Gypsies on the town

June, time of the year for the Appleby Horse Fair. THE place to be for horse/gypsie lovers. One of the few days that I get out of bed in the middle of the night to gather camera gear and speed up the A66 towards Cumbria.
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We arrive early, not even 8 in the morning, when parking is still available, figuring out when, how and what/where will be the best spot for most of the action.

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We being my shooting buddy Cornflake and yours truly.

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Changing of foot wear is in order. The goal is to get some close up shots standing in the river, wellies can’t be beaten.

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Never mind that my feet by the middle of the day will be overheating and might be wet anyway. It’s how it goes. Life at the horse fair is simple.
Make wet or get wet.

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We do have a problem though… Definitely not the gypsies. It’s the river. Indeed. The otherwise calm and half empty river is now a fast flowing, half a meter higher then normal brown pulling force. Possibly a danger for riders and horses alike.

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I mean REALLY FAST FLOWING… All the rain we have gotten over the last few weeks has resulted in the Eden thinking she is the mighty Colorado.

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We find out the bad news when we turn the bridge head to go to the normal washing place. A lot of yellow, RSPCA is strongly present. While I am normally on their side, or I should say on the horses’ side, today I am baffled.

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A group of 50 horses ready to be washed before the trading starts is now encountering a closed ramp, and no horses nor people are allowed in the river.

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I do see that the river is high, and that the current might be strong, but I truly doubt it that a 1000 kg horse will be dragged along…
It’s England’s HEALTH AND SAFETY rule popping it’s ugly head.

And we are talking gypsies… Some of the vendors have worked a whole year and are counting on the Appleby Fair to trade their horses, and in order to trade horses the beasts have to be dishwasher clean.

The best place to get them dishwasher clean is obviously the river.

I am kind of wondering what the RSPCA is thinking. Really? Truly? You guys closed off the river completely? Even the spot close to the ramp and bank, where it is only half a meter of water? I can see that the middle of the river would be out of the game, a simple soul knows that the deeper part of the stream is a no go today.

And we are talking gypsies. If they can’t go in the river in Appleby, they will go find a place up or down stream without RSPCA presence, wash their horses there, and drowning might be an option for man and beast because there might be no ramp and no help available should something go wrong.

And that is exactly what happens. The group of 50 leaves town to another spot they know, where the horses can be washed.

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The RSPCA might have a revolt on their hands.

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It’s still early, besides the huge horse herd only a few single carriages appear, being sent back to the Field, without their horse getting washed.
The day is young, what will happen when the crowds come, when the youngsters appear to show off their horse riding skills in front of the public watching from the banks… It probably will be an interesting day!

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The story is being written. Let the beautiful horses gallup…
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Let the beautiful girls appear in their own gypsy fashionista styles.
Another year of Appleby Horse Fair ahead of me! Woohzee…

Let de games begin!

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5 Comments

  1. Pam
    10 Jun ’12

    Did I tell you that I watched a show on tv call My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding? It was shot around Appleby and it was so neat recognizing the places on the show because of your photos.

  2. Peter Elven
    10 Jun ’12

    I have looked forward to you posting from this event, always great pictures .

  3. Roberta Laliberte
    10 Jun ’12

    Whaaaaaaa! OMG! I love this. I just recently found that show My big fat gypsy wedding and I am totally addicted! I have been watching old episodes on youtube catching up. I love seeing this it is so amazing that I actually “know” someone who was at the Appleby Horse Festival! Tres coooool!

    Great pics chickie.

  4. Susan DeSisto
    10 Jun ’12

    It’s Appleby time again already!!! :) With politics included again, as usual, lol! Looking forward to some great photos and you are off to a great start. BUT…….one must have dishwasher clean horses!!! Will be interesting to see what happens. Hope there are no accidents due to the gypsies not being able to access the river in Appleby.

  5. Mollie
    12 Jun ’12

    I love where the gal in white keeps her phone. Can’t wait to see what happened next!!

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