Most little girls have an obsession with horses from a young age but not everyone gets to have the pleasure of riding one or owning one. For most, horses are just a dream a fantasy.
Lisa Webster has loved horses all her life and first got the bug when she was about five and started to ride. Loving nothing more than the smell and the feel, Appleb Horse Fair soon became a dream.
On Thursday (June 9), celebrating her 50th birthday, her partner surprised her with a visit to the world-famous fair. Lisa said: “I couldn’t believe it when we arrived I thought we were going to visit my mum. When we got here it was like heaven.”
Lisa explained how she had always dreamed about riding a horse in the River Eden and was hoping someone would let her have a ride on their horse and fulfil her dreams.
Traditionally the Gypsy and Traveller community take their horses down to the River Eden to wash their horses ready to be sold or to make a potential deal.
Hundreds of horses of all shapes and sizes are ridden down to The Sands in Appleby and taken in the water and washed with either baby soap or fairy liquid.
Lisa couldn’t believe her luck or the generosity of the Gypsy and Traveller community as after asking, she was handed a horse and she trotted off down the ramp and entered the water.
As the cold water splashed her confidence grew and she walked the horse further into the river. She had a smile from ear to ear as she. After her first go she came back out and was offered another horse to go in with.
Charlie, from Warrington, admitted he didn’t fancy getting wet and after seeing her in the water the first he had no problems with her taking his horse Marble. He said: “I didn’t want to get wet but now I know how special it was it’s fantastic to help make her dreams come true.”
Charlie even douses the horse in soap so she was able to give it a good wash in the water. Lisa was beaming with pride, she said: “I started riding when I was five and I have never stopped it the smell and the feel I miss when I’m not around them.
“It’s unbelievable I can’t thank them all enough. It is the best birthday present ever. At first, I was a little scared because it was a horse I didn’t know but once I got going it was fine.
“It was all new for me, I have never been in the water like this before, It’s mind-blowing and to get the chance to bathe the horse, it was amazing.”
Billy Welch, known as the Shera Rom or Head Gypsy was thrilled to hear what his community had done. He said: “We want to include everyone in the fair and show people our traditions and this just shows you can approach we’re all the same.”