A. Good question. There are two sides to this. Firstly, if you come across any horse, pony or livestock when out in the countryside, YOU MUST NOT FEED THEM ANYTHING without the owner’s permission. The reason for this is that you don’t know what those particular animals can and can’t be fed. That being said, there are certain poisonous plants and substances that are never acceptable to feed, as well as things like mouldy bread or human food. Even carrots and apples aren‘t appropriate to feed to many equines - find out more in our Information Hub pages. Grass cuttings are also extremely dangerous and must never be fed. If you are ever concerned about an animal’s welfare, please try to contact the owner in the first instance. See if there is a local farm or dwelling, or if there are any contact details near the field gate. You could also contact your community Facebook page to raise awareness and where necessary contact the authorities.
A. No, please don’t. Without knowing the pony, you may not know what dietary requirements they might have. The pony may suffer from laminitis and be on a restricted diet so the owner is carefully managing how much roughage is given. They may also have allergies to certain grasses and there might also be poisonous plants amongst the grass outside of the field. Feeding anything over the fence/gate might also draw horses and ponies over which could result in injury to yourself / the horses / ponies. If you have genuine concerns about an animal‘s welfare, please contact the relevant authorities.
A. No, please don’t. Without knowing the pony, you may not know what dietary requirements they might have. The pony may suffer from laminitis and be on a restricted diet so sugars in fruit and vegetables can worsen this condition and make it very painful to walk. They might also suffer from Equine Metabolic Syndrome, the equivalent of human diabetes so their owner will be carefully managing their sugar intake. Feeding anything over the fence/gate might also draw horses and ponies over which could result in injury to yourself / the horses / ponies. If you have genuine concerns about an animal‘s welfare, please contact the relevant authorities. It’s easy to think that “just a carrot” won’t do any harm, but sadly horses have choked to death on fruits and vegetables, including carrots. Also, if you were to offer a carrot or two, then some passers by did the same an hour later, followed by some more.. the quantity fed soon builds up - and owners will have no awareness of this. It’s essential that absolutely no food whatsoever is offered to any livestock without the owner explicit permission.
Yes, this is true. Grass cuttings are extremely deadly because they ferment in a horse’s gut, causing it to expand and rupture. They will suffer an agonising and painful death. It might seem surprising because horses eat grass and they eat hay which is dried grass - but they can’t consume it when it’s in the in-between stage. The other risk is that there could be poisonous plants within the cuttings. Some people think it’s a nice gesture to empty cut grass into horses’ paddocks but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It is likely to be extremely deadly so please, please don’t give them anything at all.
No, not at all. In fact quite the opposite. Muzzles will slow down a horse from gorging and eating to much grass too fast. Typically ponies with Laminits must be on very restricted grazing as too much grass can literally kill them. It causes inflammation in their hooves which make it very painful for them to walk or even stand. Sometimes people will put their horses out in the field for a short time so that they can have a little grass, but the risk is that they will overeat quickly so muzzles will slow this down. They are purely there for their benefit and should not be removed. Their loving owners have put them because they care about their health and well-being.
No, please don’t. There doesn’t need to be signs there saying not to, to remind you that you shouldn’t feed any livestock. You shouldn’t feed them either way, unless you have direct permission from an owner - and absence of a sign does not mean that you have permission.