children. Sad, but bitterly true and since she knows how you and your family feel, you’d think an apology would at least be in order and mention of “never will we do that again”. Something is terribly wrong here when in spite of right to roam, a Mother gets a phone call explaining why it’s not okay, thank you and then she resorts to her explanation.

    Where I board Smokey Robinson there are paddock areas by the road on one side and over the years several of us has had to ask people not to climb on the fences and/or feed. A couple of these people thought that because they wanted pictures of the horses it was okay to do both the above.

    I know how anxious you must all be especially since other than guarding the area 24/7 and putting up signs, there isn’t much else you can do.

  7. Fay

    People don’t give a shit and they never will. You just have to put up barricades to stop their stupid and weird behaviour.

  8. Judith Garbutt

    You have all my sympathy over this, Frances. It happened to me a few weeks ago – someone put an enormous pile of grass cuttings over the wall into the ponies’ field. It was discovered a couple of hours later but the damage was done and my little Alfie ended up with laminitis. Fortunately, I caught it quickly and after three weeks in his stable he was completely sound and is now having time out in the field with his muzzle on or in the bare pony paddock but he’s going to take even more careful management now. I hope yours are all okay – I noticed Alfie was ‘not quite right’ the day after and brought him straight into his stable.

  9. May

    There are lots of people who don’t have a clue about horses. It looks like you’re going to have to educate them. Explain how grass cuttings and other garden waste might injury or kill those adorable ponies, and how would you explain that to your child? Explain how they are large prey animals who might easily panic and defend themselves by kicking and biting. Adorable as they are, they are not puppies.

    Although expensive, perhaps double fencing and surveillance cameras in the most vulnerable places? Also, what about getting the word out with local news stories, speaking with teachers and innkeepers, speaking with your neighbors about why what looks like a harmless treat is actually potentially very harmful, if not fatal?

    For kids and parents ask, “How would you react if strangers tossed your kids candy or jumped into their bedrooms? Why do that to the horses?” Lot’s of time people don’t mean to be potentially harmful, they’re just clueless.

  10. Mary Colleen McNamara

    There are “fake” dummy cameras that might give someone pause. AND not cost you an arm and a leg. 😉

  11. Karen Branyan

    So frustrating! I used to raise pigs and fou out the neighbors grandkids were taking shortcuts through the pasture where the huge boar lived. Usually he was pretty gentle but you never knew and he also had tusks. Luckily no one was injured.

  12. diane in northern wis

    Good Grief. Sure hope you can get this all straightened out, Frances. I’m so sorry these things have happened. I’m glad someone is telling you what’s going on when you’re not there to see for yourself.
    May things be much better and safer, soon.

  13. Louise Whyte

    we used to have our donkeys in a field across the road from the house in a village, we had endless issues with folks going in or feeding them so we had to electric fence it so the donkeys were away from the perimeter – folks used to lob all sorts of stuff over the gate – including yew branches…..was a right pain. I am sorry you are having this it doesn’t help

  14. Shelley

    Daffodils are so poisonous they’ll kill other flowers in the same vase! Double fencing seems the best course albeit expensive:

    “Jesus Christ on a bike”!


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