When I said that one of my female co-workers was having relationship problems; it wasn’t just out of idle gossip. Her work was suffering, and one day she broke down in tears. I suggested that she move in with us at my mum’s house, until she got things sorted out with her boyfriend. I was sure my mum wouldn’t mind, and, being a dutiful Christian, she would grasp the opportunity to help a person in need. Besides, the woman could give us some money towards board and lodging... So, she moved in with us. Like I said, she’d had some training at the Agricultural College, and she'd also had some experience working with horses. (Incidentally, this was the person from whom I bought the previously mentioned Triumph Spitfire.) Shortly after she had settled in with us, she got a little grey horse on short-term loan, and stabled it at the same place I kept mine. All in all, things worked out quite well, for a while. We would help each other out, feeding and watering the horses when the other was working - it was rather difficult trying to juggle the long hours of shift-work with looking after the horses. At least during the summer, the horses would live out in the field, and were hardly any trouble at all. There was another horse in the yard, which was owned by a middle-aged married woman. She and her husband shared the horse. Once, we all clubbed together and hired a horsebox, and took our horses to Markfield Equestrian Centre for a showjumping event. To tell the truth, my horse and I didn’t do very well with the showjumping. A good showjumper costs time and money. I had never schooled my horse in jumping, and, on reflection, it was asking a bit too much of her to do an actual course, in what was an enormous indoor arena. She was fast though: she could beat anything on the flat. I guess, it was a case of ‘horses for courses’, as the saying goes.
Once, I had a riding lesson on a really expensive horse. The owner said it was worth around £7,000.00. The horse was like nothing I’d ever ridden before. It just knew what to do. It seemed to move telepathically. You just had to point it at a jump, and go with it. It didn’t rush, either; it took everything in a measured stride, and popped effortlessly over a fence. It was just incredible. This happened a few years previous to my working on the buses, when I briefly worked at a professional show yard. The owner was quite famous in the showing world: he showed hunters, in particular. I had seen him in the magazine, ‘Horse and Hound’. I worked at the yard for a couple of weeks, on a trial period. As it happened, my time there coincided with the Horse of the Year Show, at Wembley. The owner was going to show several of his horses there, so I had to go along. It was an interesting experience, seeing behind the scenes of such an enormous and prestigious event. I memorably witnessed a professional showjumper repeatedly ride his horse over a fence, in the practice ring. Every time the horse jumped, a person on the ground would quickly lift the top pole, so the horse got smacked on the lower legs. The object of this, I imagine, was to encourage the horse to lift it’s legs; thus, avoiding knocking down the fence. I got an outlasting impression of a viciously competitive world. The person I was working for had one of those enormous horse boxes, that had sleeping compartments situated behind the cab. It was so uncomfortable. I didn’t sleep well, and felt exhausted the next day. After my two weeks trial period were up, I didn’t stay. Apart from the privilege of looking after some really exquisite animals, the position didn’t pay well (as per usual) and it was quite boring; unlike the hustle and bustle of working at a riding school. Well, 'horses for courses': this job was not for me
To cut a long story short: