Well it’s all over and I’m back to normality, back in my field, mucky and anonymous under my rugs, once again a normal horse in a normal field in normalsville. But for a brief few shining moments last weekend, I was someone; basking under the spotlights I was meant to shine under, hobnobbing with equine royalty and meeting my fans in the way I was born to do. And it was WONDERFUL!
It started quite normally with me being chucked out into the field and left to munch and meander about, but then everything changed. Mother and Aunty EM turned up and a military-level mission of packing, food preparation, scrubbing, plaiting and chalking was swiftly activated. Those two are scary when they’re on one, and boy were they on one! Then dad turned up and I was bundled aboard the trailer and off we set. I shall skim over the minor panic of the trailer electrics not fitting dad’s new car, the hysterics, the detour to Halfords and the 1.5hrs in the carpark trying to get it all to work, as mere unnecessary details. Let’s face it people, this is all about me and details of mother having a melt down over electrics is not needed.
Eventually we arrived down at the home of the cult that is Your Horse is Alive and I was whisked through total chaos of lorries and people all unloading in the dark without a moment’s consultation about whether I was mentally prepared for all this. It’s a wonder I don’t need therapy, I tell you – the total faith that I won’t bat an eyelid at anything is very heart-warming, but totally misplaced as a certain very wonderful and very famous event rider could testify to later in the weekend…
Eventually after navigating the equivalent of a retail Tough Mudder, I arrived at my stable and settled in with lots of other dudes and dudettes. I’d apparently not got the memo that it was a black and white ball as I was pretty much the only non-piebald there, but then we all know I like to stand out in a crowd.
Mum and Dad made sure I was settled, chucked my new PJs on and then disappeared off. In the meantime I made friends with a very nice security guard, who was scared of horses and who insisted I looked like I should be called Colin (something that tickled mother the next day) and generally got ready for the next day.
So, the next day arrived and it’s fair to say it was pleasantly quiet. I wasn’t really due to do anything until the day after so I hung out and met my fans. I also got a tad bored so mum loaded my treat ball up with some natural treats we’d be given by a nice company at the event and I played “find the treat”.
Now it’s fair to say a few hours down the line, mum was regretting that decision more than a sumo wrestler regretting his underwear choices. This is because I was bouncing off every wall in the place with eyes the size of saucers and mum was having to apologise to everyone within a 6-mile radius. I have no idea what was in those “natural” treats, but it’s fair to say I reacted to them like a toddler to a tube full of blue smarties. I was high as a kite, mother was stressed out of her tree and dad had the resigned look of a man whose wife had been let loose in Harrods in the Boxing Day sales with his credit card. It was a fun day. Well for me it was anyway. Mum left that night muttering about alcohol and drowning herself in a bath – apparently there wasn’t a gas oven at the hotel for her to put her head in…
She was even happier at 0600 the following morning when upon arrival she removed my rug and recoiled in horror. I’m kind of glad that I didn’t have a mirror as apparently, I looked like the elephant man – my neck was a sea of angry huge lumps and pus. Fair to say I had clearly had a massive reaction to something, which wasn’t good when I was due a reunion with the queen of eventing in 2.5 hours time. The emergency vet was called, the head of health and safety arrived, the general of the Hovite army arrived and all looked concerned. Mum eyed the prosecco for the lunchtime drinks reception and her credit card with equal ferocity, whilst the vet stuck a large needle in my neck and up unmentionable parts we don’t discuss. It was decided I was going to in fact live and a huge sigh of relief went up from all concerned, not least the vet who had had a sudden moment of clarity as to what Herman the German Needle Man’s life is like…
In myself I felt fine, which I proved shortly after when dad took me for a leg stretch in the main arena where the stunt horses were strutting their stuff. Boringly Dad was only leading me so I walked sedately around a few times, ignoring the cavorting that was going on in close proximity and choosing to adopt an air of aloof indifference. Which worked well until a very flashy-looking grey piaffed past, regarding me as though I should be pulling a plough and I felt I was letting my breed down. I grew to 19HH, snorted a few times, chucked in a few cheeky leg yields and considered a series of bucks until I saw the look on mother’s face. In my mind I could smell the fresh soil of the grave she was mentally digging and thus rapidly re-thought this idea on the fly. Having evaluated my options of living to see out the following 10 minutes, let alone being reunited with my GB eventing partner, I decided a strategic retreat might be in order. See, I can be sensible – some times. Although to be fair I would be awesome as a stunt horse – ask Mary about my moves…
So, I’m going to leave you there until next week, when I shall tell you all about my reunion with the mighty Mary King, languishing in the limelight, my selfies with a socialite Shetland and making Emily King’s Instagram pages.
NB: Hovis’ latest book – Hovis’ Friday Diary: Going Hell for Feather – is now available to order online from Bransby.
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