A Guinness-loving miniature pony was ‘devastated’ after coronavirus led to the cancellation of his boozy birthday party at the local pub – so he held an impromptu celebration with a can outside.
Around 100 people were scheduled to attend a village pub to mark the second birthday of the stout-loving Shetland on St Patrick’s Day.
But the four-hoofed drinker, aptly named Patrick as he was born on March 17, was kept away by his owners after Boris Johnson warned against mass gatherings in pubs.
Instead, Patrick held a small party for close family in a yard close to the Drum inn – but was still able to enjoy several sips of his favourite tipple.
His owner Kirk Petrakis said it was disappointing for the crowds – and Patrick – but said he had to put safety first.
He added: “Boris Johnson had said the night before for people to be careful. The original plan was to have it in the pub and it was all decorated for St Patrick’s Day with flags made for him.
“Patrick had a few presents from local suppliers who wanted to wish him a happy birthday and the pub was expecting about 100 people specially for his celebration.
“But when Boris said what he said we thought it was best to be safe rather than go ahead with Patrick’s birthday inside with a large gathering.
“People were very disappointed and so was Patrick, but they understood why. We did it in the yard which is just a short distance away from the pub.
“He had a couple of sips of Guinness and then dived into his birthday cake. And then had a couple more sips of Guinness to wash it down.
“We had to pour a can into a plastic beaker for him and it was just a small family gathering in the end.”
Kirk, 42, said Patrick has become something of a celebrity since a story about his daily trips to the boozer emerged.
Patrick is a regular sight standing calmly at the bar and even has a carrot as his pub snack of choice.
He has become such a familiar face in the village pub at Cockington, Devon, that This Morning sent presenter Alison Hammond down for his birthday party.
He even received a birthday card from Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby – while ordinary members of the public travelled up to 300 miles to meet him.
Kirk added: “We had to take it into the stable yard but it still went ahead on a smaller scale and we got some fantastic photos.
“We had a birthday card off Phillip Schofield and Holly from this morning and it went really well.
“A lady had travelled 300 miles to see him on his birthday. She saw him on the news and just fell in love with him. He brings a smile to everyone’s faces at such a hard time.
“We heard about her and got Patrick out into the yard so she could meet him before she left.
“That is the effect he has on people and my goal is he will eventually act as therapy and visit schools and hospitals.
“We are taking a lot of pictures of Patrick and putting on social media – people just melt to it. He has become a celebrity.”
Kirk has looked after Patrick for about three months and said as soon as they got him they took him around Cockington and initially went into the local tea room with him.
He added: “Now we take him daily into the Drum Inn. It is all part of his training to get him to de-sensitise to all the sounds in a busy pub atmosphere – but he absolutely loves it there.
“He is doing extremely well. People can not believe their eyes when they see a horse in the pub.
Patrick is owned by Kirk and his wife Hannah, 36, who run K&H Cockington Carriages. The couple have three children who ‘adore’ their pony pal.
He added: “It is not your usual sight down the local. It is a bit of fun for everyone and Patrick enjoys it too. People want to come and cuddle him. Some drinkers do wonder though if the beer they are drinking is a bit too strong.
Patrick now has his own social media pages. For more on Patrick’s exploits visit https://www.celebritypony.co.uk