All the fun of the (horse) fair!

It's Appleby Horse Fair week when gypsies from all over the UK, Ireland and northern Europe converge on our small town. A quiet country place becomes more like the Wild West.  Living in an old mill on the river bank we see more of it than anyone else.  It's a wide, tranquil river stretch to wash and run horses in; the weir is a good swimming place and the ford provides a bit of excitement. The ford gets used a lot because horses are banned in town and it becomes the only way to come and go from the road on the other side.  Our driveway is crammed with horse-boxes, the river bank a parking place for gigs and horses. It's difficult to get in and out so we stay in as much as possible.  We see some beautiful horses.  Here's a slide show of some of the highlights, and a bit of the downside.
Breakfast with horses and a friendly Romany.

Our house by mid-morning.
The front Gate
Out of the box and ready to run!

Attitude! And two beautiful horses.

The girls have fun too.

Bareback in the early morning.

3 Brothers escaping downstream! They were faster than their owner.

A river full of horses.
Taking a piss as I clicked the shutter! Beautiful small stallion.
The big and the small under the bridge.

But there is a significant minority of owners who do not treat their animals properly.  We see an increasing amount of cruelty and neglect.  Yesterday we saw a mare tied to our garden fence, panting and exhausted.  She was wearing cuffs to hobble her back  legs and looked in pain.  But one of the 68 RSPCA officers based here was following the horse accompanied by a vet.  There was a long altercation with the young man who owned the horse who kept insisting there was nothing wrong with her despite the fact that she looked about to drop dead.

The scene from our garden. The vet is in green.

 They made him take off the harness and the gig and take her into the river to sluice her with cold water and let her drink.  There was an examination that revealed other problems - sores, a swollen hip joint among other things.  The horse was confiscated by the RSPCA (you can imagine how popular that was) and horse and owner were taken to the police station.

But it's over now for another year and we can all get on with normal life - not to mention being able to get out of the front gate without a police escort!


  1. A wonderful evocation of the horse fair complete with pictures. All through June in our town we see travellers in all kinds of vehicles - some drawn by horses some new high powered trailers .to new vans -;driving through our town. Some keep going, Some park on verges and in laybys for an overnight break, This procession is an annual event. One feels that this has been happening here for hundreds of years. Thank you for reminding me. W

    1. Lovely to hear from you Wendy! Yes, there is an amazing procession to and from the Fair through the north east. the bow-top Vardas are wonderful to look at. Hope everything's going well for you!

    2. I keep an eye on your images and your ideas. Something of a treat.
      I am keeping on keeping on. Just finishes a new novel called BECOMING ALICE. It is the first of three connected short novels and was a joy to write. wx


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