Horses and heat - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 06-25-2019, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: London, UK
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Horses and heat

So as you may have heard Europe is getting the hot stick. Its just a matter of time before I get roasted in southern UK. There is a field of horses owned by a... clan? Well the horses are cared for but minimally. They are tethered to a pole and can walk a small diameter. They have a water bucket and rarely given hay and no shade. In fact they are just moved along in patches I've noticed. Practically wild. They keep the mares tethered and let loose the stallions at certain times.

We have tried for years to get this resolved. But with their reputation against the police force and anyone involved... it's gotten nowhere. The last guy to make a scene about it got mugged and had acid poured on him. He lost his sight and the scars... oof. I am ashamed to say that even being in London that abuse like this still occurs. But the system is just overburdened. They are at least getting water every other day and have access to some grass... :( I am worried about the heat, the bare sun and lack of shade.

There are around 20+ horses at any one time in this field, along a public right of way, too. Yeah that's fun with charging stallions and mamas with foals.

We are constantly chasing this up :<

Anyway, I was hoping to ask some of you that live in a hotter climate what can I do? I was thinking of making some iced snacks like a froze ice-cube carrot or something with some salt. Something light. It is a difficult situation for sure.

ps they dont care about people messing with their horses as long as they aren't taken off the field - then the hunt begins. I spent much of my youth getting into fights with other kids on the way home from school to get them to leave the horses alone. Why do teenagers think its funny to throw things at a trapped horse I'll never know..
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post #2 of 35 Old 06-26-2019, 04:28 AM
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Dear @Kalraii , I don't think I'm going to be much use to you except to say this is a very difficult sort of situation, and I empathise. If you've got an even passing acquaintance with the animals, it's even harder to forget about them and their problems, than it is with even knowing that there are so many domesticated animals living in terrible circumstances - both farm animals and pets. This is something I have found distressing since I was a little girl, and it seems you feel that way too.

I think this sort of situation should be handled by animal welfare organisations like the RSPCA enforcing the law, but unfortunately, at least in Australia, they often don't. Over here, my husband and I have made several RSPCA reports and it fell on such deaf ears, and also in the experience of other friends with similar scenarios, that we decided long since it's a waste of time even to try them, where we live.

The first case we reported, more than ten years ago, was a paddock full of newborn dairy poddies (they get taken off their mothers, and put in paddocks together) near a farmhouse who had been left without any form of shelter despite a clarion-clear severe weather warning that was issued to that part of the state. We chanced upon the situation hiking with a friend. Half the poddies had died of hypothermia - about half a dozen or so - several others were in the process of dying, and the rest were a sorry, shivering lot, penned into a little square of grass with no structure or even hedge to shelter them. It was completely appalling. The farmhouse was 50 metres away and there were people in it, about 10 in the morning after the hailstorm, and a freezing wind still blowing. The RSPCA told us, when we rang them, that they don't get involved with livestock. (And yet we read in the newspaper soon after that an RSPCA officer had gone to investigate the report of a plastic bag full of live garden snails dumped at the local tip, and attempted to set them free.)

The next was an old horse at an agistment place I had a horse at - after half a year of watching this very underweight old horse salivate every time I fed my own horse, and get no extra feed from their owner, and no blanket in the fierce winter rainstorms in this part of the world - I often found him in the paddock wet through and shivering when my own old mare was snug in her blanket - I simply couldn't bear it anymore, and chatted to the RSPCA. They sent a vet out, and the vet simply said, "This is just an old horse and old horses get skinny." End of. What can you do?

There was one other situation involving a dog who was being kicked and beaten by his owner. This was something a neighbour had witnessed and was really distraught about, but he didn't want to report it to the RSPCA. We had seen the dog owner viciously kick his livestock, so it wasn't out of character, plus the dog was now skinny and roaming the countryside trying to scrounge food from other local farm dogs' bowls, afraid to go home. The neighbour who was telling us this stuff told us that the dog had shown up at another neighbour's place he was visiting, and his owner had come looking for him, and the dog, which had been friendly with the people present, immediately raced off on recognising the car. We knew the dog was roaming the countryside, we had seen the owner abuse other animals, and had heard what neighbours were saying about it, but the RSPCA refused to act based on our report because we hadn't personally seen the person kick his dog - never mind that we had seen the distressed, skinny dog running around, and had seen him kick other animals. That's the last time we've ever called the RSPCA. We did call the ranger, and tell him what we knew, and he also knew the track record of the dog owner, and said he'd try to catch the dog and put him in the pound. That was a bit more useful.

Where we live, last winter we saw three adult cattle die of exposure due to being in poor condition and not getting any supplementary hay, next door. The whole herd in that paddock was skinny and weak and spent a lot of time lying down as the winter feed gap opened up. It was pointless trying to call the RSPCA. Because their carcasses were left to rot in the paddock by the road unattended, and the smell drifted over to us, we rang public health, who took that very seriously (and we also reported the cattle deaths to the Department of Agriculture in case of communicable diseases - they came and tested the carcasses and rules out communicable diseases for all the neighbourhood, it was simply death from neglect). So what we basically could effect is that if our neighbours have animals dying from neglect at their place, they are obliged to drag them sufficiently far away from the road so that passers-by can't smell them. However, they can continue to neglect their animals, and they do. The same paddock is once again filled with skinny, weak animals, who are already suffering. It's really frustrating - just like the situation you're in.

