Huge interest in equestrian centre sale

NOT SINCE he auctioned off the Kinsale house contents for TV chef Keith Floyd had auctioneer David Herman seen such a crowd.He was selling the farm machinery, riding school equipment, ponies and furniture from Boro Hill Equestrian Centre at Clonroche, near Enniscorthy, for Peter and Betty Caulfield. And 600 to 700 people turned up for the viewing on the Sunday afternoon and Monday morning.

``Back in May, we had 800 people turning up at the sale of Keith Floyd's house contents,'' he said, ``and I thought I would never again see anything like the crowds. But this one was just as good.''

Before the Boro Hill auction, more than 450 buyers had registered and the place was ``black with people,'' according to David, whose firm Herman & Wilkinson of Rathmines Road, Dublin, does similar sales all over the country.

The owners, who have sold up and bought another property Ballyhealy House, Kilmore and are continuing in the tourism business, are very well known in the horse industry. People came from all over the country after David circularised all the stables throughout the land.

There was an extraordinary variety of items on offer. As well as the equipment and furniture, there was even some of the family silver for sale in the auction, which started at 2pm and didn't finish until after 7pm. At 10pm people were still taking away their purchases.

The highest prices (in descending order, from the dearest) give an indication of the variety. A 1988 Bedford horse lorry made £2,000. Next was a 16.1 hands gelding at £1,850.

Then a George III English silver boat-shaped gravy tureen, by Paul Storr, for £1,600. A slurry spreader for £1,450, a small Victorian mahogany bookcase for £800, a 14 hands Connemara pony for £800.

A land roller fetched £690, a 14 hands 5-year-old cob £620, an oats grinder £600, a hand-made rocking horse with saddle and bridle £520, a hay tosser £500, a Victorian tub trap by Bates of Gorey (needing renovation) £480 and a Victorian 3-piece clock £435.

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``We were catering for a lot of markets,'' said David, describing how one set of potential customers had no interest in the items being bid on by another set.

``When I was selling the furniture, for example, the couple of hundred people who were there for it could hardly hear me over the yakking of the people whose only interest was the tack.''

They don't normally have mirrors at horse sales, but such was the mix of items on offer here that one of the ponies kicked out when he found another ``pony'' trotting towards him.

Most of the machinery was bought locally, but the rest of the items went all over the country.

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