Flap over what horses are doing

CHARLOTTE SQUIRE
Last updated 13:00 06/12/2013
Jenna Papadopoulos
Fairfax NZ

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY: Golden Bay horse owner Jenna Papadopoulos picks up her horse poo and either takes it home to compost or gives it to the nearest garden.

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The issue of horse poo is causing a stink in Golden Bay.

The question of what to do with it is up for question, with some complaining about too much of it being left on beaches, and being trekked through the Takaka township, and others offering creative solutions to the problem.

Paton's Rock resident Joy Womersley said she'd discussed the issue with other Paton's Rock residents and they agreed horse poo on the beach was "not civilised".

"Maybe it happened once upon a time, but these days something needs to be done about it," she said.

Mrs Womersley questioned why dog owners had to pick up poo but horse owners didn't.

"It's unsightly and it's unhealthy, especially on beaches. People don't think their horse's poo has disease in it, but it does."

The issue has also been raised at a Golden Bay Community Board meeting.

Horse and cart owner Jenna Papadopoulos says she's part of a "three-cart family". She doesn't own a car, and living close to Takaka she gets around via horse cart or bike. Ms Papadopoulos and her kaimanawa cross horse Domino are a regular fixture at markets and children's events.

"I find my horses rarely poo when they're working, they wait to stop. And then I just pick it up and take it home for the garden," she said.

If she's out riding and it happens she stops and puts it in the nearest green space or garden.

Golden Bay farrier and horse riding instructor Kris Russel said she can appreciate that horse poo is a "nuisance" and says people are more sensitive to it these days.

She thinks horse riders could be avoiding the main street.

"Really we should voluntarily go down Motupipi Street instead," she said.

She said it wasn't easy to stop and pick up poo when driving a horse and cart.

"If you're in a horse and cart you cannot stop in the middle of the road and pick up horse poo, unless there's someone else to help. It's a safety thing."

She said horse poo was not as "offensive" as dog poo, but the bigger the horse the bigger the poo.

Horses were becoming more visible in Golden Bay as more people chose to ride through Commercial St and more people were transporting their horses in floats, she said.

Horse care expert Rita Virtama said members of her riding club Golden Valley Riding are always encouraged to pick up their horse poo.

"We encourage people to pick up poo from roads and reserves and not to ride on beaches during the main holiday times," she said.

Golden Bay Community Board chairwoman Carolyn McLellan said she thought horse owners should do all they could to "keep the peace" by being responsible with their horse poo.

She said many people spent time on the beach and horse owners couldn't always rely on the tide to wash horse poo away.

She'd done some research online and had discovered a horse poo bag that horses could wear while in motion.

"You can buy these catch-it bags, this is the way to go," she said.

Tasman District Council spokesperson Chris Choat said there was no specific by-law to control horse waste.

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- The Nelson Mail

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