Monday, 13 February 2017

The last of the Punk Horses.

This post is for the people who've been reading my Blog since the beginning - a long time ago now.

And there have been lots of changes too.

Last week we were driving and were held up by some escaped horses in the road which brought back many memories for me.

Here's a Blog entry from 2013 about 'The Punk Horses';

Friday afternoon and I just had to get out of the house. In a way I’m glad I did, in another way it was sad.
I walked far too far, I went to where the wild horses live. It was beautiful day, cold and sunny with a harsh wind from the north. The kind of day to put on your walking boots and stride into the wind
This summer during some quite bad times I befriended a tribe of Punk Horses. They are semi-wild, someone owns them but they roam free over a site of ‘special scientific interest’. This is protected land that was once a gravel pit/quarry that was reclaimed when it was filled with rubbish. The horses were brought in a few years ago and they've been eating brambles and trees and ploughing the land up with their hooves  encouraging wild flowers ever since.
I’d had nothing to do with tame horses before let alone these fighters and I was always wary, so it was a struggle for me to befriend them. I learnt not to fear them and with some difficulty they learnt not to fear me. We became friends. 
They were rough and tough – they bite each other and fight. And although it was hard work getting to know them it was rewarding and therapeutic as well.
I’ve not been there for a long time, it’s too far now, and it’s been poor weather.
Friday I made it back. Made my way through deep mud, got messy and tired out. Muddy boots, muddy jeans. In the end walking far further than I meant to. 
My friends have vanished too, especially the one with a scarred forehead who used to run over to see me. The only horses left are a few of this year’s foals, now acting like teenagers, fighting and messing about. Just like this spring – punk horses. Yet they recognised me and came up to me for carrots, as they’d seen their parents do.
I fear for what’s happened to my friends. The best I can hope for is that they were sold on. It could well be worse. That, I’m afraid, is life if you are a horse these days. 
They did have an idyllic summer; of beautiful sun, ripe blackberries, warm evenings. I know, I really enjoyed it myself even though I had hard times as well.
It seems like a lifetime ago - I was tied up with caring for my Mother and desperate for every half hour I could escape. It was easy to get to 'The Wraysbury Alp', an old gravel pit that had been filled in with rubbish and then raised up into a hill.

It was the only place you could get a view from the valley bottom - you could see Windsor castle, the airport, the M25.

And play chicken with a lot of semi wild horses!

I didn't care back then. I used to stand in the middle of the herd and just watch as they reared up around  me, chased and bit each other.

It was very exciting.

Here's a picture I took;

I used to feed them carrots and we got to know each other.

Although they were a tough bunch they had foals and were nice when you got to know them.

Here's a foal with Mum;


Now, the owners are building an array of solar panels on 'The Alp' and it's all fenced off. There's a court order to evict the horses (doesn't seem to be working too well, perhaps they can't read) and the likes of us can't go there any more.

The irony is that the panels aren't economic except for a massive subsidy paid for by electricity consumers. In other words, it's a scam.

It's sad, although to be fair, I haven't been there since I broke my back - the path is too uneven and there are obstacles I can't cope with now.

The horses had a very beneficial effect on me at the time and I read studies that showed that people who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, victims of domestic violence and others had benefited from contact with animals like I did.

Although perhaps in slightly less dangerous circumstances!

But it is another chapter closed for me, which is sad.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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