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Glossop horse owner shares frustration over strangers mistreating her animals and field

A Glossop resident has raised her concerns over strangers feeding her horses in their field as well as disrespecting the field, saying it’s “annoying and frustrating.”  

Julia Hill of Glossop keeps her horses in a field in Whitfield, and has noticed a rise in the number of people feeding her horses things such as apples.  

This has been an issue for many years but Julia says the problem has become more apparent since lockdown, adding: “People may think visiting the ponies with some treats is a nice thing to do on their walk.

“This is the same as me coming into your garden and feeding your dog something that will give him an upset stomach all over your house all night.” 

Julia has two horses, Goldilocks and Brandysnap, and she told the Chronicle the dangers of feeding strangers' horses: “My Dartmoor pony is 26 years old. She has age-related Cushing's disease, which means she does not process sugars in the usual manner and feeding her apples or other ‘treats’ could trigger an attack of laminitis. 

“Many horses have to be euthanised as a result of this condition.”

She added: “My 16-year-old Welsh mare is very friendly. If you feed her she will approach people for treats. She will come to expect treats and eventually chase people, and people could panic and hit her.” 

Horses are unable to be sick so anything they eat has to be processed through their stomachs, which are quite delicate for such large animals. They can develop colic which is a very painful condition and often results in euthanasia.

But it’s not just apples people have been feeding Julia's horses. "My friend caught someone feeding her horse samosas," she added. "She advised the lady that samosas are not suitable for horses, and the lady told her the horse should be allowed to make his own choices. Others have been fed chewing gum and fermented grass cuttings, resulting in illness, death, stress and hefty vet bills.”

Another issue that is seemingly increasing in the local community is dog owners not keeping their dogs on leads. Julia also experiences this problem in her field: “People ignore signs asking them to keep dogs on leads and stick to footpaths.”

Sometimes, they leave dog poo in the horses' field or bag it up and stick it in the dry stone walls or leave it on the ground. In some cases, cows have aborted their calves due to ingesting toxic dog waste left in their fields. Sheep have been chased and killed and left with horrific injuries from dog attacks. 

People have also been cutting fences, propping gates open and lighting fires in farmers' fields which has also caused problems such as animals escaping and damage to the grass. 

Julia wants to reiterate the importance of respecting the fields in the area: “Please don’t feed other people’s animals. Stick to the footpath and keep your dog on a lead, and shut the gates behind you. Treat the countryside with respect.” 

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