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Basil, the homesick horse, does a runner

September 29th, 2008, 01:14 AM
Pigeons have it, spawning salmon use it, even bees and misplaced cats do it. The latest animal to display an extraordinary homing instinct is Basil, the Welsh cob.

Lyn Evans, was doing the early morning rounds at his dog kennels in Cilybebyll, near Pontardawe, in south Wales, when he saw the 18-year-old horse back in his old paddock. "It was a bit weird seeing him there because we had tucked him up the night before at the stables," said Mr Evans. He had bought the small horse for his 12-year-old daughter 18 months previously.

Two weeks ago the family re-stabled him in Rhos where Emily could practise her show jumping.

Mr Evans said: "We know he can open the lock with his teeth so we put string on it to stop him but this time he was really determined. "He had managed to slide the paddock door bolt open, jumped over a fence, made his way on to the main road and then come back here, all in the middle of the night.

"Emily's only ridden him home from the stables once, and that was in the day, so how he memorised the route back I just don't know. We are well out of the way."

On his trot back to Tareni Gleision Farm, Basil passed 14 different turn-offs, ignoring all but the right one, crossed a busy carriageway, chose the right direction at a crossroads and then make it back to the farm and into the paddock he shared with three ponies. "Obviously Basil is not a daft horse. But on this occasion he surpassed himself and took a route home in the dark which showed he really knew the way," said Mr Evans.

The bond between Emily and Basil grew after the schoolgirl broke her arm falling the very first time she rode him, he said. "She couldn't ride him for six months after that, but she still tended to him everyday. "They must have bonded during that time. We visited him every day at the stables as well.

"We are going to have to take him back there but this time we will put a padlock on the door. If he doesn't settle down we will bring him back. You can't let him get that unhappy."

A wide variety of animals display homing instincts and use different methods to guide themselves. Pigeons, other birds and bees navigate by the sun, stars and moon. Salmon, on the other hand are thought to be guided by their sense of smell as they work their way back to home waters to spawn. Cats and some other mammals are thought to place themselves with the help of magnetised cells in the brain. These cells act like tiny compasses and help lost animals decide which way is north.

Llinos Spencer, the deputy secretary of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society, said she did not think horses had homing instincts. "Although I have never heard of this type of thing happening before, I am not surprised. "It is marvellous. Basil and Emily must be very loyal to each other. "Basil, it appeared, was guided by his memory and an overwhelming desire to be at home with Emily, Miss Spencer said.

September 29th, 2008, 01:22 AM
With determination like that I think they're gonna hafta stable him at home from now on :D

September 29th, 2008, 09:08 AM
Heck, if they can afford a monthly fee to keep him in a stable, why not just make him a little stable at home and keep him there? :D