Of Horse

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No Horsing Around For MacDonalds!
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No Horsing Around For MacDonalds!

In the wake of the recent scandal where horse meat was found in products sold by several big name UK supermarkets, MacDonald's has today found itself embroiled in controversy involving horses. This time however, it wasn't the burgers that contained the horse but the restaurant itself!

A girl and her friend were out for a hack through the outskirts of Manchester when they decided to stop for a spot of lunch. The golden arches beckoned and the pair queued with motorists at the MacDonald's drive-through in Whitefield, Greater Manchester. Upon reaching the service window however, staff refused to serve them and informed the un-named duo that they were not allowed to bring horses to the service area for "health and safety" reasons. The riders were somewhat taken aback as there have been many well-documented occasions when horse drawn vehicles and mounted riders have been served at MacDonald's.

Unimpressed by the attitude of staff and nonplussed by the rebuttal, one of the riders (who has not yet been named), dismounted, led her horse inside the restaurant and joined the queue at the service counter much to the amusement of other diners and staff. Unfortunately, the horse was clearly somewhat upset by the whole experience and proceeded to deposit a large pile of droppings on the floor! Horrified staff then asked the woman to leave and when she refused to do so, the police were called.

A spokeswoman for MacDonald's said: "The incident caused distress to customers and disruption for the restaurant, and the police issued the woman with a fixed penalty notice."

When asked why the riders were refused service at the drive-through, the spokeswoman added: "The health and safety of our customers and staff is our top priority, and for this reason we are unable to serve pedestrians, bicycle riders or customers on horseback through the drive-thru."

Also commenting on the incident, Greater Manchester Police said: "The sight and smell of this caused obvious distress and upset to customers trying to eat, as well as staff members. Officers arrived at the location and the woman was issued [with] a fixed penalty notice for causing alarm and distress to other customers and staff."

Is this health and safety gone mad? Surely there's no harm in serving a rider in the drive-through? Over the years I've ridden with friends to pubs many times, sat outside in the garden and enjoyed a refreshing drink on a summer's day. No-one refused to serve us. No other customers complained and in fact plenty of people wanted to stroke the horses and chat to us. I've queued at ice cream vans whilst on my horse too with no problem. In fact, one lady actually bought my horse his own ice cream on one occasion!

Perhaps it's a city thing. I live in the countryside and horses are an everyday sight around the lanes here and indeed in the car-park of the local pub and outside our village Co-Op convenience store. Folk are more likely to offer to hold your horse for you than to complain to the local constabulary. All the same, next time I fancy a MacDonalds, I think I'll take the car and leave the horse at home!

I hope you enjoyed my article. Please do comment, especially if you've had a similar experience, and don't forget to vote if you like it.

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  1. PonyGirl
    Interesting and thought provoking post. I've seen pictures of riders and people in horse drawn wagons being served in drive throughs here in the US. However, I think the rider was pretty dumb (and obnoxious) to bring her horse inside the restaurant. It was very discourteous to the other people in the restaurant. No one wants to eat while smelling excrement. It would be the same thing if someone brought a dog in who "left a deposit." The only animals allowed in places of business (besides the vet's) are guide animals. Bringing a horse into the restaurant was also very dangerous. A horse in a small, unfamiliar, enclosed space surrounded by people who know nothing about horses is a recipe for disaster. The rider is very lucky the horse did not destroy any property or injure anyone. The fact that the drive through did not serve pedestrians or bicycle riders either, makes me think that this may be a requirement of their liability insurance. In that case, McDonald's would not even be responsible for making the rules. I think the whole thing was just bad attitude and bad behavior on the rider's part. Since there were 2 riders, it would have been the easiest thing in the world for one girl to hold both horses while the other one went in and ordered. There was certainly no need for all this drama.
    1. autumnap
      Thank you. Yes, I couldn't understand why the older girl didn't hold the horses while the other one went in for the food. I guess on the insurance front, if a horse took fright and reversed into a car in the carpark area or drive thru there would be all sorts of hassles to follow. x
  2. Rene Wright
    Rene Wright
    Voted. I can understand the person taking their horse into the restaurant to a point. I think if I were in her shoes, I might have done the same thing. Though she could have just as easily handed her horse to the other rider to hold then go in and get their food. I have seen many news photos of folks riding through the drive thru on horseback without any problems. It's those few "franchised" one's that seem to have an issue with it. The one's in the restaurants that have an issue with animals in general are more than likely so stuck up if it rained they'd drown. I have had an occasion to ride up to a pedestrian walk up window and order, pay for and get my food through that same window without getting on the ground. Most of the people stop to pet my horse and chat away happily. If my horse ever left a "tip" then I'd get down and brush it off into the gutter. lol
    1. autumnap
      Thank you kindly! x
  3. Chestnut Mare
    Chestnut Mare
    Voted. Great blog. I remember hearing something about this in the news. Ridiculous not to serve someone on horseback at the drive-thru, eh? But she shouldn't have taken the horse inside - she clearly only did it to make a point! One thing that really gets me down is H and S in Britain nowadays, so I can understand why she did it though! You might be interested in my latest blog here, Heat-Stricken Horses Need Our Help! Please check it out if you get a chance.
    1. autumnap
      Thank you ... off to check out your post ...! x

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