Tilly: The full story and why you shouldn’t feed horses you encounter in the countryside

The dangers of members of the public feeding horses that they come across in the countryside were highlighted this week, when ‘Tilly’, a 25-year-old horse fell dangerously ill after being fed by a seemingly well-intentioned member of the public.

Tilly who is based at a field at Marsh Lane, Storeton, was found to be very poorly at 7am on Sunday 6 December. When the owners arrived, they found Tilly to be very ill, requiring the services of a veterinarian.

Tilly on the morning she was found to be seriously unwell.

The owners said, “Upon investigation, checking the field and using a local resident’s CCTV, we have found that we had trespassers in the field, stuffing her [Tilly] full of carrots, not only breaking the law but ignoring our clear sign on the gate not to feed them. We will be passing this evidence to the Police to pursue a prosecution for trespass and causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.”

Horse Sense Wirral issued a statement strongly warning the public not to feed horses that they don’t own. They said, “Simple carrots could have killed Tilly today.”

In the statement, Horse Sense Wirral pointed out that people feeding horses may think they are doing no harm, or even giving the animals a little treat. A spokesperson for Horse Sense Wirral told birkenhead.news, “People don’t realise the dangers of feeding horses. Horses have allergies and intolerances just like humans. They also suffer dental issues which could result in them choking on fruit and vegetables. Unfortunately, we can’t explain these issues to the horses so that they refuse gifts. The horses will still take food that people offer them.”

Even with expert veterinary attention, it would be 24 hours before it would be known if Tilly would recover. Fortunately, volunteer Angie Bird discovered her in time and alerted Helen Braid from Leahurst Equine Practice who treated Tilly.

The good news is that despite being desperately unwell, Tilly is recovering very well indeed. Horse Sense Wirral updated us, “She is doing great, completely back to normal, enjoying her retirement with her best (equine) friend Rita.”