Concerns over care of Colney Heath ponies
06:21 18 January 2016
Local travellers have been urged to “take better care” of ponies they have fly-grazing on county council-owed land after a foal was seen with faeces stuck to its hair.
A Colney Heath resident, who spoke of her fears on condition of anonymity, told the Herts Advertiser: “I am concerned for the welfare of the mares and foals at the Smallford Pits, and have been for a number of years. I am tired of having to report it to the RSPCA.”
The villager is worried the large field, near the A414, is being used for the breeding of ponies, “and sold on for a quick bit of money” after seing numerous foals with faeces stuck to hair on their bellies.
Although the ponies do not appear neglected, the woman said they “deserve a good quality life, full of good health.”
This paper has regularly carried stories about horses left to illegally roam in the field dying in the open, or being injured in collisions, when allowed to fly-graze along the busy A414.
The woman said there had been changes to the provision for horses fly-grazing this site, as “all 50 were going to be evicted, but the county council drew up an agreement to keep 30 with named owners – 20 of which are mares and 10 foals.
“Part of this positive move is that to keep the horses, the owners have to provide food and water, and any males will be kept tethered.
“But the problem is, when these 10 foals grow up, it does not stop them getting the mares pregnant again, and in turn, keep on contributing to the indiscriminate breeding of horses.”
The villager added: “The council should be ashamed of how they are allowing this indiscriminate breeding to happen. Their agreement should not allow for any more foals to be born.”
In response, a county council spokesman said the authority owned “part of Smallford Pits, and is in the process of granting a grazing licence for an agreed number of horses, yet to be finalised.
“We estimate that the new licence will be completed within six weeks. Any concerns about the condition of the horses should be reported to the RSPCA, which inspects the horses frequently.”