Last month we took a trip over to Ballinasloe Horse Fair in Ireland, quite a shock to the system, there were hundreds of horses, some mares with foals at foot, some stallions, all ages some ridden some in hand and some almost in hand!
My arm was just out of plaster so Lynn did most of the driving, and on Sunday morning we arrived in search of a new horse. I was looking for a youngster about 16 hands, what did I come home with? A registered Connemara pony, standing all of 14’2 and at 5 he has already tried his hoof out hunting.
He was a really lucky find, we were making our way out of the showground heading back to the hotel on the second day, for night sleep before we would head home horseless when Rocky stood in our path. I’ve always had a soft spot for Connemara’s; they have such great temperaments and neat, compact power. The look he gave me made me stop and pay attention to him.
His breeder had brought 3 , a flashy sharp 4 year old, a lovely 2 year old and Rocky ,a beautiful, sturdy, gentle 5 year old with a very expressive eye and from somewhere deep inside a definite twinkle and sense of fun. How could I resist? Truth be told I couldn’t, that maybe why my husband was really not keen that I went in the first place.
Anyway, Rocky stood in front of me, taking in all that was going on, keeping out of harms way, and avoiding being kicked but not shy, nor frightened, just quietly there. The customs of buying at the fair involved an intermediary who trotted Rocky up for us, and later played a part in the price negotiation.
Amongst all the other horses it was almost impossible to really see how he moved so we headed for the road where he was run up again, past other horses, between cars, horseboxes and general town traffic, chaos and interesting.
Luckily he moved as good as he looked, really strong and straight, with that done, a price was agreed, higher than I would have liked, lower than I had been asked, the cash was handed over and the pony and its passport were passed to me.
We had planned a night in the hotel before heading back but a quick phone call to the Ferry company changed all that and within half an hour we had loaded Rocky on the trailer, packed out bags , checked out of the hotel and were on the road home. I doubt if he had been much futher than his local hunt and now he was heading for a long trailer run then a ferry back to Scotland. We stopped regularly and made sure he had time to stand still without balancing in a moving trailer, get a bit of exercise water and hay on what was a 10 hour journey home.
Rocky arrived without a word of complaint, had a roll in his fluffy shavings bed and tucked into his hay like he had always been here.That was a month ago, his schooling is underway and he is really keen and interested in everything he does, so far I think he has been happiest down on the beach. Hopefully we will soon see where his abilities lie and ensure that his working life is spent doing whatever he is best at.