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Lot 22

My BIG news is that Teazel is home from rehab. For the past six months until then end of September 2021, Teazel had been at an amazing holistic rehab yard about 25 miles south of me. Here she had lots of company, two miles of very low grass tracks and an owner Larri, who is the personification of care, knowledge and love. 

Teazel had been there because she was diagnosed with EMS (Equine Metabolic Syndrome) and IR (Insulin Resistance) – think type 2 diabetes in humans. The symptoms of these were a propensity to laminitis – sometimes very lowgrade but resulting in “footiness” – on/off mild lameness, and an inability to digest and process properly the sugar in hay and grass.

Thankfully I had her blood readings re-tested at the vets on the way home from the rehab centre and they are much better. My job now is to keep them like that!๐Ÿ˜Š

Teazel is a horse that “appears” content on her own, however I have always tried to keep her in company when I can. Unfortunately due to the EMS and IR which is managed by keeping off grass as much as possible, her usual grazing with my friend’s horse in her fields just up the hill from our farm became unsuitable as there was just too much grass for her.

So then I hatched the next grand plan!! Get Teazel some company!

To begin with I thought of getting a 12 hh Welsh Section A pony. Equine company and easy to keep. But then I thought,
“Well if I’m going to keep another horse, why not have one I, and others in my family could ride? 

So very quickly the search changed from a 12 hh pony to something at least 14.2 hh – basically another horse!๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™ˆ Oops!๐Ÿ˜‚

As I started trawling through online horse forums and websites I realised just how “lucky” I had been to within fourteen days of my previous horse Midnight succumbing to massive colic,  have “found” Teazel. The Universe, Midnight and very likely other benign energies were with me at that time and led me purposefully and easily to my next teacher, aka Teazel!

This time as I started the search it appeared so much more daunting – so many places to look and such high prices being asked. Then I remembered our local horse sale, an institution that has been running for over 100 years – and when you are there it looks like not much has changed in that 100 years! 

The next sale was to be two days after Teazel came home ideal IF there was something suitable there for both Teazel and me. The sale is always the last Thursday of the month and the catalogue usually comes out a week before the sale, however of course as I was looking it didn’t come out until late on the Monday before the sale – I had an extra three days of anticipation wondering what would be entered and whether there would be something suitable! When the catalogue was finally published, looking through the descriptions (no photos) in the catalogue there were indeed two or three that caught my eye.

It was however when I went on the associated Facebook page that I found what I was looking for. Lot 22 Llainonnen Evette a seven year old pure Welsh Section D mare. Recently started having been on farm all her life. Described as not a novice ride as still in need of some education herself.
Knowing I would be taking her back to basics รก la Warwick Schiller that suited me to the ground. She was perfect. A bright bay with white points, beautiful movement and the kindest of eyes. I had found my new horse. Now I just had to buy her.

In the week leading up to the sale something interesting happened. I honestly cannot remember when I last found any money on the floor either in the house or the road. But in that week before the sale within two days I first found a pound coin and then a day later I found a five pence piece. Nothing extraordinary you may think … but …. a pound and five pence is the equivalent of an old fashioned guinea. A guinea is unit of currency worth 21 old shillings or ยฃ1.05 in today’s money. The guinea went out of circulation here in the United Kingdom in the Great Recoinage of 1816 when it was replaced by the pound. The significance to me of the guinea is that all livestock auctions (including the horse sale I was about to attend) are priced in guineas. Rightly or wrongly I thought it a sign that I was to be successful at the sale in finding a new companion for Teazel.

The day before the sale I did question my sanity of going there to buy a horse. Horse sales have a reputation of sometimes being a place to “offload” the horse that is “not quite right” – so buyer beware. And it seemed I was going on my own as no-one was free to come with me – that was until the afternoon before the sale when my wonderful, dearest friend Angie rang up offering her company. Oh yes – I was off pony shopping with my best mate! Perfect!โค๏ธ๐Ÿ™

We got to the sale nice and early mainly because I knew how crammed the car park could get and I wanted a good place to load and an easy route out IF we should buy. 

Slowly the pens started to fill up. Lot 22 was nowhere to be seen.

