Sunday, 8 June 2014

Horses in my garden - Appleby Fair

All week the riverbank has been full of horses - and a few human beings! It's Appleby Horse Fair - the biggest Gypsy gathering in Europe.  The Mill is on the riverbank and it's traditional for the gypsies to bring the horses down here to wash them before the trading/racing/trotting starts every day.   This peaceful place suddenly becomes like the wild west!  This year it's been very busy because the town council and the police have put restrictions on the section of the river they usually use in town and so more people and horses have moved up here.


Some of the individual horses are very beautiful.


They take the trotting horses into the river to strengthen their legs.

We've witnessed a great deal of animal cruelty over the years and the RSPCA are a constant presence. This year a foal was abandoned, lame, with a sore mouth, and had to be rescued.    I saw the tailgate of a horse trailer being slammed against a young stallion who was kicking up because he was frightened - and there are lots of other brutalities.  Sadly the horses are a commodity and there are some who treat them like that. Trotting horses and breeding horses fetch a high price, but many of the rest go for pet food. There isn't the market for horses that there used to be.


This has been a lively week! Just getting out of our driveway has been challenging, and I've had to fence off my flowerbeds, but in a couple of days they'll be gone, the council will send people to clean up the rubbish that's being generated, and we'll have the riverbank to ourselves again.  The horse fair has been going for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years here, and I love the horses and the feeling of tradition, but much of what comes with the Fair (like the cruelty and the refuse)  isn't easy to tolerate, so - like most people in the town - I'm very ambivalent about it. 

3 comments:

  1. The Daily Fail have done their usual magnificent job of objective unbiased reportage!!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2655026/Overflowing-skips-bags-litter-abandoned-furniture-broken-loos-Thousands-travellers-decamp-Appleby-THIS-mess-left-behind.html

    Happy clean-up!!

    John

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. I have been going to Appleby Fair for about 7 year
    During this time I have noticed there are not many rubbish bins about
    There are a few in town but not many else where
    The council complain about the rubbish left behind after the fair
    But what are people expected to do with there rubbish ??
    I suggest they put lots more rubbish bin about & maybe skips in the big fields & the market fields
    Kind regards
    Silver XXX

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