Grandmother Who Fed Retired Racehorse Carrots Given Restraining Order

by : Cameron Frew on : 19 Nov 2021 11:42
Grandmother Who Fed Retired Racehorse Carrots Given Restraining OrderAlamy

A grandmother has been issued with a restraining order after giving carrots to a retired racehorse.

Margaret Porter, 67, ended up being taken to court after sneaking carrots into Nelson’s paddock, after becoming convinced the chestnut gelding was undernourished, sad and ‘starving to death’.


The horse’s owner, Suzanne Cooke, 50, from nearby Scruton in the Yorkshire Dales, caught sight of Porter chucking some vegetables over the fence earlier this year. Despite being urged the animal was well looked after, it wasn’t any use, leading a restraining order being issued at York Magistrates Court yesterday, November 18.

‘I thought he looked quite sad. The fields were frozen at the time and there was snow on the ground. I passed six or seven times a day and didn’t see his owner with him once. I decided to give him a few carrots at the fence. It never occurred to me that anyone else would be bothered about that, I just didn’t want him starving to death,’ Porter told The Times.

When Cooke pulled her up, she said, ‘Why are you feeding my horse? Do you realise what you are doing? You could poison my horse or give it colic and make it ill.’


Porter remained unconvinced, even phoning the RSPCA to carry out a welfare check – however, inspectors had no concerns about the racehorse. ‘She went out to cause as much difficulty as possible for no good reason. It was horrifying to have the RSPCA called out to do a welfare inspection on Nelson, it made me feel terrible,’ Cooke said.

‘He’s a thoroughbred horse and he’s very well looked after, exercised and fed, he’s a wonderful horse and very much loved by me and my son.

‘This has gone on for a year now and it has caused so much stress and upset for me. It has had the whole village, where I’ve lived very happily for eight years, talking about me.’

Carrots. (Alamy)Alamy

Cooke eventually called the police, and Porter has since been handed a restraining order that bars her from interacting with Nelson or approaching Cooke’s home. Porter branded it ‘ridiculous’, but was grateful to not receive a custodial sentence or anything more severe.

‘In the first instance her conduct could be considered laudable in that she truly believed she was trying to prevent the neglect of the horse,’ Hilary Fairwood, the magistrate, said. ‘However, after the RSPCA visit and police intervention she continued despite being explicitly told the RSPCA had no concerns whatsoever. Her conduct was not reasonable.’

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Cameron Frew

Entertainment Editor at UNILAD. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the best film ever made, and Warrior is better than Rocky. That's all you need to know.

Topics: Animals, horses, Now, UK


The Times
  1. The Times

    Restraining order for grandmother who kept feeding horse ‘because it looked sad’