I had made a second choice if Lot 22 did not appear. It was Lot 16 a nine year old Welsh section D mare, only been used as a broodmare, not started at all. Seen in the flesh she seemed lovely apart from a thickening on a front foot below the fetlock which the farmer selling her assured me she had had since she sustained an injury as a foal and it had never caused any problem. A photo of said foot sent to my farrier seemed to confirm this, but the mare had not done any work so it was still a risk to be aware of.

It was about 30 minutes before the sale and Lot 22 had still not arrived. Sometimes because horses are advertised before hand they get sold privately at home before the sale and so never appear. This is what we feared had happened to Lot 22.

Angie and I made our way to the ring and stood on the stands waiting for the sale to begin. As we stood there a horse was being ridden around the sale ring (this is a euphemistic term as “the ring” is actually a gap in what is a sheep and cattle sale yard, so about 30 metres long by 5 metres wide – concrete floor with just a dusting of shavings – hardly the ideal footing for a horse sale, but that’s the way it has been for as long as I can remember.)

The horse was clearly very anxious and not wanting to go forward despite it having a companion horse. The lady riding was very competent even when this horse did a passable imitation of a “levade” – a movement of classical horsemanship where the horse stands up and balances on its hind legs, she sat quiet but did have to drive the horse forward at one point in order to get it to move .

As I stood looking at this spectacle I suddenly realised I was looking at Lot 22. I had studied Lot 22’s face from the video on Facebook and recognised the little white snip on her nose. Angie was not so sure it was her, but I was convinced.

I followed the pair out of the sale ring and went to speak to the rider.
“Is that Lot 22?” I asked.
“Yes” she replied, “She honestly is so much calmer at home, she is finding this all a bit much as she has never been anywhere. I know she is messing about but I don’t feel unsafe on her.”

I asked the lady a couple more questions and then satisfied with the answers returned to Angie and said,
“That’s my horse right there!”

The die was cast it was Lot 22 or nothing.

Angie and I took our place back on the stand and the sale began. Every time I caught sight of Lot 22, I’d point to her and whisper to Angie,
“There’s my horse!”

Lot 16 my second choice came in the ring and doubt surged through me. Should I be bidding on her? She would undoubtedly be cheaper, and what if Lot 22 went absolutely silly money, I’d be coming home with nothing and my search would have to start all over again.

But taking a deep breath and deliberately not looking at the auctioneer I held my resolve and kept my hands firmly by my side. As Lot 16 left the ring at a price well, well below my maximum limit, I knew it was now all on Lot 22.

Not many minutes later Lot 22 entered the ring being led by her rider. I think she had wisely decided to lead her round rather than ride her as it was all a bit much of the mare to cope with.

The bidding started at a 1000gns and in a couple of minutes rising by 100gns per bid she was at 2500gns. Up until this point I had resolutely not even looked at the auctioneer. I was channelling my husband a lifelong livestock farmer and a very canny buyer at auction. I knew that the earlier I joined in the bidding the more I would push the price up, so discretion was the better part of valour and I knew not to start bidding until it looked like most, if not all of the other bidders had run out of steam (and hopefully money)!

It was apparent that at 2500gns everything was coming to a head, it was now or never for me to step up and enter the fray.

As the auctioneer looked in my direction I looked him in the eye raised my hand and mouthed “Fifty” at him – if I was in a competition for this gorgeous horse at least I could half the amount it went up at each bid.
In response to my bid, no sooner than he had said 2550gns, someone else immediately put a bid in and he was saying, 

“2600.”

OK I thought so this is the way it was going to be … not taking my eyes off the auctioneer I nodded my head and he was saying,
“2650”. 

Bam – straight away the other bidder was in with 2700. The auctioneer looked straight back at me and within an even slighter nod it was 2750gns 

“2800”
“2850”
“2900”
As fast as the auctioneer could say the new price, my competitor and I had our next bid in, both of us trying to intimidate the other into realising we were going to keep bidding until we had the horse.

I nodded again, 

“2950” said the auctioneer.

I kept my eyes on him willing there to be no further bids as 3000gns was (supposedly) my upper limit. 

Unbelievably there were no more bids. 

