Konik ponies are the latest management strategy adopted for the reserve. This breed has its origins in Poland and has been selected due to their hardy and robust form and their specialist adaptations to feeding on wetland vegetation.
These horses are used on many other conservation projects throughout the UK including other RSPB reserves such as Loch of Strathbeg. The four individuals now present at Loch Kinnordy were brought here from Ireland in early April. It is hoped their grazing of vegetation at the West end of the reserve will prohibit the regeneration of willow scrub and help maintain the habitat to suit nesting and feeding waders such as Snipe, Lapwing, Oystercatcher and Redshank.
Since their arrival they seem to have settled well and can be seen in the newly fenced area to the west of the reserve, near the highland cattle. They have names too – Harry, Paddy, Ted and Wex. They are very sociable and have a strong herd instinct, so never venture far from one another.
Because they are so well suited to living in these harsh environments and adapted to surviving on poor quality vegetation they require the most minimal of intervention from people. So virtually no extra feed is provided – they take care of themselves. They are also remarkably hardy and can heal from many wounds without need of a vets care.
While they are friendly and approachable, these are semi – wild horses and are not used to much human contact, we would ask that you do not attempt to pet or feed them as they are easily frightened and could become ill if fed inappropriately. In the future it is possible that other individuals may be introduced and create a small grazing herd.
Mark Wood -Resi - vol-