Uncle Kocholo was a legendary horse dealer well known in the trade by the most reputable (both Roma and non-Roma) horse lovers.

His knowledge about horses came from many generations of Roma horse experts. He was literally able to communicate with horses: he would gather from them what their problem was but also managed to make a horse understand what issues humans had.

When we visited him with my dad and sat around his table for a drink, he would invite one of his horses by a whistle to join us. The horse would come out from the stable, gallop in the house, walk across the front door, the hallway and would sit around the table with us. Once the horse sat right next to me. Growing up in blocks of flats I had no contact with animals which means my bones were shaking of course. The horse would just look down and wait. My uncle poured a pint of beer for everyone at the table including the horse but since I was a child I wouldn’t get one.

Then Uncle Kocholo greeted his guests by saying “Te aven bahtàle” and everyone raised their glasses and replied “Tai savorra źène” or “Te del o Del” and then the horse also shook his head and was a making a sound I was not able to comprehend and he also drank from his glass. Then Uncle Kocholo would tell the horse “Źa tuke khère!” and the horse would get up and bend in front of everyone, turned around and galloped back to his stable. That was something that freaked everyone out, since the horse was familiar with ‘Pachiv’, the Roma customary law and would follow the rules just like any traditional Roma.

He would always have people visiting him from overseas and a “Pachiv” following horse would freak everyone out. Uncle Kocholo would spend plenty of time overseas too. He was taking his race horses to different championships all over Europe. His second son would win horse riding races nationally and internationally too and there would always be attention to what horse Uncle Kocholo would race next.

One day Bardos, the famous world champion riding horses and Uncle Kocholo were buying horses together and there was one that world champion refused to buy, while Uncle Kocholo was genuinely suggesting him to buy it. The horse was rather slim, didn’t look attractive at all. Uncle Kocholo however decided to buy the horse. He looked after him properly, also coached him and decided to race the horse in Transylvania, and the horse won. The British royal court had its representatives present at the race and made an irresistible offer to Uncle Kocholo who sold the horse that ended up spending the rest of his life at Queen Elizabeth’s royal estates.

Not sure if Queen Elizabeth II has ever been told that the horse was purchased from a Gypsy man, but maybe someone will pass it onto her.

God bless the queen and the platinum jubilee!