I hate to write about what essentially is a non-news story, but I was just so delighted when I read the December 4, 2009 Daily Echo article “Horses’ tails chopped off in Kings Somborne” I had to share.

According to Daily Echo there is a bout of “what appears to be ritualistic chopping of horses tails” taking place across Hampshire. Now how one determines that a horse’s tail has been ritualistically removed as opposed to just cut off, I would not know. I am not a law enforcement professional.

What I read next made my WTF radar go off. “One theory being looked into by officers is that it is part of a strange ritual by pagans in the lead up to the Winter Solstice later this month.” As I said, WTF? However I was rewarded by next reading that “last night both lines of inquiry (the other theory being that people were looking for authentic hair for making rocking horses) were ruled out by experts.”

That’s right folks. Instead of continuing on a path of, what I could only believe the technical term is, dumb assedness, the police spoke with Catherine Hosen, a spokeswoman for the Pagan Federation of Wessex. She is quoted in the Daily Echo article as saying, “It’s certainly not any ritual that I’m aware of. Any day in the year you could say it’s close to some pagan ritual because the calendar is pretty full of them. Pagans have a strong respect for anything to do with nature. They would ask permission before removing a branch from a tree, let alone do anything to a horse.” Thank goodness they got that nonsense cleared up.

For completeness, let me share that they ruled out the rocking horse theory by speaking to Chris Ward, who restores and creates rocking horses, and has restored rocking horses for the Royal family. Nice to call in the professionals, thumbs up.

If you would all indulge me for a moment, in honor of the USA Network series “Monk” ending this past Friday, I’d like the opportunity to say, “Here’s what happened.”

What we have is a baffling case of horses’ tails being cut. However, the article also says, “In a separate twist other horses across Hampshire have been discovered by shocked owners with their mane hair plaited.” Maybe I’m talking crazy, but it’s seems to me some sort of childish pranking would be suspected motive number one; certainly before “strange Pagan ritual” and “rocking horse creators”. That said, I am just glad that for once I read a news story like this and found out that instead of continuing to stumble around in ignorance, the police took the 10 minutes to contact experts for their opinions. And then, they listened.






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