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Hovis’ Friday diary: you don’t stick us between your legs and tootle off sporting your overtight manpants and a jaunty grin

Dear diary,

It’s day two hundred and fifty-nine billion of the human strangles epidemic, but hope is coming over the horizon like a 1923 John Dere Model D — very slowly, creaking like mother’s knee joints and to be treated with a degree of suspicion, but coming nonetheless.

Firstly, for the human Fell ponies (like to eat and drink, socialise well with others until provoked, don’t like to break into anything above a walk unless there’s food involved and carry a lot of natural insulation against the elements), the powers that be opened the pubs. Now it’s been announced for the human thoroughbreds (skinny, highly sensitive types prone to sudden bouts of speed and a desire to run everywhere), the powers that be are reopening gyms and for the human seahorses, they are also reopening pools. The bad news however, is it does appear that some bright spark is now letting some competitions go ahead again, so there is always the danger that the box-rested human now labours under the delusion that practising tips from Karen on Facebook has miraculously turned them (and by definition their long-suffering steed) into Charlotte What’s-her-face-in-a-garden and Viagra. Still, one can’t have everything — or in my case, anything.

On a personal note, now that eventing is getting underway again behind closed doors, I do feel this is a good time for the British Eventing team members and wannabees to get over their fear of being seen publicly being taken around a five-star in a way never seen before, and give me a whirl in private. I am surprised that my dear friend Mary King hasn’t been in contact, but then she’s such a generous lady maybe she thinks it’s someone else’s turn to sit on an extraordinary equine? After all, she has had the privilege, a life-changing SIX times and probably feels that any more would ruin her for life…

I wish the same altruism could be seen from the mothership. I’d literally pay her to stop with this “I am not a fair-weather rider and hacking is good for us” crusade she’s been on since restrictions were lifted. I honestly think her three brain cells are socially distancing inside that cavernous curl-covered cranium of hers. After a heat-induced reprieve from mini-mother’s stressage chef de squeak impressions last week, this week I have been subjected to more stress-inducing circles and transition tyranny. Mini-mother is eight years old today; it’s fair to say I preferred her when she was eight months old — I made her giggle then not gob off about the geometrical imperfections of my sloppy stressage spheres. It’s depressingly clear that mothership’s tendencies are multiplying in the mini-version faster than a catholic rabbit. God help us all, there two of them…

Thus, I hope you can understand that by the time the weekend comes, I’m praying to the gods of gin and hangovers that the mothership doesn’t want to exit her crypt at the first rays of dawn and make me go out hacking — especially not when once again it was so windy that I had flank marks caused my tail induced self-flagellation. But no. When have I ever been that lucky? So once again, Bob and I set of with the enthusiasm of a fat fighters’ day out to a lettuce farm, as to “mix it up a bit” we went out the front way first. Good lord, if mother and Aunty C got any wilder they’d be deadly.

Now, I’m also going to now try to educate you all on the inner workings of an equine mind – a lesson which frankly I would have hoped over time you would have evolved enough to understand, but yet one which seems to have passed you all by — sort of like Kanye West’s political pedigree.

We have BRAINS. We’re not bikes, you don’t stick us between your legs and mindlessly tootle off sporting your overtight manpants and a jaunty grin, with no fear of anything happening beyond a pulled groin and your children never wanting to admit they know you in public. With us, you’re sitting astride ¾ of tonne (or less if you couldn’t afford a proper horse) of thinking animal — and let’s be honest, you’re only astride because we’ve not yet decided to flick you into the next county not because you possess an inch of anything resembling the word talent. If you ever wanted proof of this, watch the fun we can have with you when we decide to socially distance from the mounting block every time you try and get on. You know the definition of insanity? Yep, watch it in action in yards the country over…

Anyway, back to my point. We have a brain. So thus, when we don’t spook at something you thought we would spook at it’s not because you have suddenly overnight developed the horse whispering tendencies of Monty Roberts, or the stickability of Mark Hot Toddy, it’s because we DECIDED not to spook. All by ourselves.

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Just as when we spook at something you never thought we would spook at, it’s not because we’ve developed gastric ulcers, have kissing spines, need a full body work up and a psychiatric evaluation by some woman called Jules, who can sense our aura via the medium of a photograph and your bank details. Nope, it’s because we thought it would be funny.

So thus, when I behaved on Sunday morning and mother proudly rode back (in a straight line, rather than doing an impression of a crab at a ceilidh) all puffed up like a penguin on a promise and then proceeded to tell my Facebook fanbase that her hard work and persistence has paid off, I restrained my urge to bash my head into the stable wall and instead looked forward to the next time…

Laters,

Hovis

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