Patrick the Guinness-drinking pony to lose pub trips as eviction looms

Patrick the Guinness-drinking pony faces EVICTION from village where he is a regular at local pub because council says he is not allowed to graze in Devon town

  • Patrick the Shetland pony is facing eviction alongside horses Annie and Cowboy
  • The trio face being moved to private land away from The Drum Inn, Cockington
  • Patrick shot to fame after his daily visits to the pub for a Guinness went viral
  • Punters are being asked to come say goodbye to the popular pony on Sunday

Britain’s most famous pint-sipping pony may no longer be able to call in at his favourite pub after time was called by authorities.

Patrick the miniature Shetland pony became a celebrity at The Drum Inn at picturesque village of Cockington in Torquay, Devon where his favourite tipple is Guinness.

But that could end as Patrick and other horses which pull carriages through the thatched cottages and parkland are being removed following a long-running battle over grazing.

Landlords Torbay Council said they were deeply saddened that despite all of their efforts the horses were being removed.

Patrick (pictured) is known to join his owner Kirk Petrakis on a jaunt to the pub where he drinks Guinness and is fed carrots by the landlord

The local authority said they offered a peppercorn rent and business support and will continue to work to keep the heritage tradition of horse-drawn carriages in Cockington. 

Horses have been a feature of Cockington for generations and there has been a huge wave of nostalgia, sadness and anger at the news that Patrick’s fellow horses Annie and Cowboy are being moved to private land.

It means the end of the traditional Halloween and Christmas-themed carriage rides.

Patrick and Kirk are regulars at The Drum Inn, Cockington but Patrick is facing eviction from nearby fields after they were deemed unsafe for him to graze on over winter

Many people visit the stables daily to see the big horses and miniature pony Patrick who has become a celebrity with his daily jaunts to the village pub for a Guinness.

Kirk says Patrick enjoys a small amount of Guinness which contains large amounts of iron and is good for his growth and development. 

Kirk and Hannah Petrakis, Patrick’s owners, have invited the public to come and say goodbye on Sunday afternoon at 2pm. 

The couple who have run the horse and carriage business at Cockington for six years said they have been overwhelmed by the public reaction.

Kirk Petrakis (right) has been told the fields nearby The Drum Inn are not safe for Patrick and fellow horses Annie and Cowboy and they must go to private lands

They have been asking the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust for many months for better winter grazing. 

Kirk said: ‘Sadly the only fields offered to the horses for the winter are under a DEFRA Stewardship scheme which means if they become muddy there are chances of hefty fines.

‘An Equine Vet who has done reports for the RSPCA has stated the fields are unsafe and dangerous. 

Patrick is facing the prospect of a winter without his favourite beverage as his owners prepare to move him to private lands further away from the pub to graze

 ‘So for the welfare of the horses they are being moved to private land, which is more suitable.

‘Sadly this means the community won’t be able to see them.’

Patrick has been going to The Drum Inn for his daily walks to get him used to being indoors and meeting people as part of his training as a therapy pony. 

The Shetland pony’s drinking exploits have made him a celebrity who has helped local people through the pandemic through his therapeutic training

Replying to Kirk’s post one holidaymaker said: ‘So sad those horses have been a feature of Cockington for years.

‘As a tourist I know how much of a feature they are and to the village itself.’

Another asked: ‘What’s happening? There are tonnes of safe fields at Cockington.

Locals are being urged to come say goodbye to Patrick this Sunday afternoon as he faces being separated from his favourite pub this winter

‘Surely the business isn’t closing due to land?’

One comment said: ‘So sad to hear this news How ridiculous that a solution couldn’t be found.

‘Horses have been in this valley since forever really.’

A horse lover wanted to know if the horses will be kept together: ‘What about Patrick? I do hope he will have safe pasture with Annie and Cowboy.’

Although Annie and Cowboy, the larger horses who pull the carriages are leaving next week and may never return – the future of the business, the stables and miniature pony Patrick are not yet decided.

Kirk said: ‘We are not saying it’s the end/end yet.

Patrick has become a celebrity as his love of Guinness went viral online during lockdown with many visitors now coming to Cockington to see the Shetland pony in his stables

‘But the winter grazing fields are not suitable – we have had a vet’s report to confirm that.

‘I am very disappointed to say that we have not been offered safe, alternative grazing for the horses.

‘We are staying at the stables for now.

‘For us the solution would have been that they let the horses graze in Lady Park Field, which is used by cows and sheep.

Patrick gets the bus to the pub to join his family for dinner and even visits the local shops as part of his duties as a therapy animal

‘But we have been told we can’t have it because it’s under DEFRA stewardship.

‘To be honest it’s never been fully explained to us why cows are allowed in there but two horses aren’t.

‘It’s mind boggling.

‘MP Kevin Foster has intervened for us and is asking why the grazing field can’t be taken out of stewardship.’

Hannah said that usually at this time of year they are decorating the stables and carriages for Halloween and then Christmas rides around the village.

‘Annie and Cowboy are going to private grazing and all the people who like to visit them won’t be able to see them.

‘We don’t know if they will ever be coming back and it’s looking likely that Patrick will have to leave too although nothing has been decided.’

Hannah said: ‘Normally the yard would be all decorated for Halloween and we would be doing rides.

‘But that won’t be happening this year.

‘We get an awful lot of people who come to see Annie and Cowboy and we wanted them to know that they won’t be here.

‘People come to see them and to see Patrick.

‘Patrick is still going for his walks up to the pub with Kirk, bless him, but we don’t know yet when he will be leaving.’ 

Shetland ponies are native to the islands at the northern-most part of Scotland and require wide fields to graze on during the winter

Torbay Council said in a statement: ‘TDA and Torbay Council note the statement from K&H Carriages setting out that their horses will be removed from Cockington Court.

‘Torbay Council and TDA recognise the heritage and tradition the horses bring to the site. Since May, we have made sustained efforts working with K&H Carriages and Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust to find a solution in this ongoing dispute over winter grazing.

‘TDA commissioned an independent land agent assessment of the grazing which concluded that, whilst not ideal, the current winter grazing fields are workable.

‘In addition, TDA has carried out searches for alternative grazing sites both in 2018 and again this year.

‘However, a solution has not been found that has been acceptable to the current operators.

‘As the Council’s appointed operators of Cockington Court, TDA has continually supported K&H Carriages since they based their business at the site.

‘In recognition of the heritage benefits that the horses bring to the site, TDA offered a peppercorn rent at the start of the lease, which was offered for an extended period.

‘In addition, Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust (TCCT) offered a discounted rent on the winter grazing fields.

‘K&H carriages have been offered business support and advice from TDA Business Advisors; the business advice offer was not accepted.

‘In further support of the business, TDA also supported K&H Carriages with their request to run their Purple Poppy Appeal from Cockington Court.

‘Over recent weeks TDA and Council representatives have met with K&H Carriages with the aim and hope that a solution could be found and have recently proposed a change in the operating requirements to resolve the winter grazing issues.

‘While it has not been possible to reach a solution, we are deeply saddened to see K&H Carriages remove their horses and we continue to recognise the heritage and will continue to work to protect this tradition.’

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