Mark gets 'fair' deal on new family pet


HAVE you heard the one about a wet afternoon at The Auld Lammas Fair, one pint too many and a horse dealer that's had a bad day....?

Local man Mark Herald has, in fact it could have been written about him, well, him and his recently acquired horse, five-year-old Arthur!

Speaking to The Chronicle, Mark paints the picture of how the two and a half foot high horse came into his life and how his garden will never be the same again!

Mark explained: “It was the Monday of the Lammas Fair and in the afternoon I ended up in a pub having a couple of pints.

“The man beside me was a horse dealer and he was having a bad days trading... we got chatting, as you do, and within an hour I was heading towards home with my new horse...”

It's a story that pulls at the heart strings as Mark seemed to fall for 'Arthur' right away, with his shabby look, his wee harsh cough and weepy eyes.

So where did the name Arthur come from? Given that the wee horse was dealt on in the pub, it makes sense that his name is attributed to Arthur Guinness – doesn't it?

Mark added: “I felt sorry for him, and with his colouring he looks like a half-pint of Guinness, so Arthur just stuck! I put him in the back garden and sat down to try and figure out how I would tell my wife we had a new pet. She was away visiting her parents at the time, but thankfully she took to Arthur upon her return and she gave him a good grooming.”

What do you do when you've brought home a horse that's part falabella (one of the smallest breeds in the world)? That's easy – you build him a small wooden stable in the back yard and introduce him to his sister, one-year-old Molly, a Golden Retriever!

A visit to the vet showed Mark that Arthur was a healthy little horse, albeit on the heavy side after a summer of grazing.

Mark said: “He needs to lose weight so he has half of a day in a field with other horses to graze and then home where we can watch his diet, hence the regular walks through Ann Street.”

Though it seems Arthur - who turned out to be the most expensive pint Mark has ever drank – has landed firmly on his four hooves with the Heralds, with the lawn grass for dinner, then the flowers for dessert...but they wouldn't change him for the world.

Mark quipped: “For only £99 where would you get a lawn mower like him? He's eco-friendly and even produces good fertilizer!”

Speaking of the attention he receives when out walking Arthur, Mark said: “We've never been able to walk through the town without Arthur gathering a crowd. People stop to pat him and he's always getting his photograph taken. I've no problem when walking him on his lead, he walks better than most dogs and you can often find us on the beach having a stroll. Arthur is an extremely friendly little horse, although he doesn't feel he belongs outside.

“He has been known to try and get into the house – and he has been known to succeed! Nothing scares Arthur, he doesn't spook at loud noises, cars, buses or lorries, even when dogs bark at him on our walks he just plods on.”

It seems Arthur hit it lucky that day at the Lammas Fair, but from chatting to Mark, it's clear the feeling is extremely mutual!

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The scene of the last serious accident at the Gracehill Rd/ Bregagh Road junction on May 21. WK2250-K-MY.