The Commons Advisory Panel (CAP) meeting of 9 February recommended that a fallow period for horses should not be implemented in 2021, as the requirements of the COVID-19 lockdown made it unrealistic for owners to safely move horses to other locations. This recommendation has now been confirmed by the city council.
What Is the Fallow Period for Horses?
Under the Act of Parliament covering the Lincoln Commons, horse owners can be requested to move their horses off West Common between 31st March and 14 May in any year if required. This “fallow period” allows the ground and foliage to recover from extreme winter weather. The Commons Advisory Panel usually takes this decision in February each year.
Whilst this year there were concerns over the state of West Common, which has seen significant additional use during recent lockdowns as well as an exceptionally wet winter, it was acknowledged by CAP that it would not be prudent to require owners to move their horses to other locations.
For those who are not aware, grazing by horses plays a key part in maintaining important habitats for flora and fauna on West Common.
Drainage Improvements to West Parade Gate Area
Planning permission has now been granted to improve the drainage of the land to the north of the path by the West Parade gate. Work is likely to be complete this year and will improve the state of the ground around the pedestrian path and the Rosebery Avenue horse feeding station.
Please Don’t Feed the Horses!
In case anyone is in any doubt: Please do not feed any of the horses on West Common. It will encourage the horses to follow you and potentially fight with each other. This results in them looking for food from other users of the Common. There have been a few recent incidents where horses have approached children and those carrying food, in anticipation of a tasty treat. This has the potential to end in a nip or worse. Please don’t contribute to this problem. In addition, many horses have special dietary needs, and you could be harming their health.
There are usually about 56 horses on West Common and each is owned by an individual resident. Any Lincoln householder has the right to graze one horse on the Commons provided it is registered with the city council. If you are concerned about the welfare of a specific horse then you can ring the city council on 01522 873423 Do be aware that just because a horse is lying down or ignoring you, that doesn’t mean it is unwell. One chestnut horse with a white stripe on her face (there are no prizes for naming her) is regularly reported as being ill. She is 31 and likes to lie down and sleep a lot!
If you or your children are worried about being around the horses do take the time to chat to some of the horse owners. Most will be only too happy to help.