However long you’ve looked after horses there are some inevitable firsts that you can only experience as a horse owner or rider — from frosty receptions in supermarkets to the walk of shame after being ditched over a hedge

1. The first time your horse smacks you in the face as you’re hanging his haynet.

2. The first time you wear your beautiful and very expensive Italian breeches and find the smear of green slobber down the back them.

3. The first time you realise that your horse has been a little too quiet for an hour or so and walk into his box to find him grinning next to a chewed/stomped-on/poo-smeared rug.

4. The first time your horse decides to help you with mucking out/ragwort gathering/poo-picking and tips over your incredibly heavy wheelbarrow.

5. The first time you find yourself sitting alone in a freezing cold barn at 2am, praying to every God you’ve ever heard of that you’ll still have a horse in the morning.

6. The first time you walk two miles across field and dale in full hunting kit, trying to muster as much dignity as you can and retrieve the bl**dy thing that chucked you off at the last hedge before careering off into the distance.

7. The first time your ridiculously gangly baby horse, who has spent six months struggling with the fact he has four legs, picks up the correct canter lead twice in a row.

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8. The first time you go to the supermarket straight from the yard and wonder why people around you are wrinkling their noses and backing off a bit.

9. The first time you discover your horse lying down having a snooze in his box or in the field and go and join him for an hour’s ‘chillax’.

10. The first time the sun comes out, the rugs come off, the mud disappears, your horse is sleek and shiny and you think, ‘Oh yes – THIS is why I do it!’