Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Ponies for All

“Ponies for all” could lead to a large-ish slump in forecourt petrol sales with knock-on effects on the oil industry but hay and stabling costs are pretty high. Current pony purchase prices range from second-hand-old-banger to mid-priced new family car, with a few in the super-car range, so the pony-sales economy would certainly enjoy a temporary stimulus. However, the vast majority of the ponies would have to come from overseas as there are only about 1.75 million horses and ponies in the UK and a large number of those are below working age. There are also costs to muck storage and disposal, 'though there should be an increase in the availability of manure-based composts and fertilisers.

Mind you, there would be an added stimulus in the cartwright, harness, vetinary and insurance industries. And riding schools, riding- and driving-instructors should see an upturn in business. In the short term, there would be an additional rise in ‘green jobs’ as bridleways and green-lanes are returned to service although introducing ‘pony-lanes’ to the roads might be a slight problem.

All in all, it should be a positive policy for the environment and the economy and I hope that a future Government will have the foresight to introduce this radical platform of measures.

Anyone who wants magic fairies can have them anyway: just close your eyes and say, “I believe in fairies, I believe in fairies,” etc.,

 Originally written and posted, by me, as a reply to comments on this blog at Liberal Conspiracy


I forgot to add in farriery as a trade that would see an upturn in business. They look after barefoot ponies as well as shod ones. 

I also forgot to mention that during the Second World War there was something of a renaissance in the use of horses and ponies for riding and driving - people keep comparing current economic conditions to those of WWII, so why not encourage a similar response now? ;)

Oh! And you might need to clap for the magic fairies thing to work...



RockHorse said...

There are an host of interesting facts and figures to be found here:

Oya's Daughter said...

In the US, horses are still used as work animals and just just as pleasure animals people ride only on a rare occasion. As you've noted, sometimes it's cheaper to have a horse. In some areas in the States, I remember a kid being told to take the horse rather than the car as the horse was cheaper than the petrol. It's still done - my aunt's ranch is monitored by proper chaps-wearing cowboys, the feed wagon pulled by massive draft horses.

I had a horse myself but have to admit I just don't have the stamina or energy to mind one - ideally if I was back in new forest I'd be riding everywhere otherwise!

RockHorse said...

Hi there, OD, and thanks for commenting :)
There are a few working horses here but maybe not in the same way as in the USofA. Just down the end of my road is Richmond Park and they have a pair of working Shire horses! They pull the mowing machine, haul timber and do other haulage work around the park, as well as 'hiring out' to work in the other Royal Parks and to take part in shows and displays. A couple of years ago there were reports that Constabularies which had closed their Mounted Divisions were re-opening them, with public calls for horses suitable for Police work. Horse Rangers in the National Parks and Royal Parks, horses hauling trees in logging areas, even horses 'working' in Equine Assisted Therapy, as you know :)

How wonderful that your aunt still ranches traditionally - that'd be great to see!

We had ponies when I was a kid and through into my twenties but we had good, cheap grazing then - and even if I had the stamina and energy, I don't think the local Council would look kindly on me if I grazed a pony on the grassed areas of the estate ;)


Robert said...

Could ride at five bare back, at seven I was riding across fields to bring the sheep or the cattle to the new fields.

The problem today of course everything is private from the roads to the verges along the roads old Prince Charles owns them, tax on horse power would have to be introduced to fill the gap in fuel tax.

But we are told horse meats tastes nice.

RockHorse said...

@Robert: You're correct - access to safe riding on bridle-paths and across land is severely restricted. When I rule the world, all that will be changed ;) And 'Bah!' to taxes... Horsemeat tastes fine but I don't see the taste or sensibilities of British Isles-ers changing in much of an hurry!


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