A book about a community of modern horse drawn travellers
[This page is a sample of my work in progress book ‘The Horsedrawn’]
From the highlands of Scotland, through the UK Midlands, down to Devon and across Wales, you can find a community of people who have left their houses to take up an alternative lifestyle. This can be anything from living out of tents and cars to building mud huts and raising an off grid farm. This book, which concentrates on the Delaney family, is about those very few who live with horses, dogs and other animals, in traditional ‘Gypsy’ Vardo wagons.
Resisting such terms as ‘Alternative’ and ‘New-Age’, this community call themselves ‘Horsedrawn’.
The Delaney Family
(Info will be here)
In the Midlands, for the past few years moving between Reditch and Gaden,
Tarp over a branch covers wet paint from the English weather, 2018.
Daughter learns family craft
Bryony and Pete lining a cart for a gypsy man, 2018.
Pete's mother cuts his hair
Pete, here 17, visits his mother ? years after leaving Birmingham to live off grid, hitchhiking and staying in bender tents, 2019.
Portrait of Pete
Peter Delaney, 55, behind his wagon in the morning, 2017.
Experimenting with painting a gnome onto his current wood carving. Racheal paints, mainly horse shoes but also anything she finds interesting, using Barge Art, 2017.
Pete shows his portfolio of wagon painting while Rachael warms herself by the fire, 2017.
Painting fruit onto a pan box for a man who builds drays and wagons, then hires Pete to paint them, 2018.
“Here, put it on my shelf” Pete says to a, Gypsy himself, Gypsy Liaison Officer, 2019.
Smith, 23, is lead wagon horse to Pete with Bluebell and Bob on the side, 2017.
“In life I have the belief I will go down that road and what I need will be right round that corner” - Pete, 2017
"It's all right Bob, it won' 'urt ya!"
Bob lived in a field for many years and was eventually given to Pete to replace Smith as lead wagon horse but he is too scared of vehicles, especially large trucks and tractors, 2017.
They jump Bonzi, Rachael’s stallion, over a stream while moving him to fresh grass, 2017.
”I’m sorry chap but I don’t accept the ownership of land, I only respect good use of it.”
Food is prepared while the night's and next morning's wood is cut, 2017.
Pete's second daughter, Bryony, 23
Mole plays with a ball while Bryony cooks dinner.
On the move
Bryony has just started moving on her own, 2018.
Bryony through the ford
Bryony rides through the ancient Brookhouse Ford, Preston Bagot, England on the way to the Beltane Bash 2018.
She reaches the parkup, 2018.
Horse first aid
Pete help Bryony squeeze puss from Mr. Bailey’s infected lip. He then reapplies John’s Wort which he makes by mixing the plant with oil then leaves in the sun. He uses it for all sorts of pain related ailments like splinters “…they just seem to come right out…”, 2019.
Rolling water from the camp onto a large roundabout in Redditch where the horses are tethered, 2019.
Her first horse
Solstice was a present made by Pete when she was a child, 2019.
Trying scrollwork for the first time on a pice of scrap wood, 2019.
Painting her first scrolls on her own wagon, 2019.
Judah, Pete’s second son, helps new girlfriend Stephany to build a wagon with power tools, 2018.
Hazel with days old foal Catkin
Stephany didn’t know when she bought her that she was pregnant. She keeps them, not tethered but in an electric fence, 2018.
Musically inclined transaction
Violin maker, who works from his canal boat, buys horse hair for a bow string, 2018.
First move for new wagon
Mother and daughter are tethered to the back while Stephany moves with the wagon for it’s first trip, 2018.
Foraging for alcohol
She finds elderberries, perfect for ‘Hedgerow Wine’ she is making from berries you find while foraging in the UK hedges. Other berry and apple trees were planted by farmers for their pickers to snack on while picking and can still be found in hedges across the country, 2018.
Judah teaches her his craft of carving wooden animals and mushrooms, 2019.
Judah took a break, traveling on his own to Oxford and carved and moved and sold with Wilf and Cruzy over the summer.
3 days of respect
After getting a gold chain, horseshoe belt buckle, combined with the wagon, he’s found that certain people will not push him around but respect him now and talk to him.
He sold the wagon pete built for him as a child and bought this is a wagon. He found out it was at least painted by Yorkie Greenwood, THE wagon painter, in the early 1990s. 2019.
The land and the mother
The Land is an old plot of farm land on a hill belonging to Jordan and Hazel’s mother. It has an orchard, a hand build home and a pen for two special horses. 2019
Riley is a kite and ?, his grandmother, flies a chain of them. Bamboo and sugar paper, this is one of many she has. 2019
Jordan, Pete's oldest son, and Katy (top right and girlfriend to Jordan) bring then unnamed 3 day old Finn to meat the family, 2019.
