(working-class woman writing - don't be surprised if it does what it says on the tin - ha!)
I bought a horse. She was a 15:2hh three-quarter thoroughbred mare, brown coloured with a white stripe down her face. Her name was Molly. A good-looking, feisty horse is what she was. I got a bank loan to buy her. She cost £750. I was still working at the biscuit factory at the time, so I ended up doing the same routine as before only this time with my own horse: going to work, going to the stables and then going to bed for the rest of the day. The shift pattern worked so I got four days off on the trot (pun intended), so it was good in that respect. I did a bit of shopping around before I settled on Molly. I remember viewing a horse that had circular bald patches on it’s neck and body, which I immediately recognized as ringworm. I’d learnt about this at the first riding school I worked at, and knew it was highly contagious. The owner explained the hair loss as being due to the horse rubbing against the stable door. I was aware that this sometimes happened but the patches on this horse were too random, and besides there was another horse in the stable exhibiting similar symptoms. When I got home I searched the yellow pages for the horse vet in that area, and gave him a ring. I was concerned for the welfare of the horses, as well as the fact that this person was trying to sell them on; perhaps the next person wouldn’t recognize the symptoms. The vet said he knew the people that owned the horses, and that he would call round when he had time. So, I left it at that.
When I first got Molly, I found a livery yard that was in the same village as the small riding school where I used to work (they said I could to use their outdoor menage to do a bit of schooling). The proprietors of the livery yard would feed and water your horse if you were unable to get for some reason, which was reassuring. However, it turned out to be expensive, and I quickly looked around for alternative arrangements. I soon found a place. It was in my home village, not far from where my mum lived, actually. My mum lived across the road from where the old quarry used to be. A few years back it had been filled in and landscaped. It is now a hilly attraction, with meandering tree-lined walkways that lead to the summit. Next to this there is a public footpath about 4 miles long, which traverses several fields and leads right up to the monastery.
About half a mile along the public footpath you pass a small-holding type of place. (Allegedly, a member of the 1970s pop group ‘Showaddywaddy’ had lived there for a while.) The current owners had built a small block of five stables, and there was a barn and storeroom in which to keep your tack and food stuff. They also had two big fields adjacent to the stables, where you could ride and put up jumps. It was a DIY arrangement, and they didn’t charge very much. It was ideal for me. Subsequently, Molly and I moved home: me to my mum’s house and Molly to the new stables.
To cut a long story short: