We bought *six quarters, one each year, *clibs we broke-in and sold on. We often bought from Travellers. That was when Travellers travelled round the country in barrel caravans pulled by horses. Solid cobs they had often crossed with the best blood stock in Ireland. Who knew their ‘secret wiles,’ as they passed the stud farms on The Curragh of Kildare? We broke our horses (if broke is the word) very quietly and over time. The magic of the televisions ‘horse whisperers’ instant results is lost to me. ‘Do nothing sudden and do nothing rash.’ That was our mantra.
Rostrevor is where ‘The Mountains of Mourne Sweep Down to the Sea’ and we here on the shores of Carlingford Lough had an abundance of wrack. Storms wash huge banks of seaweed up on the shore. In the past this was a valuable source of fertilizer for the land and when the wrack ‘was in’ entire townlands transported it up the valley with horses and carts. We used wrack in the alleys of drills when planting potatoes and we spread it on lea fields to give a flush of spring grass. It was noted that grazing cattle preferred the seaweed–treated sections to those heartened with farmyard manure. Perhaps it was the trace of salt that attracted the stock.