Urban Horses

by Tom Szustek

Irish love for horses is known worldwide. Keeping horses without a license in an urban area is prohibited under the 1996 Control of Horses Act. But young residents of north Dublin don’t pay too much attention to regulations. They just want to have some fun. Teenagers’ dream here it’s not a bike or motorcycle but a pony or horse. Animals are kept in garages, sheds or just in the backyards and there were cases of mistreated animals reported.

Most of the residents don’t mind the horses in the area and think it keeps kids out of the trouble, others suggest moving animals for pastures outside the urban area, because free-roaming animals and riders disturb traffic.

Horse market at Smithfield, Dublin city centre is a place where horse breeders gather on the first Sunday of every month to buy and sell horses, ponies or just to chat with old friends from horse business. Teenagers from Dublin ride to the market on their ponies as well…

Unfortunately, the recession took its toll on horses and ponies. Many of them have been left to survive on their own after being abandoned by their owners who could not afford to feed them any longer. Severe winter conditions 2010/2011 caused a number of deaths of the animals across the country.

Photos were taken between 2007-2013