Hovis’ Friday Diary: ‘surviving stressage’

  • Dear Diary

    Well we survived the horrific stressage experience. Mum has not turned me into value horse burgers nor left me tethered to the side of the road with a “free to a good home” placard around my neck and Aunty Becky is still speaking to me…just…

    The weekend was not particularly enjoyable anyway as it was blowing a gale, strong enough to force my rug into areas of my anatomy I’d rather not discuss.  My “amigo” was getting a little more friendly than a boy would like — let’s put it that way…

    Then to make things worse mother dragged me in and scrubbed my legs within an inch of their lives, until they were glowing so white I needed sunglasses. To cap off the humiliation, mum then bandaged my legs up so I looked like a ginger fat extra from Fame, and Aunty Becky plaited me so I then looked like a fat ginger Rasta extra from Fame. Oh and posted pictures of me all over my Facebook pages. I want to appeal to someone about my horse rights I really do…

    Sunday morning dawned and despite me trying to remove my legwarmers during the night, I had managed to at least levitate sufficiently to not have any stains down my legs. So Aunty Becky seemed happy enough, finished my ridiculous haircut and off we went.

    The hack up to the event was a tad breezy and a may have had a few issues with the fact we were out yet again without wingman, but we made it.  Any reports that I spooked just outside the gateway to the venue and nearly fell in a ditch have been greatly exaggerated. I was merely practising my moves baby, honest.

    I have to say the lack of talent (meaning the female variety and not any high-steeping Flatlands Doritos wannabees) was quite disappointing. I did have a brief flirt with a curvy ginger mama with a blonde mane and tail, but I think she might have been too keen and I’d like to live to see my next birthday…

    So our turn came and Aunty Becky asked me to enter the “ring”. Well firstly, can I just say that if you want to call it a “ring” then at least put fences up. How was I supposed to know that the things on the floor weren’t trotting poles? Secondly, mum had lectured me all week about having some vavavvoom and Aunty Becky had stated on my Facebook pages she wanted me excited.

    So I gave her excited. 

    Right down the centre line.

    In canter.

    Which apparently is frowned upon in a walk and trot test? 

    Then I spotted some woman sat in the car at the end of the “ring” with a clipboard. Fearing she might be chief buyer for Tesco’s, I swiftly changed direction and took us out of harm’s way.  Ignoring some strange woman, who was shouting out random commands about walking and Aunty Becky’s attempts to make me slow down, I executed a perfect S shape in the middle of the grass and neatly trotted over the trotting pole.

    By this stage Aunty Becky was getting quite insistent about the walking thing and in fact was so far back in the saddle, I wondered if she was doing a touch of tail plaiting whilst in motion. I did briefly agree to walk and kept my head down taking furtive glances at the mystery woman in the car. Aunty Becky may have just twitched but I swore she was asking for trot again so off we went again.

    I appreciate it might have looked like I nearly ran over the strange woman shouting things out, but in all honesty, I was just trying to see what she was reading.  By this stage, Aunty Becky was making a funny noise like a cross between hysterical laughter and crying so we left the ring so she could sort herself out.

    Fast forward half an hour, and Aunty Becky obviously decided we’d have another go parading around in front of the suspicious woman with the clipboard in the car. I once again decided that the swifter I got through this nightmare the better. So despite a woman somewhat sarcastically asking if we might do our test slower this time, I once again power-house trotted around the grass occasionally stepping over the trotting poles like Michael Flatly on a tight rope. In my defence, it was very windy and my bunch plaits were catching the wind like sails, pulling me around quicker.  They were. Honestly.

    We finished it and waited around to find out whether the chief buyer from Tesco’s wanted to buy me for burgers.  She gave me two rosettes, which I took to mean I was second in line to be turned into lasagne — I didn’t know whether to be relieved or offended by this but Aunty Becky was delighted.

    Despite the wind, the rain, someone trying to shoot at us on the way home, the white legs, the ridiculous hairdo and the poncing, it was quite fun — especially since everyone made such a fuss when we got home. Foxy looked very impressed with my rosettes, so maybe the embarrassment was nearly worth it. Not that I’m saying I want to do it again or anything.

    On a final serious note, I know that Monday is the 11th day of the 11th Month. And that it is the day we remember all the brave men, women, dogs and horses that gave their lives, so we can roam free across our country. I think we should all say our thanks to them all for their sacrifices:

    They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old
    Age will not weary them, nor the years condemn
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning
    We shall remember them

    And a little one I wrote for the horses:

    They left their straw-filled stables
    Those beautiful horses we saw
    Left all their comfort and families
    To face the horrors of war

    Once they roamed lush green pastures
    Were guided by gentle hand
    Now for us they are crippled and bleeding
    Forced amid cannons to stand

    They have given their lives to our service
    As much as our brave men — even more
    Rightly we honour our soldiers as heroes
    How can their horses, we ignore?

    So it’s our duty to never forget them
    Nor the endless lives they gave
    So weep for all our fallen heroes
    And a tear for the horses please save

    Lest we ever forget…


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