LETHBRIDGE, N.L. — If you’re driving down Route 230 on a lazy, sunny day, it’s pretty hard to resist pulling over at the Three Mile Ridge store and farm and having a gander at the beautiful horses grazing in their paddock.
Krista Chatman says that while they welcome anybody to stop and appreciate the animals, there is one important condition — don’t feed them.
Chatman explained that the horses, who are used to human attention, may be content to stand in the middle of the paddock, munching their hay, and that visitors who want a more “up close” visit with the animals may attempt to lure them with treats such as apples, carrots, and other fruits and vegetables.
Earlier this week, the Chatman family had to call the vet after they discovered a visitor had handed some onions over the fence to one of the horses, named June.
Chatman explained that onions, when ingested, destroy red bloods cells within the horse, which can cause sickness, or even death.
She says this isn’t the first time it’s happened — a sign along the paddock installed about two years ago informs visitors that the family has made four vet calls after horses have eaten treats from strangers.
In fact, Chatman says they almost lost June two years ago after she had accepted treats from a visitor.
To have a vet visit the animal costs at least $100, and much more if further care is needed.
Chatman explained to The Packet that particularly bad foods for horses include onion, garlic, avocado, and potatoes, and that even “safe foods,” such as apples and carrots, can be dangerous in too high of quantities.
“We have lots of people come up to the fence to see our horses, which we love. They can come on up and see them anytime,” says Chatman, who adds that in the past she has brought visitors into the paddock to see the horses, and will continue to do so.
“I’m not the only one who experiences this. Plenty of horse owners and other animal owners across the island experience such things,” she says.
The family has since put up additional signage asking visitors to not feed the animals.