Horses for Courses?



Today is the St Just Horse Fair. It’s not something I particularly enjoy having happening right outside the house as it never seems to be that well organised and (in my opinion – and what do I know?) the horses/ponies/donkeys don’t look very happy or well cared for, as they stand rather dejectedly in the square. There were some examples of what appeared to be cruelty last year – though again, it may just be the way one gets horses to behave (?!) – and I am sad because I know that certainly some of them are being sold for meat. I know that this is hypocritical – I’m happy to eat meat, but would be equally sad if I saw the lovely cows/sheep/ chickens in the same situation. I don’t feel sad enough to stop eating meat (although I’m fully aware my opinions might change if I saw an abbatoir in full swing!)


There is a sad looking donkey hee-hawing at the moment, and a mare and her foal standing in a small enclosure.

There has been a small amount of sabotage this year. Two of the metal advertising panels have been defaced: one spray painted with “Non! Non!” and another with “Non à l’exploitation”. It doesn’t seem to have made much difference. There are still a lot of people, and the buvette stall, and various other stalls lining the road. At least it is cool and drizzly: one year, in blazing sunshine, there were few people giving the horses anything to drink. Had it been sunny this year (fat chance of that!) I had resolved to take bowls of drinking water out to the thirsty horses.

But…what can one do? It is part of village life, and I’m not sure that anything I could do would be of any value. And at least some of the horses will be bought by people who will be loving owners. Is that enough to salve my conscience? Here are similar thoughts from a previous year…


One Response to “Horses for Courses?”

  1. Mij Says:

    what is it with the french and animals? they are like the Irish in that respect, but I don’t think its deliberate cruelty, just a lack of knowing how to be responsible for something that depends on you – I may be wrong there though. It must all come down to education again..I know the RSPCA in Britain finds cases of real neglect and terrible cruelty and not always because the owners don’t know any better…I would like to believe mankind is kind – but are we?
    Oh and yes I used to go to the Appleby horse fair in the late 60s and early 70s – when it was not a tourist attraction and the real romanies came from all over Britain. Now it is a case of fighting and drunkeness and a huge police presence, when i went we used to watch the gypsy children swimming in the river while they washed the horses – of course in those days it was always sunny!