The man above showing off a pretty cow is my grandfather Alf Camp. One of his many business ventures was selling second hand horses. Why you may ask do I show him holding a cow when I am obviously about to tell another horse tale.
The simple answer is I can’t find a single photo of him with a horse. This is very strange because he was around horses for years. He wasn’t a natural horseman like my father but he was highly competent.
I remember going with him to pick up some waste tomatoes for cattle feed from the Long Camps. The easiest way was to back the horse and cart into the big building and load up from the trays. Dad would get off the van and guide the horse backwards by holding its bridle.
Grandad couldn’t walk without sticks in those days and I was amazed when he reversed the horse from the seat of the van as easily as if it was a car and he had changed gear.
The story today is about a horse he couldn’t sell. There was nothing particularly wrong with it nor did it have any particularly apparent good points. It was very average and was often overlooked.
As it was winter time all the horses were lined up in the stable when Grandad bought a buyer to have a look at the horseflesh on offer.
There were about a dozen horses which Dad had polished up to perfection to ensure a premium price.
“Every one of these animals is for sale”, says Grandad “so take your pick.”
Then he added “Except for this one” and he pointed at the very average horse he just couldn’t shift.
“Why not that one,” asks the buyer.
“I’ll never let that one go for love or money,” was Grandad’s reply. “Eh, boy that horse is one in a million, isn’t it?” he says to Dad giving a little wink in explanation.
The buyer is now not interested in any of the other horses. A negotiation starts and gradually Grandad’s seeming affection for the one in a million horse begins to fade as the sum being offered grows.
“Done,” says Grandad as the price gets to twice what he had paid for the nondescript animal.
And he was right. The buyer had been well and truly done.