“2950, 2950. Any more bids or I’m selling at 2950gns?”

BANG! The gavel came down. I had done it, Lot 22 Llainonnen Evette was mine!

I then had to hold up my buyers number. It was at that moment as I tried to unfold the piece of cardboard my number was on to show to the auctioneer, that I realised just how much my hands were shaking, just how much adrenaline was coursing through me and just how much I wanted to have this horse!

Angie and climbed down from the ringside stand to go back to the pen to see my new horse.
As I was negotiating my way through the people and the barriers, a gentleman stopped me and said, 

“So you had her then?” 

Realising he was talking about my latest purchase I replied,
“Yes indeed I did. I wasn’t going to stop until I DID have her!”

He smiled and then I could see there was just a glint of tears in his eyes as he said,
“I was selling her.”

I realised then what a genuine sale this was. A homebred mare that had been with the breeder all her life but needed to find a new home. Evie’s breeder put her up for sale at the auction obviously not knowing where she would end up. One look at his face and I could see the stress he had been under and hoped I could provide some relief knowing that she had at least not ended up with a dealer.

I couldn’t bear the emotion on his face. Ignoring every Covid rule under the sun, I just gave him a big hug and said with my own voice wavering slightly
“Worry not. She has a home for life with me.”

The lady who had done such a lovely job starting Evie, helped load her and with only a slight hesitation Evie was in the trailer and on her way to her new life.

And so Llainonnen Evette came into my life. On putting her in the field with Teazel, Teazel marched down and with arched necks they said hello. Teazel stamped and squealed and then wheeled round and planted a well-aimed double barrelled kick on Evie’s chest – I was at that point VERY glad that I had rugged Evie up against the rain!

But that was it. Teazel immediately walked up the field and went to graze. Evie followed straight after her, but kept a sensible distance from Teazel’s hind legs!
They are already the best of mates with Teazel being a lot more vocal than Evie when they are separated. Evie has been on her own in the stable and in the field and has been led round the valley like a trooper. She allows me to pick her feet out loose in the field and is just generally a sweet and friendly horse to be around.

Evie is very interested in everything going on (ie nosey!) and yesterday after I had left a barrow full of hay and feeds in the field by the gate but separated from Evie by a live electric fence, I found her quite capable of jumping said electric fence no problem at all. In all fairness the “gate” part of the fence was low. It has now been raised to a hopefully more imposing height!

There are two interesting synchronicities I discovered after buying Evie.
Firstly Evie’s registered stud name is Llainonnen Evette, it was only when talking with a neighbour here in the valley that I even began to wonder what the prefix “Llainonnen” might mean in English.  A couple of hours after talking with my friend I received a message from her saying it meant “Place of ash trees”, not very meaningful you may think,
 except the name of my bungalow here on the farm that I inherited from Mum and Dad is “Llwynon” – ash tree!! 

Secondly about ten days after buying Evie Angie and I went down to visit her breeder to get his signature on her passport so that I could change ownership.
We sat chatting with him and his wife and I happened to mention I had grown up in Wembley. I don’t know if you have ever experienced the situation when you say you are from a certain place (especially a large one like a suburb of London) and someone says “Oh you must know….” and they name a person or road as if just because you are from there you know everyone and everywhere!
Well that happened here. Evie’s breeder on hearing I was from Wembley said 
“Oh you must know Honeypot Lane?”
A tingle went up my spine and I nearly fell off my chair because I did in fact know Honeypot Lane  – very well. It was not only a road next to the primary school I had attended for seven years, but also a road I had travelled on very regularly during my eighteen years growing up in Wembley.  
Coincidences or synchronicities that show buying Evie was meant to be – I’ll let you decide.

So that is the tale of how Lot 22 came into my life, how I found Evie and Evie found me.

It is interesting that without any planning or fore thought, all of the three horses that I have bought Midnight, Teazel and now Evie have come straight (yes two via marts) from the breeder to me. I count myself so very lucky to have found these amazing horses.

Suffice to say both Teazel and I (and I hope Evie) are VERY happy.

I had never ever before thought about having two horses, but I am now officially a two-horse kind of gal!

Thank you for visiting.

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