Riding is a great leveller. Just when you think you’re at the top of your game, something will happen to bring you back down to earth with a bump. Honestly, it’s almost like horses do it on purpose sometimes….
1. Pooing during a dressage test
The horse, that is. If it was you, that would be a whole new level of mortification that even we’re not prepared to tackle. You’re not supposed to be embarrassed by your horse pooing during a dressage test. ‘Ride through it,’ you’re always told you. ‘Don’t let him stop, that’s the main thing.’ Despite this, the shotgun-style farts are drowning out the voice of your caller, and deep down, you don’t really believe that a scattering of turds down the long side of the school is likely to do much for your score.
2. White jodhpur disasters
White jodhpurs are not something anyone apart from Liz Hurley or Paris Hilton would ever choose to wear in ‘real life,’ for obvious reasons – VPL (Visible Panty Line) being a major one of them. Looking on the bright side, you can’t actually see yourself from behind, so may remain happily oblivious to the fact that everyone else in the showjumping arena now knows you’re wearing your ‘lucky’ red Snoopy knickers. It’s better that way.
3. Hacking shennanigans
You’re ambling happily along, when something spooks your horse and he suddenly decides to do his best Riverdance impression, right into the oncoming traffic. OK, so the oncoming traffic may well only be an old lady in a Nissan Micra, but she really doesn’t seem impressed that your boy’s pirouettes are way better than Michael Flatley’s. You could try and style it out by jumping off and doing a few moves yourself, but it’s probably best just to kick on and ride away. Briskly.
4. Trying to impress your non-horsey mates
‘He’s so chilled,’ you tell your friends, who’ve come to the field (OK, been dragged by you) to admire your horse. ‘We’ve got this amazing bond. Look, I can just hop on him bareback, and he doesn’t turn a hair! He’s like a big old comfy armchair!’ Unfortunately, your boy takes objection to being compared to living room furniture, and promptly dumps you. Ouch. You don’t know what hurts more, your bottom or your pride…
5. Coming off during the lap of honour
You’ve won the class! You’ve won – woohoo! You get to do a lap of honour! Just don’t show off and, for example, decide to throw your rosette into the crowd – thus spooking your horse so he unceremoniously ditches you. Any resulting visit to A&E will be nothing compared to the shame you’re feeling right now.
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6. Falling off in the jumping arena
Everyone knows what it feels like to fall off in the showjumping arena or on the cross-country course. What you might not know is that you get extra points in the international falling-off league table if it’s a water jump…