Hovis’ Friday diary: ‘I didn’t know whether mother was going to cry, spontaneously combust or murder someone’

  • Dear diary,

    So did you enjoy last week’s recall of the Saturday drama at the cult meeting Your Horse is Alive? Wait until I tell you about the Sunday!

    So to recap on events; I’ve already opened two shows with my new friend Mr Billington, we’ve jumped an insultingly low cross pole and I’ve dealt with the spotlight like a pro. I spent my Saturday meeting fans and generally lapping up the limelight until I realised at 1800 hours when everyone went home that I’d barely eaten all day and was pretty hungry. All in all I’d had a good day!

    So Sunday morning dawned cold and bright and a bedraggled mother turned up cursing a lack of power down at the demonstrator area meaning she couldn’t dry her hair. Mother with wet hair resembles a fat, soggy poodle which always amuses me no end, so despite the fact that Aunty Becky started tacking me up before I’d even had breakfast I was in a good mood. Aunty Becky and I tootled off to the other indoor arena for a leg stretch while mother mucked out my stable and prepared the stall. Twenty minutes later I was still in a good mood but mother definitely wasn’t. No one had noticed the surface in the other arena was a tad damp and as such hadn’t noticed the effect that wet silica sand had on my once pristine white feathers. Ooooppppps. They were now a matted brown mess and I didn’t know whether mother was going to cry, spontaneously combust or murder someone. It was a very close call.

    What followed was 30 panic-filled minutes of mother trying to get enough hot water out of the ladies’ toilets with a cup into a bucket while dad and Aunty Becky frantically tried to brush the mess out of my feathers. I ended up with slightly brown, soaking wet feathers and a hysterical mother who kept repeating “he’s on with Geoff in 45 minutes, what are we going to do?” in a zombie-like voice and a horrified look on her face.

    Thank God, however, for some guardian angles in the form of the ladies on the NAF stand and a wonderful guy whose Shire horse was in the village with me. Between them, dad’s persistence and their magic potions my feathers were turned from a soggy brown mess into gleaming white fluffy leg warmers in time for me to be tacked up and go and meet my new best mate ahead of our performance. Dad looked smug, Aunty Becky looked relived and mum looked like shed been put through the wringer.

    Before Mr B got a leg up, one of the kids from Geoff’s show asked if she could have a sit on me so she got a leg up and swiftly announced she wanted to swap steeds, with her jumping me and Geoff taking her pony. She’s going to go far that girl with such an eye for top talent. I looked smug, her pony looked like it was plotting my demise and Mr B demanded his horse back.

    So we all hung out together, taking photos and Mr B and I wandering about and just chillin’ — two top dudes together. Then the curtain came back and we were off! Now the wonderful course builder had given me a slightly less insulting jump and we cleared it to cheers from the crowd — a sound I have grown to love. This is what I was BORN to do.

    After the first show I headed back to the village (with my security team – check me out!) and went to meet my fans. Mum signed books, smiled and tried to not look like she’d been having a nervous breakdown only an hour earlier. I cuddled, kissed, licked and generally hung out before doing the silence at 11am to pay our respects to the fallen.

    At lunchtime mum pushed off and I was told I was being auctioned off. This alarmed me briefly until I thought about all the famous people who were around who would no doubt be vying to buy me.

    It turned out that a lesson with me was being auctioned off for the wonderful Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony charity and it went to a wonderful fan of mine for £150. I was very proud and honoured to have someone pay that kind of money for me — even if I’m definitely worth it — so thank you to my very kind lot winner. We shall have a ball when we get together — I can promise you, you’ve never ridden anything like me!

    Mum nearly bought a jumping lesson to help us with our Wobbleberry challenge training — which had suddenly become rather real after the press turned up to take photos of us accepting our starter pack the day before. Between “feather-gate” and the dawning realisation of what she’s agreed to do, it’s fair to say mum spent most of the day looking rather shell shocked.

    So Sunday afternoon saw my final show with Mr B and we had a few moments together outside. I know in my heart he was silently crying for the loss of the ride and pondering how he could ask mum to send me to his yard for us to take on the showjumping world. He’s a man’s man though so he was just crying on the inside…

    We went in and went through our performance. He asked me to step it up and I might have given a few little bunny hop style bucks down the long side to excited screams from the crowd. What can I saw? I’m a showman, he’s a showman and his bum is a lot stickier than mum’s so what the heck eh? Besides which, I was having a ball and might have been a tad excited. The videos of this are on my Facebook pages if you want to watch.

    Continued below…

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    We finished our bit of the show and I went back to spend the last few hours of the show meeting more of my fans and selling more of my books. For all of you who missed me there then you can buy all FIVE books from www.bransbyhorses.co.uk as well as the legendary “Team Hovis” black polo shirts that all my “crew” wear. All the money goes to less well off equines who don’t hang out with mega stars. I’m a generous dude like that…

    Talking of mega stars, I did have a surprise visitor on Sunday afternoon — none other than the legend that is Monty Roberts! I came out of my stable to hang out with him in the weak autumn sunshine, he whispered in my ear and I whispered back. Tell you what we said? No, that’s between us but you can guess if you like?

    Anyway it’s fair to say I’m only just coming down off the high from the weekend which was amazing. Thank you to the team for inviting us, to all who came to see me, who supported us, bought the books, posted on social media and helped us to raise our profile to help us raise even more money. A special thank you to Mr Billington who was a joy to work with, a total dude and who I am more than happy to go and jump with all over the world.



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