Sunday, 7 September 2008

Page 92

I was reading the local paper over the weekend and saw an advert in the pets dept about a pony for sale it was only £80 which I thought seemed so cheap for a pony. I read it out to Mike and he said lets ring and go and have a look. We had no intention of buying it. We had nowhere to put it thank goodness. The other thing was we knew nothing about horses. It was Sheila and Lesley that went to local stables and helped out in return for riding lessons.

Mike rang , the pony was stabled at Potten End. The man who owned it said he would meet us at the field in half an hour. We quickly found Lesley and Steve and told them we were going to look at this pony they were really excited. The field was opposite the Alford Arms pub.

The man was waiting for us with the pony. It was so sweet he said it was a welsh mountain pony very hardy and his name was Tinker. The guy said he was overweight because he hadn’t been ridden, his daughter had out-grown him. Lesley and Steve fell in love with him he seemed so friendly. The guy said if we wanted him he would drop the price to £50 as he hadn’t the time to take care of him properly. The field had a sort of makeshift stable which cost £10 per week. I could see that Mike was tempted and the kids certainly were and Sheila, if she had been here would have been ecstatic, she was horse mad.

The guy said he would go to the pub and have a pint to give us time to think about it. I was really concerned as we knew nothing about how to take care of him. He really looked very overweight and he had reduced the price a little too quick for my liking. He came back and said he would leave the food bins which were half full of food also the hay which would keep us going for a while. When Mike said we knew nothing about keeping a pony he said the person who owned the fields was a real horsewoman and what she didn’t know about horses wasn’t worth knowing. He said there was also two girls who had horses there.

Mike looked across at me and I said ok but that he must help with the care of it. The kids were jumping about like mad things the pony galloped off. We arranged with the owner to go and get the cash and he also gave us the phone number of the field owner, to make sure we could continue to keep the pony there. We arranged to go to the guys house and pay for the pony after we had done this.

The lady turned out to be the wife of a Doctor at our surgery. We explained the situation and she said we could keep the pony at the field. She would meet us there in about 1 hours time as there were certain rules we had to abide by. She also wanted a deposit of £10. Off we went to get the money for the pony and now for the field as well.

I also rang Sheila and told her what we had done you could here the screams from the other side of the room. She wanted to come home straight away, she said she couldn’t believe it. It was her dream that she thought would never come true. I said we had to pay for the pony and the field in an hours time, when we had done this we would come and get her.

We did everything, then set off for London to get Sheila it would take us about an hour. I couldn’t believe what we had done, bought a horse, rented a field and set out on a completely new way of life although we weren’t aware of it then.

By the time we got back from London it was too late to take Sheila to see the pony as it was dark. We promised we would take her first thing in the morning. Mike was also going to get some books about keeping horses. There was a really nice pet shop locally that also sold horsey stuff ie saddles and bridles and rider clothing.

We really hadn’t thought this through, the amount of stuff we needed was mind boggling and would cost a fortune. Until we had a saddle and bridle the pony couldn’t be ridden. The lady who owned the field said we should really have a vet to check Tinker over, she was wondering if he had something called laminitis which was really serious, if he had this he couldn’t be ridden as it affected the feet. She recommended a local vet who specialised in horses.

We gave him a call and he said he would be there that afternoon around 2pm. He would like us to catch him and tie him up ready for him to check over. Sheila was full of bravado and said she would try and catch him. Well it was so funny, there was no way Tinker was going to be caught, Sheila came back to us absolutely shattered. We tried for about an hour with no success at all. I decided I would drive to the local shop and buy some carrots, maybe we could entice him to come to us.

My-self, Lesley, Steve and Sheila all stood there holding out these carrots and would you believe it he came trotting over to us. Very brave I was by throwing the lead rein over his head and we quickly tied him to the stable while he munched away at the carrots. This was the first time Sheila had been able to see him and touch him. She had no fear at all.

Mike came back from the saddlers with a load of stuff, half of which Mike and I had no idea what they were for. He said he had told the guy that we had just bought this pony and that we needed everything for grooming and riding. He had arranged to go to the saddlers the next day to sort out a saddle to enable the kids to try and ride him. Mike was impressed we had caught him.

The vet came at 2pm on the dot. He took one look at the pony and said there was a lot of work to be done. He did loads of checks and said he was pleased to say he hadn’t got laminitis he was grossly overweight and had been really neglected. He needed a lot of gentle exercise mostly walking with no rider , he though Sheila could ride him at walking pace as she was so light but only around the field. He wormed him, checked his feet and apart from the weight issue he gave him a clean bill of health. He said the main thing the pony needed was plenty of TLC and lots of grooming as that created a bond between the pony and the people grooming him. He also said he had a feeling he might play us up for a while and generally be a naughty pony this was due to the neglect he had suffered.

The vet suggested that Mike walk him from the field to the top of Lady`s Mile every day for a week, then a walk from the field to the bottom of Lady`s Mile and back which would be about 3 miles for the next week. After that, if we were happy and the pony seemed fitter, then the children could attempt to ride him gently, fastest pace a trot for a couple of weeks then the vet would like to see him again. We thanked him and said we would do what he said. He also gave us advice on feeding how much and what type and how often.

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