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Coronavirus: Warning against feeding horses

Coronavirus: Warning against feeding horses

Published by The Stray FM News Team at 8:11am 6th June 2020.

As more people take to the countryside, there's a warning from a horse-owner

  • Sarah Haslam, from Ripon, says feeding horses can sometimes result in illness.
  • While most people have good intentions, some animals need carefully-managed diets.
  • Sarah also says that with more people taking to the countryside, respecting private land is still important.

As more people have been taking to the countryside while lockdown restrictions are in place, a horse-owner is asking people not to feed horses.

Although most people have the best intentions at heart, some horses need to have carefully-managed diets.

It's because of a disease called laminitis, which can be caused by obesity in horses. In many cases, this can be fatal.

In order to maintain social distancing, many horse owners took their horses out of stables earlier than usual this year - so they're outdoors, and more likely to see public interactions.

Sarah told Stray FM:

"I think very few people actually harbour any ill will towards the animals - they think they're being kind.

"But unfortunately, it's not always the case that the best of intentions leads to the best of results.

"There are times when feeding a horse something which is not suitable for it - because it's on a special diet or because it's not the sort of food which is suitable for horses - can make them either very ill or, in some extreme cases, kill them."

Horse owners have faced a variety of challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sarah told Stray FM about another problem which has arisen from the coronavirus lockdown - misunderstandings about public and private land.

While more people are spending time outdoors in the countryside, people aren't always sticking to public rights-of-way.

Sarah added:

"If you are in a place where - as a paying livery yard member - you're allowed to ride, and you come round a corner and a horse sees people, dogs and children running around where they're not expecting them to be, that is potential for an accident.

"There are public rights-of-way across some of the bits of land, but not all of it. People decide that they want to walk along by the river, for example, rather than the designated rights-of-way.

"When you point out them that they're on land where they're not supposed to be, the don't always take it that well.

"Equally, some people don't help by ripping up the signs that are put up telling people where to go - people who want to follow the rules don't know where to go."