All I can say is that animal welfare deserves more attention from the authorities than it's getting. Welfare laws exist, but get broken all the time, and generally, the only time the RSPCA in our area seems to do something about it is if it's beaten-up dogs with next-door neighbours who've witnessed it complaining, or starving cats, or something else worthy of their Australian TV programme (like a kitten stuck up a tree); or unattended animals with overgrown hooves or broken limbs or otherwise needing to be put out of their misery, and it's not too far out of their way to drive.

If it's better where you are, then you could try an animal welfare organisation. Getting personally involved, going it alone, is going to be really stressful for you, and you can make so little difference to their situation, plus this is going to be an ongoing issue unless the powers that be are actually interested in enforcing animal welfare laws.

One alternative approach might be to take photographs / footage if the animals get distressed / hyperthermic / run out of water / etc, and then to bother the RSPCA with that footage. But again, you're leaving yourself open to some potentially nasty repercussions from people that really sound like the sort you'd want to stay well clear of.

Good luck with it...
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post #3 of 35 Old 06-26-2019, 06:59 AM
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Sad but most you can do is report them...
Maybe take the animals plight to the media who sometimes has more push to get the wrongs righted than reporting to the authorities who are in charge of this sort of thing initially with their job title.

Unless you are planning on making enough treats for every single animal you can not give to one and not another as horses with such a lack of care I could see becoming very agitated and actually fight for what tidbits you were passing out.
Do you really want to be in charge of watering all these horses several times a day...offer them treats that have salt in them you better then also quench their additional thirst or they will drop like dead flies.
Sadly, if the animal has water and food available those are the basics of care they must be provided and if they are not a rack of bones, then they are fed at some point in the day.
It is hard for us as animal lovers to witness this, but legally, they are covered or your government agencies would of stepped in and done something by now.
They are privately owned and on private land so anything you do, you are actually in the wrong legally.
You do not feed/water nor trespass as it is you who could face a careful in your actions.

Based on what you said happened to others who got involved I would be very, very cautious doing anything.
That though is exactly what the animals owners are counting on, the local public past knowledge of what happens to those who interfered and what was done to them...
You say "they don't care", obviously they do when overstepping boundaries.
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post #4 of 35 Old 06-26-2019, 11:30 AM
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Clan? Well that's a new name for them!
Afraid that I have to agree - leave them alone and just keep on reporting to the local council, the RSPCA, any other active animal welfare groups and organize petitions, take photographs, keep records.
Unfortunately if other people feed them or water them then they suddenly drop of the potential problem list.

Almost more importantly - DO NOT cross these people EVER (that's emphasis not shouting). Your own safety is paramount
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post #5 of 35 Old 06-26-2019, 12:04 PM
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Keep reporting the situation to authorities, but there's really nothing else you can do, sadly.
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post #6 of 35 Old 06-26-2019, 01:26 PM
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How hot is it going to get?
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post #7 of 35 Old 06-26-2019, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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@jaydee knows what's up with staying the heck away. I didn't know how best to describe them >.< Aaaaghhhh. Thank you for the replies. I couldn't water them if I wanted to @horselovinguy it'd be logistically impossible. They water them by attaching one horse to a cart, going off somewhere, and coming back with it in tubs.

For years we're been reporting it. Media has been involved. As a teenager I'd take a bag of carrots and did a weekly round giving them one each. But you know how it is... you can't save everyone or everything. Just so hard to see it so regularly.

It's gonna be 30c (86f) @tinyliny but this is just the start. parts of Europe have been hitting 40's (104f). It's the lack of shelter and shade that really gets to me. Just watching them burn, quite literally their poor noses and eyes some them ... :<

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post #8 of 35 Old 06-26-2019, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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@horselovinguy they are on public land. The council have tried to evict and shove them off it with no luck. It's not private, not by a long shot. And some of them were discovered to actually be stolen stock from a riding school the other side of the city!

Thank you for your stories @SueC . I forgot that where you are even wildlife suffer in these extreme temps. Someone I know from Australia made a comment about how the 50's is the new 40's in temp standards these days? Just makes one feel so damn helpless and worse to know they are suffering because of a fellow HUMAN. Outside of doing something criminal and throwing away everything there really is very little we can do :< And you are so right the RSPCA are the exact same here. We (and by we I mean locals that banded together) took on jobs to contact various places all over the country for help. But too far away, over-burdened... who would fund it? Or risk it? Dang it.
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post #9 of 35 Old 06-26-2019, 02:26 PM
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It’s a horrible situation and worse that it’s not confined to your area and the horses caught up in that.
The people that have got the power to do something are afraid of reprisals.
It’s sad, over the years I’ve had some top friends who were ‘clans people’, they wouldn’t want to be associated with this lot.
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post #10 of 35 Old 06-26-2019, 03:01 PM
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I can't wrap my head around how these people are running stolen horses on public land, then attacking anyone who gets in their way? I mean, is this Italy or something? (I know it's not; it just sounds that way) I can't understand how this has not been shut down already.

I will say that maybe the RSPCA might be more willing to get involved now that the weather is going to be so hot and these horses don't have any shelter. Maybe. I wish you luck. I hope their situation can somehow be improved.
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