Cobs – victims of neglect more than other horse breeds?

Worryingly there are more and more reports of abandoned horses as the financial crisis continues and people are unable to afford their upkeep. There have been some nasty cases of neglect in the news:

In Hertfordshire, an abandoned horse – described as looking like a “walking skeleton,” forced to eat tree bark to survive, was rescued from a field. It was a three-year-old, called Maggie, and was “underweight, with lice, mange and signs of serious neglect”. Fortunately this one, after being rescued from a flooded field and given urgent treatment, was taken to The Horse Trust in Buckinghamshire. In February, the report goes on to mention, five horses are known to have died within five miles of where Maggie was found – but there may be other cases that have not been reported.

There’s a picture at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-21775639

And yes, Maggie looks a Cob type to me.

There continue to be news stories of “fly-grazing” where horses are let loose on public land or on grass verges beside A roads or even motorways. Sometimes the horses are tethered, if the owner’s motive if simply to get grazing because they can’t afford hay or even field rent. But sometimes they are simply abandoned, just left to fend for themselves.

Even more worrying is the case of a horse that had to be rescued from a beach cliff face where it was found hanging by a rope round its neck. This one was rescued just in time before the tide would have reached and rushed to Redwings Horse Sanctuary for treatment.

Tethering a horse with a rope round its neck is something often seen in old Westerns. So too is lassoing a horse by the neck and pulling it to halt. See, for example, The 1961 film The Misfits with Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable or the 1952 film Wild Stallion (shown recently on TV in the UK).Yes horses’ necks are much stronger than ours – but tethering this way and leaving a horse is downright dangerous. Sadly – but unsurprisingly, in this case, despite the best efforts of the rescuers, the horse died from a collapsed windpipe. Again, you can see a picture at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-21640420

And yes, this one looks like a Cob too.

Like so many things, it looks like it all comes down to money. As Jeanette Allen, chief executive of The Horse Trust is quoted by the BBC as saying “Horses like Maggie” – that’s basically cobs then – “have little commercial value and sadly this means more and more horses are being abandoned and left to fend for themselves.”

What to do? Well I suppose until the Government comes up with a Plan B to rescue the economy, all we can do is keep an eye out, report neglect and support organisations such as the Horse Trust and Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

For more on horses in film see Lights! Camera! Gallop!  http://tinyurl.com/horseinfilmstorycover alone not pdf small

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About lesleylodge

Lesley Lodge now lives on a smallholding bafflingly close to Luton, England, but grew up in the New Forest and has worked for a racing stable, a palomino stud farm and a horse trainer. Her long-time ride is Freddie, a hairy bay cob mare with a long moustache. Lesley has had several short stories published. Blues to Orange, a story about a farmer ruined by the foot and mouth outbreak, was a Luton Literary Prize Winner and published in Junction 10, a collection of short stories. She has twice been a runner-up prize winner in the annual British National Short Screenplay Competition and was the Time Out and Jim Beam Bourbon Cult Film Buff of the Year some years ago. Lesley is always looking for new stories about horses in film or TV

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