Pete sketched this design for Jordan’s new home, a ‘twagon’, a towable wagon, 2019.
They ripped an old caravan they had on ‘the land’ from it’s base, 2019.
“See them pieces of wood Riley? You’re gunna’ live in ‘um one day” - Pete. 2019.
3rd hand and not enough power
Once Judah’s, who was going to throw it away as the on switch didn’t work, Pete made this drill work with a pice of wire. Unhappy with the speed of Pete’s now solar powered drill, Jordan hooks it up to his car engine. 2019.
After a week of bace building and one move the rain comes. Bryony and Pete put up a shelter for the ‘Twagon’ in 15 minutes. 2019.
Fish and chips for dinner
By the fire they sit, a few moves later; a daughter, her brother and his dad. 2019.
The walls are done and the roof is next. 2019.
Packed and ready for another move. 2019.
Convoy on the move
They’re on the way to The Land to stash the Twagon over The Beltane. 2019.
Post festival and between conflict
War either side of them; 1840 battle of Evesham one side and, the hill in the background, Wood Norton, the BBC’s nuclear bunker they would broadcast the disaster message to any survivors from.
Time to put the dogs out and light the day’s fire. 2017.
Portrait of Smith
Smith, 23 here, resting in between move days, 2017.
Pete raking grass
Grass freshly cut my the council needs to be removed as it can give a horse Colic and kill it. This happens with any organic marital, freshly cut and immediately decaying, you may think to feed a horse, 2019.
Training his last new horse Ace to take over as lead wagon horse from Smith, 2019.
Meet the neighbours
The Safer Neighbourhood Officer (right) visits to meet the family telling me “When Pete is on my patch he is a resident of my patch and I have a duty of care to any resident of my patch”. After telling them stories about other police encounters he’s had in the past, Pete then showed them his portfolio of wagon painting as the lead officer mentioned his grandfather made and painted wagons too, 2019.
He’s now almost done with his 24th year and has been pulling the wagon for 23 of them. His apprentice is to his left. 2019.
Strength in experience
He’s a stubborn horse and knows every routine so he will walk out of the shafts as soon as he can to get at that new grass. 2019.
Second ever bath
The first time he was bathed was for a funeral of a Gypsy man who pete knew well and whose children asked Pete to carry the coffin on his cart, Smith got to the place, Pete took him of to rest and right before hocking back on he rolled in mud and droppings. 2019.
A little Grey horse stuck next to him, keeping away with brays and kicks the many other retired working horses that wanted to meet the new guy, in a field in his farmer friend’s land belonging to two horse women. 2019
A few weeks shy of 25 and he’s done. 2019
Ace's first day on the job
After retiring Smith they waited a day or two and then went with Rachael using her horses pulling the wagon and Pete with Ace. 2019.
They’ve all camped under a set of trees, hiding from the UK’s hottest day on record, a 38.7C day. 2019.
Yesterday the rim blew out and they had to limp the wagon to the verge over 1 mile away, 2019.
3rd time trying
Jordan brought them a wheel but Pete pinched the inner tube when trying to insert it, causing a large rip. Rachael used a puncture repair kit and they blew it up. It shortly whet down due to the size of the rip so they tired again and went to sleep as it seems to be holding this time. Pete got up at his usual 6am to get ready to move and it was flat again. I then turned up and it went pop and sizzle in front of me. They tried again then another time, using water to spot any other rips. 2019.
Each time the tire would deflate in a different way. They eventually worked out that the patch was too small, the glue wasn’t good and the rip was too big.
Pete got a fried to fetch a much better whole wheel he has on a cart stashed in a shed. 2019
After giving in and phoning his friend, he got on with getting ready for the day, it was a really hot one combined with the stress of the wheel change so he was glad of his morning bath. 2019
St. John's Wart
Painted by Bryony. 2019.
For 28/9 years Sue has been horse drawn. Through that time she
(Info will be here)
A joint stall with friends and her daughter’s drawings in their corner of the It’s Not The End Of The World festival. 2019.
She makes pegs with rings cut from aluminium cans, the darker one is her first from a few years ago. 2019.
Mending Becks’ (a friend travelling with her) sandals. 2019.
Mending horse gear in return for wool and lunch. 2019.
A black cockerel watches on. 2019.
Mending a foraging basket for a herbal tea seller. 2019.
Keeping the fire going
Becks left her bike too close to ?. 2019.
Moving the horses