Belgium Horse Fishing
 By Winniefield Park   •   14th Nov 2016   •   1,097 views   •   0 comments

Iíve ridden horses, and Iíve spent some time fishing. Fishing is an okay way to spend some time, although I tend to have a book in one hand and the fishing rod in the other. Or in the rod holder, so that second hand is free for snack holding. Truth is, Iíve let my fishing license lapse. Iíd rather go riding. But what about combining the two activities? Can you fish on horseback? Turns out, you can, and itís not about using horses for packing in your fishing gear to a remote river in search of the trophy largemouth rainbow cod.

About 500 hundred years ago, an enterprising fisherman discovered that fishing for shrimp from the back of a horse was more efficient than doing so from a boat. Along the coast of Belgium, it was a common sight to see horses and riders dragging the sea bottom, waking up the shrimp and netting them as they tried to escape. The shrimp once caught, were used as fertilizer on the fields near the ocean shore. But today they are steamed and served as a fresh-caught seafood treat for tourists as a few remaining horse fisherman demonstrate their trade.

Originally, shrimping was been done from the back of a mule or donkey. But the use of larger nets means now, draft horses are used. Brabants, a breed developed in Belgium still pull the nets and carry in the catch for these last horse fishermen. These few hold-outs from an earlier time are now a popular tourist attraction. Oostduinkerke is the world's only coastal area where shrimp fishing on horseback still exists. But, at one time, this method of shrimping was done all along the North Sea, where the shallow beaches allowed access.

The bond between horse and fishermen is strong. Horses must be trained to enter the water fearlessly and pull the nets through the waves. The fishermen must not only be careful horsemen, they must also understand the ocean and its rhythms.

Dressed in the traditional oilskin slickers, rubber boots, and floppy souíwester hats, fisherman drive their horses pulling carts down onto the beach. Along with harness, the horses wear an uncomfortable looking wooden saddle with more frame than padding. The carts are left on the beach and nets are attached to the harness. Shrimping must be done at low tide, so in the pre-dawn darkness, the riders climb aboard the broad backs of their horses and head into the surf. The stocky Brabants have no problem walking chest deep in the constantly washing waves. They trawl back and forth parallel to the shoreline, the horses pulling the nets and balancing the large woven hampers used to collect the shrimp. When the load becomes heavy, they head back to shore to sort their catch.

Salty ocean water, coarse sand and cold sound unhealthy for a horse, but care is taken not to overwork these horses. Shrimping is done every other day. On fishing days after about two hours of work, the horses pull their loads off the beach and their work is done. Because the place where the few horse fishermen demonstrate their skill is now a busy tourist area, their actions are scrutinized and horses must be loaded in trailers to complete their journey home.

Some of todayís fishermen learned their trade later in life, others were captured by the allure of it as children. But many have generations of horse fishermen behind them. And, today's fishermen, are not all men. Working with her husband, one woman proudly calls herself the first female fishermen.

Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
 More News by Winniefield Park
Thoroughbred and Canadian Warmblood Top Jumpers on PonyBox
28th Feb 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Two breeds are currently holding the highest jump records on PonyBox. The Thoroughbred and Canadian Warmblood's are taking the top spots with vengeance and appear unstoppable. ...
Teen Rescues Girls from Pond After Horse Alerts of Danger
27th Feb 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Oliver normally enjoys being groomed by his young owner, but when she noticed Oliver getting restless she wondered at his was unusual behavior. It wasnít until that she noticed some neighbor kids playing on a frozen pond that she ...
PonyBox Highest Earners
21st Feb 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Itís no surprise that the top-winning mare and stallion are also Ponyboxís highest earners. Or, that the highest-winning stable also produces many of the most successful jumpers. Here is a look at the outstanding earners on Ponybo ...
Hard to Watch as Man Jumps into Horse Race Final Stretch
20th Feb 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Lots of sports fans pay top dollar to buy seats that put them almost in the middle of the action. But this race fan took getting into the action a little too seriously. It was a lot of risk for an experience that lasted a moment. ...
The Horses of the Shetland Islands
15th Feb 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Take a quick armchair trip to see pastoral landscapes, otter crossings and adorable, furry Shetland ponies! This travel video highlights some of the sights on the archipelago that makes up the Shetland Islands. This is the native ...
PonyBox February Top Spots
14th Feb 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
As we reach the middle of February 2021 these horses are holding the top spots. A rare breed is making an appearance in the ranks of Best Jump while Friesians are holding many of the top spots in the ranks. ...
Cat Jumps on Horses back Video
11th Feb 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Where do you go when your feet get cold. This foolish kitty decided to sink its toes into the plush coat of an equine pal. Or perhaps pal isnít the right word. Itís quite possible kitty has a future in rodeo. Now, all we need is k ...
Actor Horse Ride Training For Netflix Series Bridgerton
9th Feb 2021   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Bridgerton is one of the newest Netflix series feeding our binge-watching needs. Set in Regency-era England you know that the characters wonít be jumping and smart cars to get around to their various teas, balls and romantic assig ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
©2002 - 2021   PonyBox LLC Create Account Advertise Terms Privacy Contact Us
193 Members Online 270,120 Registered Members 2,850 News Articles 12,165,616 Unique News Article Views 291,763,017 Website Views