I made some new friends: Shetland ponies in the dunes

Island Stories #38

You may have seen my video of a few days ago, showing you my route to the beach. I had filmed while cycling through the villages of Haamstede and Burgh and then through the inland dunes. After that, I walked through the forest and the seaside dunes to the beach. You may remember a brief moment in that video where some Shetland ponies were standing on the cycling path.

I went again for my morning swim in the North Sea this morning, and the same group of ponies was still hanging around at the same spot. There are clear instructions to keep distance and not to feed them, so I parked my bike and watched them from a distance. After a while, I heard another group of ponies arriving behind me. This short video starts when the two groups meet and are happy to see each other.

Some were happy to see me too and walked towards me to welcome me into their group. It is a nice thought, although it is more likely that people have been feeding them and that they were hoping to get something to eat from me. One of them was wounded; I filmed her and sent the video to the local forester with a request to take care of her.

The ponies live independently. Only twice a year do the rangers and volunteers round them up to tend to the hooves and give them a deworming treatment. The Shetland ponies ensure with their grazing and trampling that open areas remain in the dunes. We should keep them as independent as possible, they search for their food and shouldn't get it from visitors, but we should provide care when needed.

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