This is 'Patch' a twenty nine year old pit pony at a drift mine in Neath Abbey. When he was pulled to a halt by the collier in charge of the dram, he just trembled continually and didn't stop shaking until he started to move off again.
I walked with a mining engineer into this drift mine a long way or so it seemed.
The pit-props were made of wood and the miners worked in old fashioned 'Stalls'.
While I was photographing them, there was a shout 'duck boyo'. A few seconds later there was a dull thump from an explosion and chunks of coal flew over my head. A coal face around the corner had just been fired with dynamite.
A few minutes later I heard the rumble of dram wheels and through the dust I could make out the shape of the pony who slowed down as he came towards me.
Patch stopped, as the miners in the stall near me poured cups of tea from flasks.The old pony leaned over and gently took a proffered sandwich from a miners hand.
This apparently was a daily occurrence and the old pony would not pass this point without his snack.
The miners were very fond of him and he was certainly fond of them.
I never went back to that drift mine. I don't know how long Patch lived.
I am sure though that his spirit still walks the dram rails, even if the drift mine no longer exists.