At the same time as the post above, we had run out of horses to sell. Back then all bar racehorses had to travel in the hold of the ships. First the dockers were on strike and then it was bad weather.
I think we only had three or four horses in for sale. One was heavily in foal, the other two were lame and the fourth was a 14.2 pony that had been there for about 8 weeks and we had been unable to catch her.
So, being bored, the lad that worked with me decided that it was time we caught her.
That in itself was a mornings work. She would not be cornered, would not follow another horse, would not come through the open gate and if she thought you were getting to close she would pop the 4'6" rails as if they were a caveletti.
Eventually with the help of two GSD dogs, one of which grabbed her top lip, we caught her. (The dog was not trained to do this so it shocked me that somehow he knew it was a way to hold an animal as they do in the wild)
Once the mare was caught she was fine to do anything with. I tacked her and took her into the arena. Well, what a start to a Monday morning!
She was nutter. Tried to charge off, bucked for fun and if she saw a jump she would fly leap and tank off over it.
This mare was a 'cheapie' bought at a sale to make up a full load. I could see why she was at a sale!
I took her from the arena into the field where there were no jumps but she was just as bad.
Neil was leaning over the gate doubled up with laughter and making all sorts of not so polite comments.
I noticed before he did a Polls Royce coming up the drive. The car stopped by the arena gate and a chauffeur got out and opened a back door for an elderly lady.
At this point I was vainly trying to find the brakes from a fast canter to a trot or walk or better still a halt!
I half headed the mare to the gate which was a silly thing to do, she took one look at it, sped up, did two fly leaps and popped the gate with Neil jumping to the side. This put me back in the arena heading straight to a parallel the wrong way. I vainly hauled on one rein to steer her around it but she was locked and we popped it as nothing.
Somehow I managed to slow her down and heading straight to Neil who was away from the gate, she slowed down considerably and I jumped off, holding her reins. She then stopped.
We walked to the arena gate and the lady was smiling like a Cheshire cat. She was smitten with this pony that "Jumped when there were no jumps" and was just what she was looking for her grand daughter who was fourteen.
I explained to the woman that there was no way this pony was suitable for a novice child as she was in a great need of schooling.
The old girl was stubborn, the reason her granddaughter had not won at a gymkhana was because she was riding an old schoolmaster pony from a riding school If she had a horse like this then she would win.
She then asked a price. I thought of a figure and trebled it, three times.
She never batted an eyelid. I insisted that the pony be vetted thinking that I could explain the situation and get them to fail it. She was insistent that the pony was taken home with them there and then.
Thinking this was a way out I told her the horsebox was off the road in need of a repair. She asked where she could buy a trailer. I again explained that neither the trailer dealer (five miles down the road,) not I would take a cheque. She again astounded me and said she would go to the bank.
I thought it would be the last we saw of her but an hour or so later back she came towing a brand new top of the range trailer. She paid cash for the mare - which loaded beautifully.
I was insistent that if they had problems to let me know and I would take the mare back. She agreed.
Now, our reputation as dealers was made not on the good horses you sold but on the bad ones. I would always take any horse we had sold back and had more than once refused to sell if it was obviously unsuitable.
The only reason I sold this mare was because the woman said that as the stables weren't finished they would turn her out on twenty acres. I knew they would never catch her!
I never heard another word from her.