Thousands of people from across the country lined the streets of a Hampshire village for an equine spectacular.

Every year Wickham hosts the country's oldest horse fair, which can trace its origins back 800 years.

For centuries crowds have gathered annually in the village to trade secrets, meet with friends and parade their stock. The fair includes bareback parades with ponies decorated with ribbon, straw, and harnesses.

It has long been an important date in the calendar of the travelling community for the buying and selling of horses, for the fun of showing them parade the streets and as a big social event.

Hundreds watched as riders and buggy drivers rode up and down the street at break neck pace. One buggy had its wheel come off but no-one was hurt.

The Echo spoke to some of those at the fair, both those showing horses and spectators.

One spectator Roger Clark, 70, from Chandlers Ford said: “ It’s a very unique occasion. It’s great to see all the horses and the culture of the travellers. It’s been here since the 13th century, I think.”

For full picture coverage of the event see tomorrow's Daily Echo.

Another spectator Tracey Wagon, 50, from Southampton said: “Usually it’s on a week-day and I can’t make it. I love horses so it’s amazing to see all of the horses here. If you like horses this is the place for you to be today.”

Also at the fair was representatives of the RSPCA.

Paul Williams, Chief Inspector of RSPCA South West, said: “We provide an equine team at the fair to assist the welfare of the horses.

"We monitor their welfare and we work with other bodies such as Wild Horse Welfare, a team from the police called Country Watch.”

He added: “We have a vet from the equine charity Redwings Horse Sanctuary and if someone is concerned about a hose we ask a vet to examine it.

"So far this year there was one thin horse we were concerned about. The owner was provided with welfare advice by the vet. To be fair, most horses here are in good condition.”

Road closures were in place between 4.30am and 8pm around the Square in Wickham and the A334 Winchester Road between Blind Lane and the A32 junction.

For full picture coverage of the event see tomorrow's Daily Echo.