Thursday 7 June 2018

You CAN lead a horse to water.

Thousands arrived for Europe's biggest gipsy gathering on Wednesday, after days of travelling that saw comically long tailbacks caused by unhurried travellers transporting their horse and carts to the famous Appleby Horse Fair.

Men, women, children and above all horses arrived in the Cumbrian town of Appleby-in-Westmorland, ahead of the fair which is an opportunity for travellers to showcase their wares and swap notes about life on the road. 

The fair usually welcomes some 10,000 gipsies and travellers as well as 20,000 other people for three days of trade, competition and festivities.

Dating back to 1775 (though travellers say it goes back further), the event first became a major date on the gipsy calendar in the 1900's, where bare knuckle boxing and horse sales, along with an opportunity to mingle with a who's who of the gipsy community, saw thousands from the UK, Ireland and further afield descend on to Appleby.

One traditional that was stopped last year due to bad weather made it's return this year, as horses took a dip in the River Eden in order to cool off.

The ritual began in the 17th century as a way of washing the horses and making them more presentable for potential buyers.  

This year, 31 RSPCA officers have been deployed are in attendance alongside representatives from various equine charities.  


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