Horse people rally to defend winning picture and photobombing mare

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Betty gets in on a prizewinning picture with David Bellis and his son, Jacob.
Betty gets in on a prizewinning picture with David Bellis and his son, Jacob.

Horse owners in Britain have rallied to show the world they’re “not the same” after a social media storm involving a photobombing horse in a prizewinning photograph.

David Bellis was walking on a public path near their home in Prestatyn, Wales, with his three-year-old son, Jacob, when he took a “selfie” photo in front of a horse. At the moment the shutter clicked, the horse, named Betty, hammed it up for the camera with a flehman response – showing her teeth in a big smile.

Bellis entered the picture in a “Made Me Smile” competition from Thomson Holidays, and won a £2000 trip.

But after the winning picture was published, the owners of the horse spat the dummy and vented to the media about the picture of Betty being used without their permission. “He should have asked for our consent,” Nicola Mitchell said, apparently unaware of the law which says permission is not required when a picture is taken in a public place.

Mitchell is also reported as saying that she believed Betty did not give her consent to having the picture taken, and neither did she, or her daughter, for whom he had bought the horse. She also said that her daughter had “taught” Betty to curl her lip up.

Horse owners around the world have jumped on the story like an eventer to a cross-country course, with overwhelming support for the Bellis family.

Online commenter “MisterPeterson” noted drily: “While it’s not in the picture, I think we’ve clearly seen the horse’s ass.”

A fundraising page on JustGiving has been set up by Katrina Shaw to raise £1000 spending money for the Bellis family on their trip, and at the time of writing just over £1200 had been raised. The page is simply titled “We’re raising £1000 to give David Bellis and family spending money because all horse owners [are] not the same”.

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