The things you learn when you begin a new adventure, that’s part of what makes life so exciting isn’t it? Unbeknownst to me, Darrell Taylor and Keith Cox was the phrase ‘Fly Grazing’ – that was until we began our exploits with Co-Treetment back in 2019.
Earlier this year we received a call from the local land owners association that we are active members for telling us that there were fly grazers once again in the area.
So what is it?
In simple terms fly-grazing is the deliberate grazing of a horse without the landowner’s (private or local authority) permission.
Why is fly-grazing a problem?
Fly-grazed horses are often left to fend for themselves without sufficient shelter, water and forage, which also increases their risk of preventable illness. The horses are also often unhandled and breeding is uncontrolled, which in turn places greater demand on resources.
Fly-grazing occurs in areas where there may not be suitable security to prevent horses straying, so as well as causing problems for the landowner in dealing with unexpected and unwanted horses on their land, it can even risk public safety.
Why are horses fly-grazed?
To keep costs down by housing horses on someone else’s land and although horses are legally required to be microchipped and passported, equine identification laws are not being effectively enforced and a current lack of a centralised database makes identifying horses and tracing owners problematic. Irresponsible owners are therefore able to get away with fly-grazing their horses
Overbreeding of horses means owners need to look for alternative land – often for their “lower value” equines.
Did you know if you find a horse on your land – whether farm land, livery yard or your back garden – and cannot trace it to an owner, you are legally responsible for ensuring the welfare of that animal? Providing food, water, shelter and veterinary care places an unwarranted financial burden on victims; although some or all costs incurred can be reclaimed.
And so what did the three co-founders of Co-Treetment find themselves doing this weekend? Well we took sensible precautions to minimise, actually hoping to prevent and deter fly grazers from entering our land.
This entailed improving the security of the access gate to the field by adding more locks, some posts front and rear and making sure the gate can not be lifted off its hinges and limiting the lustrous vegetation by mowing the long grass whilst be being sympathetic to the rest of the land, ensuring we kept the various insect houses, bird boxes and long grass between the planted trees.
We are pleased with the results and sit now with fingers crossed that we won’t again be subjected to fly grazing from irresponsible owners. If there any positives to come from this it is seeing the collaborative passion Darrell Taylor, Keith Cox and Simon Evans have for making Co-Treetment a success.
Feel free to join us in our journey to success by ordering a tree using our shop page.