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Dear diary,

So, it’s definitely back to earth with a bump; no Badminton phone call and I’m back with a shoe off and my foot resembling a Christmas present wrapped by Stevie Wonder.

But being a “water trough half full” kind of a guy — on the plus side my new friend Mary actually mentioned me in her Facebook page (hark at me) and there’s a new mare at the yard. Admittedly she’s come with a fella in tow but he’s smaller than me so I’m not in the least bit concerned. Besides which, I am an international superstar with famous friends and yes, I will pull that card and no, I have NO shame; not when it comes to mares on this yard — a sight which is rarer than a cream cake at fat class.

So, on the foot issue, I do actually think mother is infecting everyone around her with her propensity to worry. Ok, I had been going great guns since Belton, hell bent on getting fit and ready for “the call” (if Mr Bartle has merely lost my number then I’m sure Horse & Hound can pass it on), but just because I went a tiny bit reluctant to move forward, it should not have necessitated farriers and vets turning up like something out of Mission Impossible. But I forget. This is mother — the woman who can turn over reaction into a national sport. So, I have been poked, prodded, X-rayed (and yes, I do now glow in the dark I’ve been irradiated that many times) and examined. Net result? The very very deep hole in my foot (hereby known as the crater of chaos or Hovis’ hole — which on second thoughts sounds way too dodgy so we’ll stick with the crater) is healing, and as part of the very normal healing process, it’s tightening up which is making my foot sore. I have presently got no shoe on and as a precaution I spent the weekend back in dry poultice “just in case” and now I’m awaiting the arrival of the bent and battered Cool New Shoes Man to replace said shoe with my special plate on it.

So, this minor debacle has meant that the first time the new potential lady love clapped eyes on me I’m sporting half a mile of silver tape on my foot and my mother is hysterical. Great start. “Hi, I’m Hovis — don’t worry about your potential future mother-in-law, she is being medicated and yes I am wearing a sticky silver sock. I am famous though…” It’s a wonder she didn’t run screaming to the other end of the field. She didn’t though. Her and the boyfriend stood gazing at me adoringly (to be fair who doesn’t?) and then sticking her nose in the water trough and splashing water in my direction. I couldn’t quite figure out if that was to be playfully coquettish or whether she is actually trying to electrocute me so she can steal my grass. You can never be too sure with women…

So, it’s been a quiet weekend which was quite nice because the weather was lovely. I did think that running around Badminton in that heat might not have been as much fun as it sounded so well done to all who jumped so well. I am heartened to hear that it was won by a mare who was described as a “freak” and a “cross-country machine”. I’m thinking this now strengthens my case as both of those expressions have been applied to me — one of them a lot more than the other but heh close enough?!

Continued below…


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So, I’m awaiting my shoe going back on this week and the “operation get fit for Burghley” to commence. Because I think that’s the selectors’ plan — wait until the end of the season to select my rider? Make them work hard for it? I mean, look how brilliantly Ros Canter did at Badminton — and who gave her the pep talk? Moi. Seriously people, I haz a track record here. Jonty comes for tips — he wins Belton. Ros comes for a chat — she does brilliantly on her next ride out. And just look at what being stabled next to me for two days did for Nip and Tuck Shop. I am a coach extraordinaire!

If any of you need tips then you know where I am. My “Dear Hovis” agony aunt column will be open for letters shortly so any performance issues then just write.

Laters,
Hovis