You’ve met an ordinary member of the public, perhaps at a party, perhaps at work. Conversation has somehow turned to the fact that you own a horse. Unable to escape without looking rude, and realising that you suddenly seem a lot more animated, the member of the public is thus forced to ask you some polite questions about said horse. They usually go something like this:

1. “Do you know *insert name of another horse owner who lives in roughly the same part of the country as you. England, perhaps, or Wales*?”

What you say: No, I don’t think I do.

What you think: Yes, probably. Or at least, you know someone who knows them. That’s the horse world for you.

2. “Isn’t it terribly dangerous?”

What you say: There is always a risk when horses are involved, but there’s plenty you can do to minimise the chances of getting hurt.

What you think: Not really as your horse seems to spend more time on box rest than in work. Although the experience of walking him in hand after six-weeks enforced rest is probably more risky than jumping around any cross-country course. Any volunteers for a spot of equine kite flying?!

3. “Have you ever fallen off?”

What you say: Yes, but it’s not a big deal.

What you think: Yes, more times than I would like to admit. Time to replace yet another hat.

4. “Do you have to pay for stabling and feed and all that stuff?”

What you say: I don’t have land of my own, so yes, he’s on livery at a local yard.

What you think: No, he earns his keep with a Saturday job delivering newspapers, and actually I sometimes send him to Tesco on his own to do the weekly shop.

5. “Do you ride every day?”

What you say: Yes, of course. I’m no fair weather rider.

What you think: Well I would if he’d just stay sound for long enough… (see aforementioned comment about box rest)

6. “Do you do dressage?” *Looks really pleased with themselves for remembering the word ‘dressage.’*

What you say: Well, you know, a bit. We got placed at the Area Festivals this year. (Cue blank look once more from member of public.)

What you think: But if pirouettes and a floating extended trot across the field when you’re trying to catch him to be ridden count, then you’re Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro.

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7. “How do you look after a horse, and work full time, and have a social life? I barely have time for the gym after work!”

What you say: Your horse/life balance is run to a tightly managed schedule.

What you think: Social life — what’s one of those? As for the gym — forget it! Your horse comes first and you sort of hope for the best with the rest.

8. “Have you ridden at Badminton/Burghley/Olympia/Horse Of The Year Show?”

What you say: Not yet, but maybe one day.

What you think: Only in our dreams!