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"We all learnt a great deal about Farming - it helped the children to understand the idea of Farming more. A real hands on experience!"

By Reading School Year 4 teacher



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Farmer John’s July ’15 blog

Farmer John’s July ’15 blog

27 Nov 2015

This wasn’t fly tipping but fly grazing.  Three horses had appeared in a largely disused piece of land belonging to the farm at Theale.  They looked quite comfortable, and so they should.  The grass was clean and lush with a smattering of wild flowers, the field secured with solar powered electric fencing and water was from a plastic mock cast-iron bath.  Their head collars were neatly hung on the bit of fence not broken down to gain access.  Admittedly it was a bit noisy, the by-pass one side and the mainline the other.  My first response was to try the police and the local authority.  They were interested and polite.

I now know that the correct response to this situation is to stick up an “Abandonment Notice”. Quoting the Animals Act 1971, it asks the owner of the horses to make contact and remove the offending equines otherwise face dire consequences…rehoused, sold or death (though of course humanely). Previous experience with travellers around Junction 12 has always been challenging, but nothing to the prospect of carting 3 horses off somehow to somewhere. I nervously posted two notices up to ensure that they knew I meant business, and then retreated to Sainsbury’s.  Driving back one of the notices had been removed, and then someone called, but I missed it.  A few days later the horses disappeared, although a note was left with a phone number and news that one of the mares was now a proud mum. I phoned to thank him for moving his animals.  He gruffly replied that the horses would be returning, with a promise of a fourteen day cycle.

The following morning we took back the land, put all his stuff by the roadside and repaired the fence. My boss congratulated me on dealing with the matter with such speed and efficiency.  I took the praise but knew it was nothing to do with me.  Despite his lifestyle, the owner loved and cared for his animals, and particularly wanted the mare back home where he could enjoy his new foal.