Hovis’ Friday diary: she walked into it with the innocence of a nun who thought Magic Mike was a magician show

Dear diary,

So, I left you last week having shared with you the excitement of the Friday at the cult horse event Your Horse is Alive and then the rather dramatic start to the Saturday morning.

I pick up my tale just after the doors have opened on the Saturday morning and a literal flood gate of thousands of people entered, all desperate to see equine celebrities at the peak of their careers and fame. It is thus no wonder that so many headed straight for me, because let’s face it folks, why start at the bottom when you can head straight for the top?!

To be honest though I wasn’t entirely focussed on meeting everyone because I was too busy being tacked up, and I’m far too much of a pro at this not to know what that meant. So, a mere 30 minutes after the gates opened, I was escorted by my security team (and yes, I did have a security team) down the back to the large arena where I waited for the reunion that the world has been begging for. An eventing legend, a leading light of the sport, neigh indeed equine royalty… and Mary King…

She came out of the arena on one of her flashy warmblood types who looked on in resigned horror as she threw the reins of this lesser steed to her lovely assistant and jumped up onboard a proper horse (pictured together top). I did to be fair, nearly set off into the arena without her which caused a bit of consternation to all around me, but we managed to get ourselves sorted.

In the meantime, a horrified looking and totally unprepared mother had been handed the microphone and told to explain everything as Mary and I launched through the curtains to thunderous applause. Now in my defence, I was a touch excited by the crowd, the noise, the flashing cameras and the fact that I was once more partnered with one of the most talented riders in the world. So, I may possibly have done a few jumps for joy; small bunny hops of happiness and in no way the bucks that mother accused me of.

Mother came out ashen faced and grovelling her apologies to Mary who laughed and said she likes my spirit. You see this is why she and I are meant to be together — she gets my vibe, unlike mother to whom anything other than behaviour akin to a stuffed rocking horse is naughtiness.

I sauntered off back to my stable happy to go and meet my crowds of adoring fans, content that my pal Mary and I were going to see each other again in the afternoon and pondering what moves I could showcase next, accompanied by a slightly suicidal looking mother.

I spent the rest of the day meeting and greeting, posing for photos and saying “hi” to the vast contingent of the Hovite Army who had turned up to show their support for me and to harass the heck out of mother. More on that later…

At lunchtime, mother held a drinks reception to officially launch the new book, but to be honest this appeared to be more of an attempt to soothe her shattered nerves — one emergency vet visit and a small series of bucks on eventing royalty and she’s diving into the prosecco like Tom Daly. Mind you, half the Hovite Army appeared also to be secret shandy drinkers, so she was in good company. I was thrilled to especially see my Belton buddy Abbi who is one of the very few people (other than Mary King) who are prepared to get on me more than once. Mum has offered therapy to her to fix this affliction…

So, the afternoon came around and Mary and I were buddied up once again. This time I declined any vertical movements and I watched mother visibly start to relax as we went to exit the arena. Which was a mistake and clearly shows that her survival skills are akin to a depressed lemming, as she didn’t see the sudden danger presented to the national treasure which is Mrs King in the shape of some highly dubious curtains. Luckily for the both of them, I have the lightening reflexes of a nifty ninja and thus with a heroic turn of feathery foot I saved the day. For the absence of doubt, it was a deliberate act of a selfless saviour and not in any way shape or form a spook. A spook is a cowardly act performed by overbred and highly strung thoroughbred types who have no thought except a flawed flight response bred into them by years of running away faster than politicians from Brexit negotiations. No, when I perform such a manoeuvre it is the gymnastic evasion of a highly skilled athlete trained to protect his rider at all costs — sort of iron man only with less iron and more feather. The fact that this selfless act of enthusiastic evasion nearly caught Mrs King by surprise says a lot about the selfishness of her usual steeds — she was clearly not prepared for this level of charismatic Clydesdale caring…

Once more I was bundled back to my stable with mother trailing apologies like confetti which swiftly turned to expletives when we were out of ear shot. It’s fair to say she wasn’t amused…

She luckily found her sense of humour again as her and Ryan from Bransby Horses were made to go and do a very sensible and professional Q&A session in front of an audience in the education area. Which was a good job really because where the Hovite Army are concerned, the words “sensible” and “professional” don’t really cut it. To say they set her up was an understatement and bless her she walked into it with the innocence of a nun who thought Magic Mike was a magician show. She was expecting dodgy questions from the gathered coven of Hovites but was not prepared to be asked how she “prepared her pelvic floor muscles to sit astride something that large” from a total stranger who had erstwhile been led astray by the cackling bunch of cronies. By all accounts, I’m not sure who managed to maintain any form of professionalism the longest; mother, Ryan or the poor lady trying to preside over proceedings, but I was informed the following day as they bought me treats, that the stall holders in the vicinity were laughing so hard they were testing their own pelvic muscles…

So, all in all it was an amazing day: I tested the seat and balance of a returning eventing legend (it’s ok Mr Bartle you don’t have to thank me — and I am available as a training aid to all other GB event riders), met literally hundreds of fans, did selfies with a Shetland (more on that next week) and was witness to mother being publicly bamboozled by a busty blue haired babe.

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Tune in next week for the report on the Sunday but also please remember all of this hilarity was for one very good reason; the launch of my sixth book; Hovis’ Friday Diary: Going Hell for Feather which is sold with all proceeds going to the charity Bransby Horses. It is available at www.bransbyhorses.co.uk and can be shipped anywhere in the world. It makes a fantastic Christmas present — good laughs, a few tears and doing good for charity at the same time. What’s not to like?! Get ordering!

Laters,

Hovis

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