A Fife horse owner has urged lockdown walkers to stop feeding her animals ‘crazy’ food.
Kelsey Atkinson fears her ponies will die following an increase in the public trying to feed them items including frozen peas, sweetcorn and even bread.
The 21-year-old from Anstruther said people were even throwing dog poo bags into the horses’ field.
This puts them in even greater danger, she said.
Kelsey keeps her pets at a stable near Largo Law and has noticed a huge rise in the number of walkers passing by since the first lockdown last March.
In all she helps look after four animals, including horses owned by her 11-year-old sister Abi and niece Lacie-Mae, 5.
While she has fenced off a section of field and put up warning signs, people are now throwing food for the horses to reach.
“People think they know best and it’s crazy what they’re throwing over the fence,” said Kelsey.
“It can cause death.
“They can get colic if there is something stuck inside their gut.
“Horses live on grass, hay and any food they get as part of a special diet from their owners.”
Calls to change the law
Kelsey backs a national campaign calling for a change in the law.
More than 7,000 people have signed a petition urging the introduction of a £2,000 fine for anyone caught feeding a horse without permission.
Meanwhile, a Facebook group called Stop Feeding Our Horses has more than 6,600 members.
“There have been a few cases where I have caught people feeding mine,” said Kelsey.
“I put up signs saying don’t feed the horses but they were just ignored.
“One day a friend from the yard saw a family feeding our horse and when she questioned them the woman said ‘I’ve done this all my days and I’ll continue to do it’.
“That’s what we’re up against.”
One lady said her horse had pooed out a plastic bag.”
She added: “There are so many stories about ponies who have died.
“Even if they survive it can be a long recovery.
“One lady said her horse had pooed out a plastic bag.”
The issue has also raised fears over the transmission of Covid-19.
“If people are patting the horses they can transfer the bacteria and pass it on to us,” said Kelsey.
“Please just don’t touch them and don’t feed them.”