The house was a hive of activity we had decided to do some decorating, everyone mucked in. We all felt so relaxed. Sheila and I decided we would put an advert in the Horse and Hounds to try and find smeone to take Outlaw on loan for at least six months. Hopefully by then Sheila and Steve would be working so the pressure should ease on me. There was no way I could pay for Outlaws needs ie. stabling, hay and vet bills and shows.
I came home from work one day and something looked differant in the front room , I suddenly realised my chair was missing, Mike had his own armchair that he had had made and I had a really nice chair without arms. I couldnt understand why he had taken my chair and not his own. I immediately rang him at his lodgings and insisted he bring the chair back, a bit of an argument took place but he did agree to return it. What a cheek taking it with out asking and more worrying was him still having a key.
He brought the chair back that evening and said he didnt want the other chair. I asked him for the door key which he gave to me without argument and left. The kids kept out of the way.
A few days later we received a telephone call from someone in Colchester who was very interested in the loan of Outlaw. They asked if they could come and see him the following weekend. They had two daughters one the same age as Sheila and a 5 year old. I said that we would also want to see where they were going to keep Outlaw to make sure he would be safe. We would also need a couple of references. They said they were shopkeepers and had a general store in a village just outside Colchester and that there eldest daughter had been riding for 3 years and worked at the stable where they would be keeping Outlaw.
Sheila was very concerned but agreed to them coming to see him. We would make a judgement then depending on our assessment of them.
Lesley had applied to be a nurse some time ago and received a letter asking her to go for an interview at QE2 Hospital in Welwyn Garden City if she was successful she would start when she was 18 yrs old just a couple of months away. We asked my Dad if he would like to come with us and he said he would love to, while Lesley was having her interview me and my Dad could go and look around the shops and have a coffee. She was very nervous but excited.
The interview went really well and they told her there and then that they would love for her to start training as soon as she was eighteen. Nearer the time they would send her all the details.
My Dad and myself were so pleased for her as this was something she had always wanted to do.
The weekend came and the people from Colchester arrived , they seemed really nice people, Sheila and the girl Sharon hit it off straight away. We took them to see Outlaw and they liked what they saw. They got Outlaw tacked up and Sharon rode him and he was the perfect gentleman. She looked a very capable rider and even did a couple of jumps, this pleased Sheila because she wanted him to keep jumping for when she was able to have him back.
We went back to our house to discuss things, they had brought two references with them which were glowing, one a character reference and one from the owner of the stable where Sharon worked. We arranged for us to visit them next weekend to check on their stables and to make a dacision. One thing I needed to arrange was an agreement detailing what we expected from them ie.. collection and at the end of the loan delivery back to us at their expense . Also to set out that it was their responsibility to look after his welfare, vets, wormers, blacksmith etc...I would need to get this signed by the parents.
Sheila myself and Steve went the following weekend to Colchester and were pleasantly surprised by the stables and all the amenities they had. The owner said that Sharon was a very good rider and wasnt afraid of hard work. We went back to their house and I showed them the agreement I had prepared, they both read it and agreed to adhere to the conditions. A date for their collection of Outlaw was arranged, we would meet them at our stables. the paperwork was signed they had a copy and I had a copy and a copy was going to our solicitor.
The day came too soon Sheila was distraught, I felt so guilty but I had no choice. Mike just wasnt prepared to help us out. I couldnt blame him really I suppose. We had also a little yearling called Shemic which we had rescued several months ago. Sheila had worked really hard with him as he was so skinny when we got him. He had been gelded and in a couple of years time would make some young child an amazing first pony. The owner of the stables bought him off us for his granddaughter so we knew he had gone to an excellent home.