From the age of 9 to 21 years I owned a horse or pony.

Even though this is slowly dying out ponies are still used as work horses in Vietnam. Ponies are great as they are strong and normally very eager to work. This guy is having a quick sleep while the boss is away. In 2010 I would only occasionally see a pony on the streets working and mostly when out of town.
Even though this is slowly dying out ponies are still used as work horses in Vietnam. Ponies are great as they are strong and normally very eager to work. This guy is having a quick sleep while the boss is away. In 2010 I would only occasionally see a pony on the streets working and mostly when out of town.
The blue-eyed pony I met one day in Hanoi.
The blue-eyed pony I met one day in Hanoi.

When I saw this white pony on the side of the road I stopped to say hi and photograph it.  I had never seen a blue eyed pony before, and while I was busy patting and talking to it, I noticed he had kicked over his bucket of water.  I grabbed the bucket, turned around and was surprised that I had a small audience of staff outside a restaurant across the road.  I grabbed the bucket and took it over to get some water.

Some restaurants have horse on their menu, this is one of them !! As a horse lover this is quite hard to take, these things are a real culture shock for me.
Some restaurants have horse on their menu, this is one of them !! As a horse lover this is quite hard to take, these things are a real culture shock for me.

The guy kindly put some water in the bucket, but not much.  I thought to myself I would give the pony some water and then go back and get more.  When I did the guy said ‘No’, so I innocently asked why??  He said something that I didn’t understand, so he did the whole body language thing, like making a cut across his neck and down the middle of himself.  What he meant was they were going to kill the pony.  I was in shock, so I quickly rang my researcher and asked, she said ‘Yes of course we eat horse meat !! legs are the best’.

When I got home that night and told my husband, he was very surprised I hadn’t brought it home and parked it up out front. Culture shock really slapped me around that day, but I have recovered and now accept that even though my experience involved loving and caring for a pony, others have different experience.

Guy riding a pony not sure where this guy is going but he was on Thang Long Bridge, Hanoi going over the Red River on the way out to the airport.
Guy riding a pony not sure where this guy is going but he was on Thang Long Bridge, Hanoi going over the Red River on the way out to the airport.

Traditionally horse meat has been a significant meat in some cultures, as a great source of protein and was common in Central Asia, Europe and South America.  Horse meat is still eaten by many people and in 2005 according to the Animal Welfare Council, 4.7 million animals were killed for their meat.  The countries of consumption were China, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Argentina, Italy, Brazil and Kyrgyzstan.

This proves to me that just because something isn’t in my world doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist !!