'You keep having to remind yourself they're not there': Pregnant horse and young foal both dead as members of the public over feed them with 'unsuitable' food

A vet has been left devastated after the second horse in a year has died of what is thought to be over feeding from members of the public on countryside walks.

Jen Spiers, a vet based near Blantyre outside of Glasgow, owns Clydesdales horses that are kept at Malcolmwood Farm.

She explains how during lockdown, the number of people on countryside walks in the area has dramatically increased.

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Pregnant horse and young foal both dead as members of the public over feed them with 'unsuitable' food
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She said: “People think that giving a horse one carrot is fine, but multiply that by twenty or thirty, or however many are passing that day who also decide to feed them.

"People feed them not just carrots and apples, but bread, crisps, and there is litter left by the fields that the horses try and eat, and people throw poo bags in to the fields which the horses can eat.”

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Jen lost a foal last Spring at the start of the first lockdown after he was fed by passers-by food that caused a problem with the intestines which he didn’t recover from.

"He was just a baby” said Jen, “it was exceptionally difficult.”

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Lady Muck, her much beloved mare, was pregnant when she too died this week. She was also the mother of the foal who died last year.

Jen said: “We’re still awaiting the post mortem, but she wasn’t ill or anything,”

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Lady Muck is a Clydesdale breeding mare, rare in Scotland and part of a protected breeding programme to increase their numbers.

But she was also a beloved animal to Jen and her husband.

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"She was a fantastic horse, inside and out and now, you just have to keep reminding yourself they’re not there” explained Jen.

"She loved rolling around in the mud, but she had a real sweet side too.

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"Everybody knew Lady Muck.”

As well as being fed a quantity of unsuitable food from members of the public, Jen has said that she has heard that people climb over the fences with their children to touch the horses.

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"It’s like it’s a petting zoo” she said: “People just ignore all the signs I’ve put up to ask them not to.

"We just hope that we can spread the word about this problem, we hope it can make a difference.”

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