Hurrah! The competition season will soon begin in earnest — and the following may well sound familiar to you…

1. You’ve laminated your competition schedules for this year already.

2. With your anniversary/birthday coming up, your “other half” offers to take you to a swanky restaurant to celebrate. You refuse, as you’ll need to be up at 5am the next morning to plait up. Does he not know you at all?

3. The only time your OH/mum/best mate is likely to see you over the next few months is when they’re calling your dressage test for you, or trying to take a photo of you going over the double, as instructed, so you can dissect the strong and weak points of your jumping position.

4. You keep a spare set of competition clothes in your trailer/lorry at all times. In fact, you’ve spent more weekends sleeping in your lorry than you have at home.

5. You’ve got a bit spotty — not surprising as your entire diet consists of takeaways from the burger vans at shows. More than once, when you’re really starving on your way home, you’ve considered seeing if your lorry will fit through the drive-thru at your local McDonalds.

6. Your favourite Christmas/birthday/anniversary present was the thermos flask your OH bought you. It might not seem romantic, but roses and chocolates only last a few days, whereas a proper, hot cup of tea/coffee after a brisk cross-country round is the gift that keeps on giving.

Continued below…

7. All of your work colleagues are secretly checking their Facebook and Tinder accounts — you’re secretly checking Equo for competitions you may have missed near you. And by “near”, you mean within a 100 mile radius.

8. Summer holiday? And miss two vital weeks in the middle of the competition season — you have to be joking! You always go on holiday in winter — it’s cheaper then anyway, so double bonus.

9. Your competition boots cost more than all the rest of the pairs of shoes in your wardrobe put together. In fact, they cost more than the actual wardrobe.

10. One wall in your bedroom is dedicated to your display of rosettes. Yeah, you’re an adult — so what?

11. You’ve already planned what you’ll say in your autobiography when you’re as famous as Mary King or Carl Hester.

12. You’re completely broke from competition entries and travelling costs, but you’ve never been happier.

Calling all show secretaries!

To have your show included in our 2016 directory free of charge, please send the date of your event, venue name, town, county, secretary’s telephone number and details of the disciplines running — stating whether they are affiliated or not — to: Madeleine Pitt, Horse & Hound, 8th floor, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0SU, or by email to All show listings must be received by midnight on Sunday 31 January 2016.