Olympia kicks off today (13 December 2016) and with it comes the rare phenomenon of the migration of the country-based equestrian to London. The big smoke can be an intimidating environment so here is H&H’s guide to spotting your fellow visitors
1. White breeches and jodhpur boots
If the Olympia visitor is under the age of 12 then full riding kit is of course essential. Well you never know, Charlotte Dujardin might get sick and need a stand in…
2. Seeing strides
All riders know that it is vitally important to ensure you see a stride to disembark either a travelator or an escalator. Children are also likely to be cantering rather than walking. Practice makes perfect.
3. Standing on the left of an escalator
Sure, the sign says “stand on the right” but you pass left to left in an arena so why should this be any different?
4. Earls Court confusion
The tube station is a common meeting ground for many equestrians, but with its two tube lines and multiple platforms, it is also a confusing environment. It is best to work together and follow the herd to ensure you are heading in the right direction.
5. Chatting on the tube
Although London etiquette dictates that silence must be maintained on the tube at all times, this doesn’t stop a country-based equestrian. Surely everyone wants to know that Trigger’s extended trot has really improved or that Blackmore Vale Pony Club’s showjumping team is on top form this year?
6. Oyster card chaos
The concept of an Oyster card confuses many London visitors. Where are you meant to put it and how can it know how much money you need to pay? Surely this is some form of dark magic?
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7. Shopping bags
While most uneducated people think that Regent Street and Oxford Circus are the places to shop, all equestrians know that Olympia’s shopping village holds all the answers. No self-respecting Olympia attendee leaves without at least half his or her body weight in shopping.
8. Fluffy headbands
No matter the weather every eqeustrian knows a fluffy headband is essential wear for Olympia. Actually it is probably necessary to buy another one in a different colour while there just in case (see point 7).
9. A miscellaneous whip
While there is no shortage of whips at their yard, Olympia visitors simply must buy a new shiny one while in London (see point 7). Sure, it can mean a few dodgy looks on the train home, but who really cares?
10. Generic riding slogan t-shirt
“Keep calm and kick-on”, “Eat, sleep, ride, repeat” or “Moody Mare” — take your pick. A slogan t-shirt is a must-have for many Olympia spectators. If you are not already wearing one probably best to buy one while at Olympia (see point 7).
11. Christmas cheer
Finally and most importantly, every Olympia spectator knows that it is quite simply the best outing at this time of year so grab your tube map, warn your bank manager and make sure you know the words to the First Noel.
Don’t miss our full report from Olympia Horse Show in the 22 December issue of Horse & Hound magazine