There's one thing that you can count on with horses — they’re predictably unpredictable, whether out on a hack or going cross-country

1. You’re galloping around the cross-country…

…To your delight, your horse flies over the huge corner that you were worried about, without the slightest hesitation. Then he dumps you at the (relatively) tiny brush fence you barely bothered looking at when you walked the course. What is that? Taking advantage while you’re off guard? Reverse psychology? Your horse’s sense of humour? Who knows!

2. It’s absolutely hammering down with rain…

…You put on your waterproofs and schlep out to the field to bring in your horse, thinking he’ll be delighted to see you and desperate to get into his cosy, dry stable. Nope. He spends the next hour playing a fun game of ‘it’ with you, slithering happily round his mud-slide of a field, oblivious to the golf ball-sized drops of rain bouncing off his back. You don’t know what you’re cursing more — him, or the British ‘summer’!

3. Your hacks can be a wee bit hairy, to say the least, so you’re dead proud of your boy for walking calmly past a group of evil-eyed hikers, a vicious-looking wheelie bin and a field of murderous cows…

…You’re almost home and totally relaxed, when out of nowhere, you find yourself riding a snorting, backwards-running, rearing rodeo pony. The source of this freakout? A buttercup. Well, it wasn’t there last week, was it?

4. He’s all decked out in his snazzy summer uniform of fly mask and reflective fly rug that makes him look like a weird horse-robot…

…To your enormous surprise, he doesn’t manage to lose/tear this ensemble within the first day of wearing it — it takes him almost a week. Whoop!

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5. You’ve spent days, weeks, months trying to get a straight, collected walk down the centre line and perfect, graceful halt, instead of your normal shamble like a couple of drunks stumbling down the road in search of the offy…

…But as you finish off your dressage test, your boy arches his neck, picks up his feet and pulls off a smart halt that Valegro would be proud of. ‘See, I was listening,’ he tells you telepathically. ‘I was just ignoring you. Until now.’ Better late than never!