Hovis’ Friday diary: a week of highs and lows, tears and tantrums, snot and snogs

  • Dear Diary

    Well what a week! One filled with highs and lows, tears and tantrums, snot and snogs and a LOT of water. Where to begin?!

    Perhaps the best place to start is the end and to say my thank yous: Thank you to the organisers of the cult event Your Horse is Alive for once again inviting me and my entourage to attend a great event where we get to raise lots of money for the charity Bransby Horses (who are in serious need right now, but more on that in a minute) and have a flipping good time as well.

    Thank you to all the celebrity riders who coped so well with being in the presence of greatness and didn’t embarrass me or themselves by publicly falling apart with emotion like Halle Berry doing an acceptance speech. Thank you to all the fans, new and old (and the fractionally insane) who came from far and wide to support us, buy merchandise, make donations and generally feast their eyes on the most famous horse in the world – oh and meet Viagra (more on him in a minute). I had a great time – mum fractionally less so, but I might cover that off in next week’s diary.

    So, on Thursday after levitating all night like David Blane in an indoor parachute centre, I was loaded up into my Hove-mobile and driven down to Your Horse is Alive. Mum was meeting us there straight off the plane from work and much to my horror tottered into the barn not long after we arrived, in high heels dragging a trolley case like a hostess from a budget airline specialising in employing the old and over the hill. I was bedded down and then left to get some beauty sleep before the madness began.

    Friday dawned bright and early (well wet and wild, but let’s not split nostril hairs) and I was rudely awoken to be prepared for my first duties of the day; showing the crowds how I get ready for major shows. Now, I have to be honest, I was dreading this. I had mental visions of a shower and mother avec marigolds demonstrating the finer art of sausage shining with the vigour and voice over of David Attenborough describing the mating habits of the furless fructose-intolerant fruit bat – give that woman a head mike and she thinks she’s on QVC. Luckily it transpires they only wanted me to show how I get my feathers clean and what conditioner I use on my tail – thank god. Although to be fair on the Saturday Dad did think it was hilarious to scratch the WDS (willy dropping spot) such that all the photos the long suffering PR man from the company got were either verging on horse prawn (and I only generally do see food, not sea food) or were going to need some serious photoshopping to avoid the eye being distracted from the whitener to the willy. What can I say? Needless to say, I managed to wow the crowds with my professional level of prep as well as my manly physique. Mum and Aunty Em emerged looking like refuges from an explosion at a cocaine plant – covered in white powder and slightly wild eyed – but the organisers seemed not to mind too much.

    The rest of Friday was spent wowing the crowds of visitors and hanging out with a few celebrity friends including the action rider Ben Atkinson, who had ME on his list of people to meet (understandable of course, but still cool), and my old mate Joe Stockdale and Fred Bergendorff, who both came to assess my desire to quit my eventing dreams and turn to pure showjumping instead – and who can blame them?

    But it was Saturday that was to prove to be the bigger day of shocks when it came to meeting my celebrity fans.

    On Saturday morning I once again showed the crowds that a) I’m always worth it b) Maybe I wasn’t born with it and c) there’s nothing in life that isn’t able to be hidden by chalk. Lots of chalk. Here I was joined by the foot high floof ball that is Teddy the Shetland, who looks up to me (literally have you seen the size of him), as his hero. Forget being the wind beneath his wings, I am the flatulence under his feathers…

    However, it transpires that he is not the only one who is in awe.

    Now I suppose it’s understandable – I get it, I really do, but to be honest people do need to really work on their cool. I know for some people, and indeed equines, meeting the horse that single hoofedly has changed the face of British Equestrianism is a “making memories of a lifetime”-type moment. I get that too. But really? We arranged a rendezvous at the back of the arena and fans the world over finally got the photo they’d all been dreaming of: The world’s most recognisable horse…. and Viagra.

    Now as much as I jest, I do admire the boy for his dancing moves (although mine are much better), but when it comes to making a move the guy is faster than a ferret up a trouser leg. Before I could even say “Hi” he’d pounced on me like your Aunty Maud at Christmas and was sucking my moustache with the ferocity of a Dyson: seriously, his tongue went up my nostril faster than the wind up the M1. Now I’m a total equal opportunities kind of a guy, but wow dude! Sheesh! At least buy me dinner first!

    The poor guy had even attempted to dress like me by putting some white things around the bottom of his legs – I hadn’t got the heart to tell him that they looked less feather and more fame, and that if he shoves his tongue down my throat like that again he ain’t going to be living forever, even if we know his name…

    It really was a meeting of two equine titans and I’m very grateful to his lovely groom and handler Alan – mainly for tugging him out from down the back of my tonsils, but for making a lot of people very happy. Not least Viagra…

    Continued below…

    So, next week I shall tell you about our nightmare Sunday, the kind people who tried to help, mum auctioning me off yet again for charity and the getting together of two Irish megastars.

    But before I go can I be serious for a minute? Everything I do, all the books I write, all the merchandise I sell and all the appearances I do, are for one reason and one reason only. To raise money for the Lincolnshire-based equine welfare charity Bransby Horses. Whilst we were all down at YHL2019 trying to raise funds and having a few problems of our own, they faced a crisis.  The flooding in Lincolnshire has caused astronomic devastation to the land that is used to house more than 450 equines – over 40% of the land has been lost with flood waters still rising. They so very desperately need your help. Please head to my own facebook pages or to www.bransbyhorses.co.uk to see the ways in which you might be able to do something to assist; every little bit is going to make a massive difference.

    Thank you all,



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