The next morning Mike was true to his word, him and the kids went to the field and armed with the carrots, called Tinker and he came straight away. Sheila started to groom him, he let her pick up his feet and clean them with the hoof pick ,then Lesley and Sheila both started brushing him he seemed quite happy with them both doing it. He really was in a bad condition but the kids were being really thorough and Tinker appeared to enjoy it.
Steve and Mike were having a good look around the stable and tack room and Mike decided that after he had taken Tinker for his first morning walk they would all try to clean the place up, it looked as neglected as the pony. The walk was going to be a bit hairy as they only had a head collar and lead rein no bit. After Lesley and Sheila had finished grooming they showed Mike and he was really impressed they had done such a good job.
They evidently had quite a job getting Tinker out of the field he probably hadn’t been out for ages. They finally got him out onto the road and he seemed to enjoy it and he had been a perfect gentleman. On the way back Mike said he seemed to be puffing a bit but it was his first walk on hard ground. Mike said he thought he could hear a loose shoe and the kids agreed they could hear a clattering noise. This meant a visit from the blacksmith. Mike had no idea who the others used so he decided to ring the lady who owned the field she said the blacksmith was coming the following day to shoe the other horses. She gave him the telephone number to arrange for Tinker to be looked at.
Mike told her we had had the vet and told her it was not laminitis, that he just needed a decent diet and gentle exercise which they had started today. She said she was pleased he had a good family at last. She said the local children had been caught riding Tinker bare back because they knew no-one cared for him. She suggested we put up a notice on the stable saying he had new owners and they were not to ride him.
Mike asked if it was ok to do a little maintenance work on the stable and tack-room and generally tidy up. She said he could do what he wanted to improve the buildings any costs incurred she would re-imburse him. She was thrilled somebody was taking an interest.
So far we hadn’t seen any of the other people who had their horse there. Evidently there was a man whose daughter had her horse there a lovely 15hh dark bay. A young girl whose Dad was Gordon Benningfield the artist who at a later date designed the postage stamps with field mice and birds. Also the owner who had 2 horse Tally ho and a very old horse who just ambled around ,she was I believe about 20yrs old .
While the kids and Mike were doing odd jobs Tinker was there with them. Sheila started grooming him again and he really loved it. I think Sheila was more into horses than Lesley and Steve, I think Lesley was a bit scared like me , whereas Sheila just had no fear at all. Steve preferred to help Mike. I was very jealous as I had to go to work. They had been there since about 9am and were all starving as it was about 4pm before they realised how hungry they were.
They fed Tinker, gathered their bits and pieces and went home for something to eat. They had to be at the field early again for the blacksmith and Tinkers exercise. I hoped Mike would keep it up as we would be in a bit of a mess. He seemed to love it as much as the kids.
Time passed and Tinker and Sheila became a real partnership, Lesley and Steve really were not a bit interested in riding him but they enjoyed grooming and lunging him. Sheila soon became friends with Sarah the girl who kept her horse there she was older than Sheila about 14 yrs old and her friend Jilly whose horse was called Twum.
Sheila joined the Pony Club and went to several gymkhanas and did quite well, she won loads of rosettes. Lesley and Steve rarely went to the field, Tinker had more or less become Sheila`s pony. Either Mike or I would drop the kids off at the field along with their packed lunches and they would be there until one of us picked them up.
It wasn’t long before we realised Sheila had grown so much that Tinker was really too small. We went to a place in St Albans to look at a part bred Arab pony approx 13hh whereas Tinker was only 11.2hh. The pony was beautiful a lovely iron grey that held her tail really high as she trotted along. The lady who was selling her said she was an ideal pony for Sheila. Sheila got on her and rode around the ménage they looked really good. The pony did everything that Sheila asked her to. The lady said in a couple of months she would have the pony, who was called Carrick Bella-Donna back to school her for jumping, as this was what Sheila wanted to do hopefully in the future. We bought the pony. She took Tinker in part exchange it was very sad parting with him.
He had been our learning tool. The lady was going to bring Bella the following day to our field. I was at work but went to the field after work to see Bella. She had arrived and looked beautiful but Sheila was having difficulty riding her she was very skittish, we put it down to new surroundings and decided to feed her and leave her to settle in on her own.
Sheila was upset but realised tomorrow hopefully she would have settled down. I was getting very worried about my Dad he didn’t seem to be settling on his own, I decided I was going to see him next weekend and have a chat about him coming to live in Hemel Hempstead to be near me.
Mike managed to get a couple of days off to look after the kids as Bella was still being a pain and I didn’t want the kids to be unattended at the field just in case. Mike loved being there, so he was pleased
I left for my Dads on Friday after work and got there about 9pm my Dad was so pleased to see me he cried. I asked him about coming to Hemel and he said he would like to give it a go but that he wanted to live in his own flat or house. He said he didn’t think he could cope with living with us , which I fully understood. I said when I got back I would go and see the housing people and see what could be done. He seemed to brighten up a bit.
I left my Dads house at about 3pm on the Sunday. It was awful waving goodbye to him, I didn’t like leaving him but I had no choice