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Dumped horses leave common - but move to Cherry Tree Field
A GROUP of horses that had been left on a Bournemouth nature reserve for more than a week have been moved to another council site.
The horses were removed from Redhill Common yesterday ahead of a deadline imposed by Bournemouth council. But four of them later turned up on Cherry Tree Field in Northbourne.
While in Redhill, they had been fed and watered by Linda Mattocks and other local residents, who were concerned they were not being properly cared for.
But Chris Stanley, owner of the horses that are now at Cherry Tree Field, said he kept them on common land because of a lack of grazing in the area. He said he had never had problems before moving them to Redhill.
“You’ve got so many travelling people in Bournemouth that have got horses,” he said. “I’ve had horses for 35 years.
“Ask anybody in a 10-mile radius if I look after my horses. They get fed every single day. People stand and watch them.”
He said he came from a travelling tradition which valued horses. “Everybody used them for pulling our homes years and years ago. Now they’ve moved us into houses that travellers don’t like living in.”
He said the horses had buckets of water and ‘proper winter rugs’ and said he intended to continue moving them around local sites.
Katie Wilkinson, senior countryside ranger, said they had started proceedings to get the horses moved.
“A notice has been put up in the vicinity notifying the owners of the horses that they are not permitted on the land and they have until Wednesday, February 20 to remove them,” she said.
“We will continue to visit the site on a daily basis and monitor the situation.”
Jessica Stark, of World Horse Welfare, said: “The issue of horses being dumped on other people’s land without permission is becoming increasingly common and is often called fly-grazing.
“The market has dropped out of horse sales. They are now very cheap and you can’t get a good price but people continue to breed them. We do see lots of cases of dealers, often those in travelling communities, who will just continue to breed horses even though there is no market for them.
“Many of these horses are very hardy and can be in quite good condition but it becomes a problem if they are not getting the food, water or veterinary care they need.”