In a special one-off blog, Skint Dressage Daddy, the long suffering father of a horse mad 11-year-old daughter gives his honest opinion on the equestrian phenomenon that is 'matchy matchy'

I learnt a new phrase this week. It’s ‘matchy matchy’. You may have heard it yourselves.

Basically, if I’m to understand it correctly, it means that when dressing your horse up like a doll, you’re supposed to ensure the various garments are the same colour. It seems flexible as to what they’re the same colour as exactly, it could be each other or it could be the human clothes on top of it. The gist is that stuff matches.

Now, on the face if it, I get it. Honestly, I do. Stuff looks nice when colours are co-ordinated. I may only be a man but this isn’t rocket science. It’s not beyond me. My grey car has rather fetching red brake calipers for example and I like that. Though clearly those are two different colours, so maybe I don’t get it after all. But I think I do. I get the idea.

But here’s where things go pear-shaped for me. You see, I only have the one car and it only has one set of brake calipers. They’re red. The car is grey. These are fixed and, within reason, unchangeable. So the colour thing was a one-time decision. Well, it was second-hand, but the previous owner made a decision I approved of.

But horses, it seems, are like people. They can own many clothes. Many, many clothes.

Now, horses basically have two main bits of clothing. They have numbnuts (the cloth thing that goes under the saddle) and leg warmers, like off of Fame. (If you’re under 40 then check with your mum for the cultural reference). They can also have some kind of weird ear mask but apparently they’re optional. So it’s normally just the two pieces but with an optional third. Like a suit. Stop me if this is going too fast for you.

So initially I thought matchy matchy would mean that when the horse needs a new numbnut for example, then it would be very nice if it were to match its leg warmers. Or vice versa. Cool. I get it (see above). It might even be nice to have a second set. Like, I dunno, blue for everyday, casual prancing and red for more formal prancing, when you have the old people making notes at the end of the horse pitch in a Nissan Qashquai.

This seems fair enough to me. It’s like my own suits. I actually have three suits currently, in my middle-aged decadence. Until I was about 35 I only ever had one suit. And I don’t just mean one at any one time, I mean it was the same suit from 16 onwards. But I finally replaced that in my 30s and eventually added two more.

One’s a linen suit for summer weddings, one’s tweed for winter and comedy value, and the third workhorse of a suit is your basic dark blue for weddings in any other season, funerals, job interviews and court appearances. And, a bit like my car’s brake calipers, guess how many shirts I match with each? I’ll tell you. One. Each suit has one shirt that goes well with it. Clearly I don’t have a proper job, but that’s another story.

So, I’ll allow that it’s cool for the horse to have two suits. Why not?

But here’s where we, finally, get to the crux of this one. How many suits does Cost Centre Two (my 11-year-old daughter) think the nag should have? About a hundred and effing fifty from what I can tell. She’s made a list and she’s ticking them off. Apparently she already has Eggshell Blue, Chocolate Brown, Luscious Lilac and Overdraft Orange. Not just a range of numbnuts, remember, but matching leg warmers too. Matchy matchy.

She was given a catalogue by Cost Centre One (my wife) last month of all the different s**t you can buy to dress up horses in all 73,000 colours and asked to mark which she wanted for a Christmas present. She folded the corner of the entire effing catalogue over and handed it back, I kid you not. I’m not even joking.

Matchy matchy? Spendy bloody spendy more like. The sad irony of this is that the horse doesn’t give two wotsits how it’s been dressed up. As far as I can tell it looks pretty miserable whatever it’s wearing, but I think that’s just the whole long face thing. It’s an old joke but there’s some truth in it, right?

So I’m going to wallow in my one car wearing one of my three cheap suits while CC1 buys CC2 a matching set of horse clothes in Gullible Green. Only 34,586 to go! And I’ll drift ever further into debty debty as the list gets ticked off. Anyone want to buy a tweed suit? I’ve got two others that’ll do me.

Skint Dressage Daddy

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