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Welsh Festival of the Horse by Maureen Lloyd

The first Welsh Festival of the Horse was held at Margam Park on Easter Sunday and Monday April 16th & 17th. This innovative event was blessed with dry if rather cold weather however with the impressive Margam Castle providing a wonderful backdrop to two days of equine superlatives, it was a spectacular success. The two rings provided non-stop atmospheric entertainment for the thousands of people who attended during the two days. With many different displays ranging from Shetlands to Shires and stunt riders to side saddle demos it was a weekend for all the family, with the committed enthusiast able to sit and watch the experts, while those with a less passionate interest could wander through the trade stands and buy anything from jewellery and accessories, sports ancillaries and even a new 4 x 4 from main sponsors Stratstone Landrover.

Welsh Harness racing also enjoyed a first, as Wales & Border Counties combined with Wales and West to exhibit at the event. We concentrated on the similarities of both associations and put together an interesting and informative display, to welcome people to our traditional although sometimes overlooked sport. The interest in ‘trotting’ was exceptional and meeting our potential public is very exciting, I find it very stimulating to meet people from other equine spheres and we can often learn something in the constant battle to encourage more followers of the sport.

I am very grateful for the hard work which each member put in to make this first co-operative effort such a success and also for the generous way people lent both equipment and memorabilia for the weekend. Considering it was set up on a rather ad hoc basis I think the finished effect was stunning and I am personally grateful for others who have such artistic talent and are prepared to use it for the benefit of ‘trotting’.

Our volunteers were Trish Dugdale, Dawn Hughes, Mike Lewis, Brian & Tracy Raynolds, Elaine Thomas, Gwennan Thomas and her daughter, and myself who directed operations and drank everyone’s coffee.

Thanks to everyone.

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