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Hovis’ Friday diary: how to generate a good bonk, and other ways to upset your human

Dear diary,

It’s day 978,530,297,586 of the human strangles epidemic. All around the country however, box rested humans are slowly beginning return to work programmes, which appears to be a very religious experience; whether it be calling to the almighty when being asked to walk further than the biscuit tin on knees creaking louder than the seams of their trousers (the “oh God” moment), wracking brains addled by binge watching Tiger King to remember their work passwords (the “for God’s sake” moment), or the prayer that they can still get their well-conditioned asses into rugs more formal than lounge wear (the “please God” moment.)

To be fair, the experience of being anywhere with my mother is a similarly religious one (filed under the “God, why me” moments) and it appears I am not alone. After last week’s diary, I was inundated with messages from fellow equines dreading the inevitable return of the delusional dressage divas, the senseless showjumping saddos and the clueless cross-country clowns, all of whom have spent far too much time during lockdown reading 1,001 ways to think you are capable of riding more than a rocking horse. It would appear therefore, that my advice on work avoidance couldn’t have come soon enough. Last week we covered the simple first steps of escape, evasion, inflation and amnesia, which should hopefully have got you a few more day’s respite. Or an exclusive non-socially distanced meet and greet with the Horse & Hound classified pages. Either way, hopefully it got you out of being the lab rat for the “200 reason transitions are fun” experiment that your mother was recommended by the well-known equestrienne Karen from Facebook last week.

That said, humans can be tenacious little creatures, and as such they may be becoming wise to your ways. So now it’s time to step it up a level to utterly ensure your hairy hapless human hay-bringer spends more time sobbing in the barn than studying shoulder-in…

Level one: Shoe search parties

The one thing designed to make your hirsute humans howl (trust me it’s hysterical) is to conveniently lose a shoe about an hour before they were hoping to ride. I find standing with a foot casually cocked at a jaunty angle so that they see you are sans shoe as soon as you’re in eyeline is a worthwhile tactic — you get to watch their smiles slip faster than an eskimo on a snow pole. Full marks if you manage to flick your shoe in the Bermuda triangle, but in this socially distanced world, the chances of them getting a farrier anytime soon are slim. Unless you’re Barbie Boy, in which case you wait less than 12 hours and Cool New Shoes Man is there. Full marks to him for trying it two days on the bounce, but he underestimates how expensive weddings are and how grateful CNSM is to mum and I for paying for his…

Level two: Sudden onset headshaking

Now, if you followed last week’s advice to the letter of the stressage test, the chances of your human either getting on board or staying on board are smaller than the survival chances of a doughnut at a fat-fighter class, but there are a few humans whose tenacity is in inverse proportion to their IQ, so it’s time to take it up a notch. The head that is. So, close your eyes imagine a giraffe, a long-necked, high head carriage giraffe. Imagine that long, bendy neck reaching upwards to the head. Now imagine that giraffe is called Stevie. Wonder. Poof! Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m back indoors, while the mothership sits rocking on the mounting block, Googling how much Piriton to give a ¾ tonne hayfever sufferer. I know peeps; that’s what friends are for…

The only downside is that your mother can be a bit lightening fast with solutioning, and you can find yourself sporting a Darth Vador style riding mask faster than you can say “I am your father”. Just saying…

Level three: sudden onset bilateral lameness

Now this one carries a degree of risk as an option. I mean, like the life-ending sort of risk, because if you’re rather too good at this, the end result could be a one way trailer journey to the pasture in the sky, so you’ve got to time this to perfection and never ever do a Halle Berry at the Oscars — i.e. over-ham it so much that even your reflection wants to end it. The trick is to do just enough for them to be convinced you’re not fit to work, but not so much that they’re selling your tack on eBay. In terms of scale, you’re aiming for bute not bullet.

Wait until your human catches you (which may take some time if you’re following last week’s instructions), at which point you are to give no hint of a problem. After prancing about for a suitable length of time (as a guide I wait until the gentle “come here baby boy” has turned into a snarled threat involving my ancestry, my future career in financial services and the current market rate per lb for horse meat), allow yourself to be caught and led towards whatever area the human uses to tack you up. At this point, limp. Think of the old joke “what goes 99 bonk, 99 bonk? A caterpillar with a wooden leg” and generate a good bonk. Which is not a sentence I ever envisaged writing…

Continued below…

Anyway, the real trick of this is no matter how many times they run you up and down, whose opinion they ask, or how many tears they shed, just remember to switch legs more frequently than a politician switching sides on Brexit. If you have a human that is flappier than Daffy at a rave and calls the vet, then ensure you treat them to a trot-up so magnificent and sound you have Viagra hanging up his leg warmers, such that the vet suggests to your mother a trip to Specsavers or a restraining order. The minute the vet has left repeat as required.

The expression on your human’s face? Priceless. For everything else there’s Mastercard… and a very, very large overdraft…

Laters,

Hovis

P.S For those of you looking for some entertainment during these strange times, then let me remind you all six of my books are available from the online shop at www.bransbyhorses.co.uk and are sold with 100% of the money going to the charity. A good read and a good deed — what’s there not to like?!

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