Hovis’ Friday diary: I am a particular fan of blowing out like a puffer fish with flatulence

  • Dear diary,

    It’s now day 10,978,043 of the human strangles epidemic, but there has been, in the past few days, the advice from the British Human Society (BHS), with regard to our interaction with our humans, has changed dramatically. For some the result of this will be a joyful reunion between equine and their own personal walking cheque book, whereas for others it signals the end to what has been a delightful sample of what retirement feels like.

    In my role of ambassador, philanthropist, superhero and all-round beacon of light to equines around the world, I thus will now take the opportunity to present to you your options for getting though this next period in these strange times. I have advised on how to get your human through the box resting period in previous diaries, so this week I shall focus my attention on helping those of you who have quite enjoyed this period of non-riding activity, and for whom the thought of coming out of semi-retirement is akin to some smart arse asking everyone to turn their cameras on during a conference call when your mother last encountered a hairbrush in February…

    I suggest you follow my step-by-step programme and I will GUARENTEE success — whether this is a continued retirement period or an advert stating ‘free to any home’ is debatable, but one can takes one’s chances…

    Step one: Escape

    When the shaggy, unkempt form of your unclipped human appears at your field gate, demonstrate your flight animal instincts by fleeing in the opposite direction like the love child of Scooby Doo and a Zebra (think ‘panic and run’).

    Refuse to come anywhere near your hairball human and like a good citizen, maintain social distancing at all times. For those of you struggling to visualise what 2m looks like, flatten your human to the ground and keep the length of their prone form away from them at all times. Simples.

    Step 2: Evasion

    If eventually you are lured (by either treats or the threats of ending life as a budget label lasagne) into being caught by the lardy lockdown layabouts, don’t give them time to catch their breath, but instead launch into a post-modern expressionist dance, which renacts the traumas of equines around the world in this post-apocalyptic period. If directing you, I would encourage empathy through electrocution (your human, not you) and the thoughtful inclusion of a freestyle River Dance section at a suitable juncture — usually best reserved for narrow walks or between fields. Here, call up your fellow equines to not so much “clap for our carers” but more “hooley for our humans”; legging it up and down field lines in an empathetic outpouring of energy reminiscent less of a Las Vegas-style chorus line and more of a hen night in Hartlepool. The humans will LOVE it!

    Step 3: Inflation

    Despite the obvious double standards of limiting our calorific intake when we’re on box rest, most humans will have formed a deep and meaningful relationship with the biscuit barrel while they’ve been stable-bound, so thus, don’t be surprised if the entity feeling the most pressure in this situation is the seams of the jelly jowled one’s jodphurs. In order for them to feel less embarrassed about their weight gain, I would strongly suggest blowing yourself out as soon as they put tack anywhere near your body. Just watch you don’t peak too early, as I can almost guarantee that them being able to actually get the saddle up onto your back in anything less than four attempts, accompanied by some swearing and a mild heart attack would colour me surprised… blue in fact, if you start holding your breath too early…

    I am a particular fan of blowing out like a puffer fish with flatulence just as they attempt to fasten the girth strap — it’s a brilliant game and one that can go on for some considerable time. For the more advanced among you, it can also be accompanied by the sideways step as the saddle cha-cha slides.Such fun!

    Step 4: Amnesia

    If your hirsute human is the tenacious kind, they may still be hanging on in there, so the final stages of this cunning plan involves you having the memory of Dory and the constantly perplexed expression of a spatially unaware racing pigeon.

    Useful responses can include:

    • Mounting block? Whoa! WHAT’S THAT?! Ah! It’s steps! So, I climb them right? No? You climb them and so I walk round to follow you up there? Top tip: Ad lib is good but should be timed to ensure the leg never actually makes it all the way over your back, as the human has been known to throw themselves on to you like knickers onto a Tom Jones stage
    • Walk? What’s that? Aha! Moonwalk you mean? No problemo! Top tip — the more they put their leg on, the faster you reverse, and if they take their leg off then stop. Like musical statues, minus the music.
    • Trot? Nope, sorry, don’t remember that one. I’ll not let anyone notice and I’ll freestyle, you just hang on tight and look like you’re enjoying it. Top tip: Humans pay money to go on waltzers, so look how happy they will be if you give them a similar experience for free. They always scream if they want to go faster…
    • Canter? Sorry not a chance! I don’t want to be concussed by the bouncing baggage of bellies or boobage. Top tip: lateral movement is a good one here; I’m a great fan of shoulder-in… to the arena fence.
    • Self-carriage? Nope, sorry, have no idea what that is. Here, let me lean on your hands. Top tip: Humans are told to “throw the reins” at you to prevent you from doing this. I, however, have been around that block more times than my mother has been on a diet, so I highly recommend falling over your own feet. Can then pretty much guarantee that the human doesn’t try that one again.
    • Long rein? I assume that means we’re done? Top tip: execute a swift wheel round and jauntily exit the school at speed. Wait for human to extract themselves from the sand and open the gate…

    Article continues below…

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    The above are tips only and should be used as guidance to devise your own human specific scenario. The basic aim is to re-enact the “before breaking” years and thus conveniently forget absolutely everything you’ve ever been taught. This game and variants of it can go on for days, if not weeks, and provide endless opportunities for you to help your hapless human gain back their aerobic fitness as they try to cling and swear simultaneously. They may not thank you but trust me — it’s just giving them tough love.

    Next week we shall cover chucking shoes, sudden unexplained headshaking and the deceptively simple, but hard to master ‘sudden onset bilateral lameness’. Bon chance!



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