The move went really well, my Dad was thrilled as we all mucked in and got his stuff unpacked and put away, his bed made up and everything spick and span. It was a really lovely flat and I just new he would be very happy there.
I was going to see my Dad one day when I bumped into Linda, who used to be my next door neighbour; she now lived in the maisonette next door to my Dad. I asked if she would like to meet my Dad and she said yes, so in we went to see him. When Linda saw him she said she had already met him a few years ago when we lived next door to her. They got on really well and she said she would keep an eye on him for me.
Sheila had been to the Pony Club Camp for a week and today was the final day when they had a gymkhana for family and friends. I asked my Dad if he would like to go as he loved watching Sheila compete, already she had loads of rosettes. So my Dad, Steve and myself and Mike went and had a great time cheering Sheila and Kim on. She came home with a pony club badge of which she was very proud and a couple of rosettes.
Dad came home with us and had dinner, he said he had had a really brilliant day and looked forward to many more. Later that evening Sheila said she had just about outgrown Kim as she really wanted to do Hunter Trials and show jumping which Kim was too small for. Mike and I said we would think about it as money was a bit tight at the moment but we knew it was inevitable as she was so good she was being held back.
A few days later Sheila was looking through the Horse and Hounds and saw a horse she really liked and as she put it reasonably priced, we had a look and it was a 15 hh grey gelding 5 yrs old, excellent jumper and good to box and shoe. It was priced at £500 which if it stood up to the description was a really good buy. Sheila begged me to ring the ad. And get more details. I did ring and arranged to go and see the horse at the weekend; it was quite a trek as it was in Sussex.
I asked my Dad if he would like to go with us and of course he said he would. In the end we all went Mike, myself Steve, Lesley and Sheila and my Dad quite a car full. It was a really lovely warm sunny day. It took us a couple of hours but it was worth it when we saw the horse, he was beautiful. The owner saddled him up and Sheila got on and put him through his paces and he was amazing. The owner said he was a very kind and gentle horse and he certainly appeared to be. His name was Outlaw. Sheila was ecstatic and my Dad although he knew nothing about horses fell in love with Outlaw and said he would buy her a saddle as Kim’s would be much too small.
Sheila won, we bought him and arranged for them to get a vet report for him, subject to that being ok we would collect him the next Sunday
We now had to try and sell Kim which we dreaded, as he had been an amazing pony, rebuilding Sheila’s trust after Bella. Finding him a home would be easy as everybody at the stable new him.
My Dad really loved his new home and was out pottering in the garden. We did manage to sell Kim to Trina the owner of the stables she was going to use him for her riding school and also riding for the disabled as he was such a gentleman, as she put it. Sheila was really thrilled as she would still see him and most likely be still grooming him as she worked for Trina in return for stabling.
The owners of Outlaw rang us to say Outlaw had received a clean bill of health from their vet, a copy of which was for us. We arranged to pick him up the following Sunday, Sheila was so thrilled.
This time we had to take the land rover and trailer so we took my Dad as well, so once more the six of us went. The trailer was all kitted out for Outlaw lovely fresh hay and new bandages, the excitement was tangible.
My Dad said with all this horsy business he though he should get himself some riding gear i.e. boots and hacking jacket, this was a joke I might add. Outlaw looked even better all beautifully groomed with tail and mane plaited, he looked really smart.
Sheila put on his bandages and a lovely blanket we had bought him and Mike led him into the trailer with no trouble at all.
It took us a couple of hours and when we got to the yard Trina and a couple of helpers were waiting to see Outlaw, we unloaded him and Trina said she was impressed with him which meant a lot to us, as our previous purchase of Bella was us trying to be clever and it all backfiring on us.
Trina saddled him and rode him around the ménage and he did everything she asked, she said we had a lovely horse and Sheila could really reach her full potential with him. Sheila fed him and groomed him then put him in a stable for the night as he had had a busy day, normally he would be put in the field as that was what he was used to.
It was getting more and more difficult for Sheila getting to the stables at Bridens Camp a lot of the time she was going on her bike before school and after and it was a horrible and dangerous trip. Mike worked shifts so could only take her now and again same for me. Things came to a head when Sheila contracted Glandular Fever she was so ill she was unable to go to the stables so we arranged for Trina to look after him, which cost us a fortune.
During this time we talked about moving Outlaw to a place that was easier to get to, all the stables were a distance away but still easier to get to than Trina`s. We waited until Sheila was better which took about a month. Trina told us about a place at Potten End who did do- it -yourself livery which was ideal for us.
We rang them and they invited us to go and have a look, tell them what we required and a price at that point would be agreed. The yard was really nice there were about 10 individual stables and a block of about 4 in the main yard and just off the main yard were about 10 more stables and a ménage. There were three large paddocks and across the way another three fields. A massive tack room and if required a huge barn separated by partitions for each person to keep their hay and straw.