Call us mad, but there are some things we all end up doing on the yard that we know we shouldn't — from wearing unsuitable shoes to mucking out in our work clothes

1. Mucking out in work clothes

It’s Monday morning and you’re running late, so instead of rushing to the yard then coming home for a quick shower and change, you decide to get ready now and go straight from the yard to work. All you have to do then is change your shoes — win! And it is, so long as you don’t mind your colleagues spending the whole day sniffing and saying, ‘What’s that smell?’ Answer: it’s your hair. It smells of horse pee. Still, you weren’t late for work and that’s what matters.

2. Leading in unsuitable shoes

In your own yard, not going near your horse in a pair of, say, Converse, is one of those rules that tends to fall by the wayside, particularly on hot, sunny days where you’re just bringing him in from the field for a quick feed and don’t fancy pulling on a pair of sweaty boots. This does mean that, at some point, you’ll be stood on by a half-ton beast while wearing a pair of Crocs. (You, not the horse. That would be weird.) It really hurts. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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3. Telling people you’re moving yards

There’s only one thing horsey people like to do more than ride, and that’s gossip. Should you casually mention to someone that you’ve heard that such-and-such a yard is a pretty good place, you’ll instantly be met with the response, ‘Oh no, their fencing is unsafe/their tackroom is full of saddle-eating mice/their school has a massive hole in it that leads directly to Hell.’ It doesn’t matter if the facilities are Olympic-standard, you’ll find yourself speaking to the one person who has a beef with them. If you’ve made the decision to move, keep it yourself. Do not tell anybody – repeat, anybody. Oh. You already did.

4. Leading too many horses at once

This is a tricky one. We all know that leading multiple horses by yourself may result in our limbs being torn off like something out of a Greek myth, should said horses all take off in opposite directions. Or at least being left standing watching helplessly as one or more horses return to their stables/field sans handler with their leadrope twirling dangerously around their legs. But on the other hand, many horses experience severe anxiety — OK, totally lose the plot — if left in the field on their own. This basically means that although we know we shouldn’t lead two horses or more at once, we do it anyway. And hope for the best.

5. Lungeing without gloves

Put down a pair of riding gloves, and they will instantly vanish through some wormhole. Right now, somewhere in Outer Space, millions of lost gloves are swirling around together, like a giant inter-galactic whirlpool. This is something to ponder when you’ve decked your horse out in his lungeing gear and brought him up to the school, only to discover your gloves have vanished. The solution — naturally — is to go ahead and lunge him anyway. You may lose some skin from your fingers and palms — but who needs skin anyway? Just don’t shake hands/high-five anyone for a few days. You have been warned!

6. Worrying about our horses being horses

Being humans, we have a tendency to, well, humanise everything. In summer, we worry about our horses being too hot; in winter, too cold. We worry if we’re turning them out enough, or too much, and if they’re wearing enough rugs, or too many. We worry about how they’re interacting with their field mates, and if they’re enjoying their ridden work. It’s silly, really, because deep down we all know that so long as our horses get enough food, water and leisure time, that’s pretty much all their dreams come true. Sure, they have other needs in terms of regular visits from the farrier and the vet, but they certainly don’t worry about any of that stuff. All they really want to do is mooch about, being horses. So stop worrying! Go, on, stop it!

So come on. It’s time to confess. What are the things you do with your horses which you know you shouldn’t? Let us know below…

  • Oliver Clarke

    Never use lead ropes/headcollars (not good when you have a mare), use flip-flops in the yard, and take my hard hat off on a horse if there’s something in it or it’s just too hot…so un-pony club!!

  • Scarlett

    I lead my horse by his mane instead of walking two steps to get his halter and lead rope xD

  • katphoti

    Since I live in Arizona in the USA, my footwear of choice far beats Converse or Crocs: I am well known to wear cheap Walmart plastic flip flops when doing horse chores. Yes, I am well aware that someday one or both of my feet will be degloved. And I will be yelling at myself the entire time I am in the ER, telling myself I told myself so.

  • Dave Tate

    I hand feed treats to my horses, knowing i will end up being bit or kicked, yes both have happened more then i admit, Also i work with 1 horse while in field with 3 or more others, Dangerous and crazy as they pay more attention to there friends then to me.,