So, I look to conclude my exciting blow by blow account of my victorious stint down at Your Horse is Alive, where I rubbed shoulders with equine royalty such as Jay Halim, Sir Lee Pearson, Sarah Bullimore and my old mate Geoff Billington. To be fair, I rubbed more than just shoulders with Jay which is another story, but it’s fair to say I think that man and I had a moment…
What, however, had got the crowds talking was the reunion of two mega-stars; a titan of the equine world, famous in every continent and an all-round eventing legend, oh and Mary King…
So on Saturday I might have blotted my copy book a tad — not where the awesome Mrs King is concerned because, let’s face it, she is a wonderful horsewoman and gets what talent is. But more my mother’s copy book, because she harbours under the impression that my lack of behaving like a stuffed sea side donkey is in some way a reflection of her failings as a horsewoman. So, in her mind, a series of bucks in the morning performance and a very polite slow-mo spook in the afternoon one was tantamount to treason.
I may have further added to her, by now very extensive, list of my faults by trying to eat the Instagram legend that is Teddy the Shetland when we were called upon to do a session inviting people to have selfies with us. In my defence, it started off ok as he looked up at me (literally as well as figuratively) and visibly combatted his excitement to be in the presence of a star as big as I am (again literally and figuratively). As we walked down the arena he had to run like a finalist in the Shetland Pony Grand National just to keep up as I sauntered like the cool dude I am with the little guy trailing behind me.
Where it got a little bit problematic is when we bent in to each other for what I thought was a quick mano-y-mano chat and he sucked my moustache. Full on snogged it. Like in public. I’m trying to pull Emily King’s mare and here I am with him hanging off my face like Donald Trump’s toupee. It wasn’t a good look. I mean I have nothing against that sort of thing but dude I’m a lady magnet and you’re blocking my waves of manliness. I did warn him with a few attempts at a passible impression of mother’s legendary death stare, but I think perhaps he thought I needed a poo or something because I clearly hadn’t got the vibe right. I followed it up with a bit more obvious disapproval and caught the business end of the lead-rope for my trouble. I think to be fair most people got a lovely photo (well as lovely as it can be with mother in charge of cameras), but a few might have got me looking like “an angry donkey with piles” as mother eloquently puts it.
Anyway, back to the main event — it’s now Sunday and it’s fair to say I’m tired. No sleep and constantly on parade in front of thousands of fans for three days is hard work. I was tacked up again and led back to the main arena where I met up with my new bestie Mary and we rode into the ring to thunderous applause. The man who does the introductions was now introducing me as “the best horse Mary has ever sat on” and I was in heaven. We had a trot round, she asked me for canter, mother was seen openly praying, I moved like the angel I am and we exited to further excited clapping. Here we bumped into my mate Geoff and for once glorious moment I thought I was about to be fought over by two heavyweights of the equine world; I mean it was tense people, the jealously ratings were clearly sky high…
The afternoon however was a bit peculiar — I knew something was up when the introduction man came flying out to mum and was overheard whispering about the biggest crowd so far and the fact I should be mounted by Mary further away, so no one saw anything. Mum shot inside with him and we were held outside for longer which made me suspicious. Unbeknownst to us, the gorgeous Emily King had mischievously set her mother up and put a little jump up. And it was definitely insultingly little. Emily wanted it bigger, but the show organisers were clearly concerned about Mary’s skill set and whether she could steer ¾ tonne of equine magnificence over a jump. They need not have worried — I’ve made my mother look semi-competent over jumps on many occasions and she’s awful…
Anyway, we set off on our circuit and Emily asked her mum to jump over the jump to screams of delight from the crowd. Now I’ve not been allowed to jump in a while, so I fractionally hesitated over both whether mum would go mad and whether they were intending me to jump the insultingly low cross pole. I think that made mum panic that I was going to refuse so to my horror, forgetting she had a microphone in her hand she yelled “go Hovey go”. Hovey? In public? Really? Missing: my street cred — was last seen running screaming from the arena at YHL2018 never to be seen again…
The embarrassment aside, it was one of the greatest moments of my life and I’m so grateful that Mary and Emily let me join them in the ring — it was such a risk I’d show their other horses up with my huge… personality… that many stars wouldn’t have let it happen. They were awesome sports.
After we all came out, dad started to lead me back to the stable and I was shouted back for a group photo with Mary, Emily and their two worried looking steeds which Emily then posted on Instagram. O. M. G peoples, I haz arrived!
Hovis reports back from one of his big days out
So that was that. Another amazing adventure, memories made and proof that even when you’re an ugly, ill-bred carthorse from the emerald isle, if you dream big enough then sometimes, just sometimes it CAN come true. Thanks of course to all the stars we met and hung out with, to the staff at YHL2018 and to the legends that are Emily and Mary King.
Never stop believing.
PS Hovis’ latest book can be found at www.bransbyhorses.co.uk with all money raised going to charity.
PPS. He can be followed on Instagram (#hovis02) or on his Facebook pages “We Love Hovis and his Friday Dairies on H&H”
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