Thursday, 28 October 2010

A strange sort of day . . .

Well, today did not turn out at all like I expected it to. As it was the last Thursday of the month, the horse sale was on at Llanybydder. I decided I would check it out, and have my first run in T's boyfriend's car, which is to be the spare here, and which OH will accompany J out in for driving practice. It is an elderly Peugeot, and drives rather like a tank, but once you get used to the slow responses of brakes and accelerator, it's not too bad to drive.

I had a wander round the tack section and marked down a couple of things which took my interest, though mainly for value rather than bidding on. Then I had a stroll around the horses. It was packed out - pens full of tiny Shetland yearlings and foals, probably hot-foot from another auction; the same again with unhandled coloured cob foals; a few donkeys chucked in for good measure. Plenty of nice Section D Welsh foals/yearlings/2 yr olds too. Some of these were smart for the show which accompanied the sale. There were the usual riding horses and ponies, some so nice you wonder what they are doing at the sale in the first place? A distressed sale, or something dodgy about them healthwise or with their behaviour. I didn't buy a catalogue, but the terms "sold as seen" and "not novice ride" cover a lot of sins, as "has been known to buck" from which you may deduce even the rodeo turned it down!

I fell into conversation with a lady of about my own age, we were rather thrown together as some idiot had just loosed 3 or 4 completely unhandled youngsters with no idea of which pen they were going in and they damn near flattened the folks who were wandering down the centre aisle of the holding pens. I've never seen folk move so fast and I don't blame them as these wild colts just belted into the crowd! It was just as well there were no pushchairs in sight, as it was half-term and people often bring their children.

Anyway, it turns out that Karen was a representative for Equine Market Watch, a charity I already know about. She was there to check on conditions and was horrified at some of the things she had seen. She had already been offered puppies for sale (illegal) and someone had brought along a crate of kittens - "pedigree" ones - to sell (also illegal). Poor things, we looked later when it had started raining and the poor wee things were huddled in a corner which had a couple of cardboard boxes laid across it and a scarf across the back. I didn't DARE to go near . . .

For once I hadn't brought my camera, but Karen took plenty of photos. We had both seen a spotted mare and her coloured foal put through the ring and fetch good prices - as seperate lots. Which meant that the foal would be instantly weaned today when it went to its new owner - also illegal. There was no RSPCA presence that we could see. I haven't seen any for months either. Whilst many of the ponies had haynets and quite a few had bedding, I only saw one or two with water (essential if you are eating hay and much-needed after travelling too).

We also had an interesting conversation with another charity who wanted volunteers to help unpaid carers in the community. I have had plenty of experience with this myself, with caring for my mum for the past 6 or 7 years of her life. I know how difficult it is for these people so I am planning to give a little of my time to help carers in my area. They even have a knitting group - no wonderful skills needed, just knitting squares, so I dare say I can manage a few hours knitting a week as well.

Karen and I are going to keep in touch and meet up next month. I have a single sized patchwork quilt I made last year for EMW to raffle, so I want to hand that over. There is also another larger one which is destined to go to Lluest Horse and Pony Trust, another local horse charity. This should have gone to them last year, but we have had quite a year of things one way and another and it is still waiting in my wardrobe. Members of Creative Living forum supplied the pieced squares for that and I just sewed it together and provided the battting and lining.

When I got home, there was trouble in paradise. A stray ginger (tom almost certainly) cat had turned up in the paddock. We saw him walking up our main valley earlier in the week and I was praying he wouldn't come this way. I have wanted another ginger cat to replace my darling Bumble who went off hunting 20 years ago and never returned. I am trying to harden my heart, as we have the three boys here, and another tom spells TROUBLE.


  1. I look forward to hearing all about your voluntary work, I have been offered a role assisting learning disabled adults working at an animal sanctuary.
    I was wondering, is it still possible to buy a horse at auction with a warranty? There used to be a warranty which the seller could enter into, to enable you to have the horse on trial for a few days.

  2. Well, you have the usual "vices" coverage which include windsucking, crib-biting, shivers etc, but the rest is "buyer beware". The devil is in the detail . . .

    Enjoy your role assisting the learning disabled adults at the animal sanctuary. I am sure it will be very rewarding. I am thinking about volunteering for a Riding for the Disabled Group too . . .

  3. I think there were some depressing aspects of this day out--I'm never resigned to the callousness with which animals are so often treated.
    Re the Peugot: J. had a rather vintage one for awhile years ago. It was a 5-speed, handled well and was comfortable to drive, but had a nasty something wrong in the electrical systems that kept the battery going dead. J. could never pinpoint the problem and eventually retired it to the local salvage yard.