Last Friday I visited Appleby Horse Fair for the first time. I was not entirely sure what I was expecting to find at the Fair having only ever read newspaper reports, which are often purposefully negative. I wanted to see the horses and get a glimpse of the festivities of a culture i know little about.
For this trip I was travelling on the back of my Dad's Motorhorse. After a rather uncomfortable ninety minutes sat pillion we arrived at Appleby.
The first thing to say about Appleby Horse Fair is that I was amazed at the conditioning and quality of so many of the horses. With Cobs a plenty the striking Paints were almost all looking exceptionally healthy and happy.
Down by the river Eden the skilled horseman rode bare back and free, enjoying the gaze of the many Travellers and tourists watching from the banks.
I have attended many Clinics and Shows and been able to view and learn to understand the importance of the relationship between horse and owner and how this is the most important aspect in learning to work together. I have learnt a little about dressage and plenty about natural horsemanship. The Gypsie and Travellers were certainly showing
their horses this fine day.
One of the things i really enjoyed seeing was the horses being bathed and the gentleness with which they were washed down.
The main attraction of Appleby is perhaps seeing the horses swimming. Guided down the ramp to the river the horses i saw would usually just walk in to the water.
Once in the water the fun would begin and the many Gypsies and Travellers riding there cobs would be the focus of many a camera. Some of the photographers even got into the water to involve themselves in every photograph. Congrats guys, you must be the most photographed photographers ever.
There was much to see on the roads too as the Gypsy Cob Drivers were out in force.
And then there were the miniatures. This chap little one was particularly adorable.
From what I saw at Appleby it is a fun and festive gathering of a community. Whilst I was only around for a few hours I sensed a great atmosphere and was greeted regularly by the friendly folk i saw.
I would highly recommend anyone visits this traditional gathering of the Gypsy and Traveller communities.
You can view the complete gallery from Friday by visiting http://horseplayphotography.co.uk/Galleries/Events/Appleby-Horse-Fair/