‘Non-horsey’ vandals putting pony at risk, says owner

PUBLISHED: 08:25 28 May 2013 | UPDATED: 08:25 28 May 2013

Hazel Nilsson with Misty, wearing a full muzzle

Hazel Nilsson with Misty, wearing a full muzzle


A PONY that needs saving from herself is being put in danger by ‘non-horsey’ people who keep on stealing her muzzle.

Hazel Nilsson, owner of Fair Home Stables in Tewin, says 11-year-old Misty will die if she is allowed to eat grass without a muzzle when she is outside.

But people keep removing the device, which restricts the amount she can eat, because they think it is cruel.

Last week someone snuck into her Tewin field and cut a bigger hole in Misty’s muzzle.

Mrs Nilsson, who has kept ponies since she was nine and owns the horses at the stables, said: “It must be a non-horsey person because a horsey person would never do that.

“I think people see the muzzle and think it’s cruel and doesn’t allow her to eat, or is in place to stop her biting other horses, but it’s obvious that she is eating because her head is down all the time.

“But if she is allowed to eat the grass even for one night she could get laminitis and die.”

She explained that the muzzle Misty wears restricts the amount she can eat but doesn’t stop her grazing altogether. Laminitis is a potentially fatal disease for horses and ponies and is caused when they put on so much weight that their legs cannot support them.

The wall of the foot swells and then the sole of the foot drops causing a bone to come through the foot.

The new spring grass is particularly tasty to horses and ponies, so they tend to over-eat.

“It’s a very, very painful thing,” said the 62-year-old. “It can happen within hours and there isn’t much that can be done for it.”

This is not the first time that Mrs Nilsson, who also owns nine other horses, has had this problem.

Four years ago people kept removing the muzzle and throwing it over the hedge but she put up warning signs in the village and the problem went away.

“But new people have moved in to the area since then,” she said. “I just want people to know why we do this.”

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