As I was perusing the horse-related news recently, I came across a story in which a man tried to transport his pony in a most unusual way. After reading said news story (more on that in a moment) I was reminded of a trip I took a few years ago.

When I was a freshman at Michigan State University, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Ireland and Northern Ireland. For roughly a month, I traveled around the island with 11 other students and two professors. The purpose? Explore and learn as much about the horse industry in there as possible.

We had some fantastic opportunities to visit Thoroughbred racing yards, working family farms, and some high-class stud farms worth more than I can even hope of making in my entire life. We visited numerous colleges with equine programs and got quite used to seeing foals frolicking around green pastures with their dams.

While staying in Northern Ireland, we got the opportunity to travel to Belfast to watch a jumping competition taking place there. It was decided that the most efficient way to get fourteen people from our base to the middle of the city would be the train. So we all set off, purchased tickets, and boarded.

I remember being fully amazed at how many horses I saw in close proximity to the train tracks as we careened through the country side. Even as we approached the city, the number of horses scattered around dropped only slightly until we reached the wall-to-wall buildings and roads that make up Belfast.

I couldn't help being taken back to that train ride when I read a news story from BBC News in which an Englishman purchased two tickets for the train: one for him and one for his pony. The report explained that last week, a man attempted to bring a pony (and we're not talking a Breyer horse or even a seeing-eye mini...we're talking a full-fledged, poofy-maned pony) onto a passenger train traveling to Holyhead on Anglesey. The conductor of the train denied the couple admission onto the train.

Just why the man decided the train would be the best method of transportation for his four-legged friend remains unclear, and the report indicated that the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was looking into the incident (although in my opinion, the photos included in the story don't portray the pony as poorly cared for...). A major momentary lapse in judgment on the owner's part maybe?

So this begs the question...what would you do if you saw a pony (or horse, for that matter) being transported in less than ideal conditions?