Thursday, March 14, 2019

Belgian Sea Horses!

                Love to fish, love to ride horses?
           Do both at the same time, and end up
                 with a wonderful shrimp dinner.

This is not a new idea but rather a very old one, practiced for centuries by the fishermen of  Oostduinkerke, in West Flanders, Belgium
Image result for belgium fishing on horses

 The horses used are Brabant horses, a regional breed that is large and sturdy (generally around 5’7”, or 16 hands, at the withers), with dense feathering on their lower legs.

      Choosing the right horse is a crucial part of the equation," D’Hulster told the Times. “The first time a horse sees the sea and the waves, you can see it running back. They don’t like it.” 
                           Image result for belgium fishing on horses
   But the right horse is a lifelong companion. “There is such a love story between the horse and the fisherman,”
   Behind them, a 30-foot funnel-shaped net stretches back into the waves. As the horse walks, a chain dragged over the sand creates vibrations—causing the shrimp to jump into the net. 
   Slowly, they go to and fro, walking the length of the flat coastline, as the net fills with shrimp. Once every half hour, they return to the beach: The horse has a few moments to rest as the fisherman empties the net, using wooden sieves to sift through the catch.
Jellyfish, small fish, and other unwanted sea life are jettisoned back into the ocean, while the shrimp are placed into vast baskets dangling by the horse’s sides. Once they have enough, perhaps 20 or 30 pounds of shrimp, they will return home,
                Image result for belgium fishing on horses

Successful fishermen must have discipline and a deep love for the sea, their horse, and their heritage. 

For more details read Natasha Frost's article

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