A LOCAL horse owner is urging others in the area to be on their guard after she found that of the ponys in her care had its mane cut last week.
The woman, who didn’t wish to be identified, has a livery yard five miles outside Duns and first became suspicious at the end of the winter when she noticed that a number of the ponies in her yard had had their manes plaited.
And things took a more serious turn last week when she found that one of the horse’s forelocks had been quite drastically chopped with scissors.
Although the woman who got in touch with ‘The Berwickshire News’ after reporting the incident to police, didn’t think whoever cut the pony’s mane meant the animal any harm, she was angry they had trespassed on private property and whether deliberately or not had made life harder for the pony over the summer months.
She said: “After I noticed that some of the ponies’ mane had beens plaited over the winter I put up ‘please do not touch the ponies’ signs and I thought they would have done the trick.
“Last Wednesday, May 25, I saw a green car driving out of my yard and it wasn’t one I recognised. I didn’t really think anything of it but when I went into the stables the following morning I saw one of the pony’s hair had been cut with scissors.
“Firstly that’s not the correct way of cutting their hair and secondly that particular breed of pony, native to Britain, are meant to have long manes.
“They come in particularly useful over the summer as long hair protects the horse’s eyes from flies, and there’s lot of them about at the moment.
“It’s going to take between six and nine months for the hair to grow back so we’ll be well into next year and have gone through the whole summer and winter by the time it’s back to how it was.
“I’d like to think that the people who cut the mane did it thinking they were being helpful rather than with any malicious intent but the fact is that if someone wanted to learn about ponies and how to cut their manes properly they could have come and asked me!”
The woman who got in touch with us doesn’t actually own the pony involved in the incident but said its owners were really upset and she felt it was important that the police were aware of what had happened.
“The officer I spoke to hadn’t heard of anything similar happening in the region and I have to say speaking to other local owners it’s not something anyone else has had to deal with.
“I know of an owner in the Coldstream area who had their horses’ manes marked by gypsies but I don’t think the incident at my yard is connected to that.
“I do however think there could be a link to the ponies’ hair being plaited in the winter.
“The police said they’d investigate the incident, particularly in light of the recent spate of thefts of oil, equipment etc but even if they find out who did it they said they wouldn’t be sure of what to charge them with.
“At the end of the day people shouldn’t be touching other people’s property; it’s not up to them how the ponies should have their hair. It would be like me walking into someone’s house and cutting their daughter’s hair.
“If anything similar does happen to other owners I’d like to urge them not to be frightened to report it and also don’t be afraid to ask peole what their business is if you see them on your land.”