Quality up, quantity down at Ballinasloe autumn fair
New regulations greatly improved the quality of animals on offer this year say the organisers of the Galway event
The numbers of horses and ponies at the recent Ballinasloe Fair may have been down slightly overall on previous years, but the standard of animals was said to have greatly improved for 2014.
According to the fair committee, the new regulations regarding passports and the registered sale of horses and ponies is said to have made a significant difference to the quality of animals being offered for sale this year.
A spokesperson from the Department of Agriculture confirmed that there was a high compliance rate with regard to horse passports and proper documentation. They also confirmed that a number of spot checks were held on approach roads to the Fair Green, and on the Fair Green itself. These were said to have been carried out with the assistance of the Garda Síochána.
The Ballinasloe fair is one of the oldest and longest-running horse sales in Europe, and it is estimated that close to 1,000 horses and ponies gathered on the Fair Green on the two main fair days on Sunday and Monday. A considerable number were also expected back at the venue over this past weekend.
"The attendance on Monday was definitely higher than we have seen before," commented Ballinasloe Fair chairman, Adrian Ahern.
Well-known dealer Miley Cash, who has been attending Ballinasloe Fair for some 60 years, made a record purchase of 127 animals over the two days.
"It is the biggest number I have ever bought from Ballinasloe, by a long shot," the Co Kildare man said.
"But I had nine clients with me in total, with several from Belgium, Germany and France. I would not have normally bought that many, but the demand was there for them."