This time last year it was beautifully sunny, the heather was in full bloom and the wimberries weren’t quite ready but the little juicy berries were just poking un ripe heads out of the shrubs that cover the mountains like a bouncy carpet.
Llantony had just had it’s annual show which is like many other village shows; including a race across the mountains around the valley, as well as local competitions for things like ‘best marrow’, ‘best onion’, ‘best jam’, ‘best photo of an animal’ and best dressed pet, the list goes on.
But what not many people are aware of unless you are a local or an avid show follower is that Llantony show has the last remaining wild rodeo in the whole of the UK.
The horses are gathered off the surrounding hills and mountains and brought down in to the valley for the rodeo. This one attraction alone brings people from across the country and the world trying their hands at clinging, bare back, to a wild Welsh mountain pony.
It has been running over 50 years with my ‘father-in-law’ even go when he was in his 20s.
The east of the Brecon Beacons National Park is Sam’s area to cover, so I went to meet him one day on Hatterall Hill as he said there was a really great photo to get, the heather looked beautiful and it was a perfect late summer afternoon.
What was even better was that I saw a red kite land for a little animal that scurried away and then the wild Welsh mountain ponies, that weeks before may have been down in the valley, kicking people off their back with an air of indifference.
I tried to follow, but these shy ponies catch a whiff of you coming too close and they canter away. So, walking fast, watching the ground in front of me so I don’t trip on the bushes I try and predict where they move to and stop and wait for them to cross my path. And then it happened; the group I had seen were perfectly set above the Llantony valley, in a line, with a foal in tow.
They spot me and move on again… the show is over.