Guinness-loving Shetland ponys pub visits to end over council row about grazing

A Devon village is preparing to say goodbye to a beloved Shetland pony that became a local celebrity for his habit of popping into his local pub for a pint of Guinness.

Patrick the pony is a regular at The Drum Inn at picturesque Cockington in Torquay, but council bosses are calling time on his drinking after a row about grazing land.

Kirk and Hannah Petrakis the owners of K&H Cockington Carriages have invited the public to come and say goodbye this Sunday afternoon at 2pm.

They have been asking the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust for many months for better winter grazing.

The horses have been a feature of Cockington for generations and there has been a huge wave of nostalgia, sadness and anger at the news that Annie and Cowboy are being moved to private land.

It means the end of the traditional Halloween and Christmas themed carriage rides.

Many people visit the stables daily to see the big horses and miniature pony Patrick who has become a celebrity with his daily jaunts to the village pub for a Guinness.

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The couple who have run the horse and carriage business at Cockington for six years said they have been overwhelmed by the public reaction.

Kirk said: "Sadly the only fields offered to the horses for the winter are under a DEFRA Stewardship scheme which means if they become muddy there are chances of hefty fines.

"An Equine Vet who has done reports for the RSPCA has stated the fields are unsafe and dangerous.

"So for the welfare of the horses they are being moved to private land, which is more suitable.

"Sadly this means the community won't be able to see them."

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Replying to Kirk's post, one holidaymaker said: "So sad those horses have been a feature of Cockington for years.

"As a tourist I know how much of a feature they are and to the village itself."

Another asked: "What's happening?

"There are tonnes of safe fields at Cockington.

"Surely the business isn't closing due to land?"

One comment said: "So sad to hear this news How ridiculous that a solution couldn't be found.

"Horses have been in this valley since forever really."

A horse lover wanted to know if the horses will be kept together: "What about Patrick? I do hope he will have safe pasture with Annie and Cowboy."

Although Annie and Cowboy, the larger horses who pull the carriages, are leaving next week and may never return – the ultimate fate of the business, the stables and miniature pony Patrick is not yet decided.

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