Police warn horse owners over Blidworth mystery mane plaits
POLICE have been left baffled by a series of mysterious plaits found in the manes of horses and ponies in fields near a Notts village.
Officers are investigating after one of the plaits was found in the hair of a pony in a field near Blidworth.
The owner reported it to police believing it had been woven to identify it for someone to return and steal.
But officers say the reason for the plait is still not clear.
One farmer in the area said it was just the latest in a long history of the strange practice appearing in the area.
Dennis Stocks, who runs H Stocks and Son, in Blidworth Lane, south of the village, said: "I've not seen anything on our horses in the last couple of months, but I've seen it in the past.
"We've had all sorts of theories about it.
"We've got a couple of horses with really long manes that have ended up with a part that is plaited and sometimes there will be grass woven in to it. It's got to be man-made."
Following the most recent incident, police issued an internet neighbourhood alert to people in the area.
"Although there is no evidence to confirm that ponies are marked before being stolen, all horse owners are urged to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to the police," the statement says.
There have been no other incidents since and no horses have been reported stolen.
Mr Stocks said mysterious plaits had appeared in the mane of one of his 11-year-old horses for years.
He said: "It's very weird. I was told it was a ritual and perhaps gypsies or Pagans were doing it."
In 2009, police in Dorset were also baffled by a series of plaits in horses' manes.
In an effort to solve the mystery, officers consulted a warlock, who said it could be part of a white magic ritual.
Practising Pagan Dave Dominic, of Hucknall, said he thought the ritual was not linked to Paganism – a group of religions said to pre-date Christianity.
He said: "It's no Pagan practice that I know of. Pagans are taught to respect all forms of life.
"But it is a strange one and a new one on me. I don't see any reason for a Pagan to do that."
Police asked anyone with information about the activity to contact them on 101.