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Bruges’s horses have become fat, says carriage driver

18:32 08/01/2021

It turns out that we human beings are not the only living things to have put on a few corona kilos. One group of horses that pull the carriages in Bruges have gained a collective 50 kilograms just over the last few months.

The horse-drawn carriages had to stop last October at the start of the current lockdown in Belgium. Because it’s winter, the horses – like us – are not often out in a field but spending most of their time in stalls. And standing around in stalls for three months has not done their figures any favours.

“A horse weighs between 500 and 600 kilograms, and they are all now about 10% heavier,” Mark Wentein told VRT. Wentein owns several horses and carriages and makes the rounds with them through the normally tourist-laden city.

The horses are well-fed when they are working, but now they’ve been put on a diet. “Dry and raw feeds – hay, a lot of water and very little protein,” says Wentein. “But it’s honestly not having that much of an effect. They are still gaining weight.”

And Wentein doesn’t see an end in sight. “Maybe we’ll be allowed to ride out again during the Easter holiday, but it’s pretty useless if it’s just us. Tourists don’t come to Bruges for a carriage ride alone. They come for the total package: restaurants, bars, terraces, shops and museums.”

Photo: Bruges’s horses, in leaner times
©
Nicolas Maeterlinck/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw

Comments

michele

I wish they would take those blinkers off them. Isn't it enough that they are harnessed up to work all day without having they sight taken away from them as well? Blinkers are unnecessary and the horse suffers from it -it tries desperately to see where it is going by moving it head to the side.

Jan 9, 2021 11:43
michele

Typos: "Their" not "they". "Its" not it!

Jan 9, 2021 11:44
Anon3

Maybe the horses put on weight but I bet their sore limbs and joints and lameness are much better since they don't have to trot around at high speed on the hard paved streets of Bruges all day long just to earn money for the cabbies. It's a horrible sight to see.

Jan 10, 2021 14:02