Alysa Goeke here....
Two forty five AM, we were woken up from a fire alarm that felt like it lasted hours. Eventually we found out was not worth leaving our rooms or beds; We suppose some one thought they were being fun pulling the alarm. To top that off we all had to wake up around 6 or 6:30 AM; needless to say the whole group was cranky and fell asleep right away on the bus. As we traveled through the country side we all stared out the windows. What a sight! First thing coming into Wales we cross a bridge over the beautiful Bristol Channel. Beauty has just engulfed us since the day we arrived in Europe, but how gorgeous Wales is! In my opinion Wales has given the best first impression. I love the way the fields are all filled with flowers, cattle, and sheep. Seeming like they can just billow on for miles and miles. The countryside spreads along hills and valleys allowing the land to look almost majestic especially today where the fog is thin in the distance. As we start our journey to the Evan’s Bros Auctioneers, I expect that today will be exciting and knowledgeable. I greatly enjoy watching horse/tack sales, because, one I gain experience of the selling/buying aspect of the horse industry, and two also the opportunity to buy things! Who doesn't enjoy buying new tack and horses?! I felt like a kid in a candy store!
Walking into the sale I was expecting a large round pen to have the well brushed and cleaned horses run in a circle, and numbers clearly placed on the halters. This is how Tattersalls described their rings. We were confused on arrival because there was no clear entrance, but we found our way into the sales. There were three sale areas of the auction along with open trailers of tack around the building. The three areas consisted of two horse show rings, then one tack area. The horses were unexpected; but seeing this was not the million dollar horse sales, what could we expect. The horses were in boxes made of gates that could be easily taken down, and they were not show groomed by any means. The ponies looked like they were just pulled from the field, which means there was no reason to lie about their attributes. It could easily be told that the ponies had not been around these noises before by their facial expressions and nervousness.
As the ponies walked through the long pens with bidders along the sides, people made slight gestures to place bets. How the bids could be seen by the auctioneer is beyond me; Only one time did I see someone flat out raise their arm during a bid. The auctioneer was hard to understand as usual, but the prices ranged from 100 to 500 pounds, which is about 160 to 800 US dollars. We later learned that there were some slaughter bidders, just like any other low key auction. One of them was standing just a few people down from us and was bidding on a lot; Some of the owners realized who he was and choose to deny the sell. These seemed like great horses; most were even trained to ride at a fairly young age. It was just a very different atmosphere from what was expected. A bystander explained that these prices were actually better than the previous years for the sellers.
As for the seating of the auction there were none. The whole place had just boards lifted that were meant for standing over people to allow the man to see each bid. I did also enjoy exploring the small outdoor shops of tack.. I saw a small hound horn sell for about 50 pounds and a saddle go for about 150 pounds, which would convert to about $240 US dollars. Which is cheap for a decently built saddle. I can see the cultural differences and similarities. Compared to the Tatersalls auctions, these were the “back yard” or more low key auctions one would expect to see. I could imagine seeing these sales in small towns possibly even in the US; however I think in the US horses are made to look more like pets than the horses here in the UK are.
The day slowly ended with a long bus ride to our new hostel, which was actually amazing. We had even better views as we drove up the mountain (thinking the bus was not going to make it up at some points) to our mountain side hostel inside Wales’ national park.
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