I WRITE with reference to the ponies on Port Meadow.

As owner of two of the horses, I will hopefully allay the fears of concerned Oxford residents as regards their welfare.

All ponies on the meadow are owned and checked on at least once daily. Any problems are relayed back to the respective owner, who comes to the meadow to deal with the problem.

The ponies are native types, built to withstand all weathers and live off very little grass. It may not look like there is much grazing but they do not need hay – none are looking too thin.

Horses who live a natural life slim down during the winter to be able to cope with the spring grass or they may come down with a very painful disease in spring, as they become too fat. If the ponies do become too thin, we, the owners, will bring hay to feed to them.

Inspectors from the RSPCA have checked them, as have my vet and farrier and agree the ponies are in good condition and are happy for them to remain where they are.

The ponies can stand somewhere dry (the concrete path) and the muddiest areas are small, so most of the time they stand on grass. Compare this to many, who stand knee-deep in mud and/or water, unable to find anywhere dry.

I am pleased that people are worried about the ponies but abandonment, food and shelter are not a concern. Instead, people could look out for: injuries and lameness; bottle-diggers leaving broken glass and pottery; dogs being allowed to chase the ponies.

Requests? Please: shut the meadow gates; don’t feed the ponies – this can cause illness and encourages the ponies to ‘mug’ people for food; keep dogs under control.

Meadow Prospect