As the electric gates opened in front of me, I glanced at my car’s instrument cluster. As per usual, my fuel gauge read empty and my clock appeared to be set to Beijing time. If I had not been so tired, this would have surely been anxiety-inducing.
The thought “have I ever been awake so early” led to thoughts of “have I ever had a real job?” and “can I hack this?” before I realised this was not the time for a pseudo existential crisis.
Composing myself, I rolled through the gates and drove towards the staff car park. What a bizarre design, I thought to myself. The architect had clearly dropped the ball with this one. Who on earth designs a circular car park with 10-foot walls and what appeared to be a sandy base? It was only as I was halfway in that I realised this was a training school, not a car park. Was I going to be able to reverse out? And more importantly, did anyone see me do this?
Five minutes later, I found myself in a fenced, square area that resembled a car park. The area’s striking likeness to a car park was probably because it was, in fact, an actual car park. Exiting my car, I pulled on my boots, zipped up my jacket, and readied myself for some real work.
“Make sure you don’t miss anything and re-build the banks” were the first words I heard as I stood in a cold stable at 6.30am. Was this all a mistake? Had I really called a racing yard and told the trainer I would work two days a week gratis?
Bedding fork firmly in hand, the mare that I was meant to be mucking out gave me a pitying sideways glance before stomping her hoof impatiently. Looking out the stable bars, I realised I had no clue how to muck out a stable let alone “re-build the banks”. The words: “You’re not in Kansas anymore” came to mind, except in my case, I was no longer in a livery yard surrounded by yummy mummies, while I pranced around in Holland Cooper’s 2020 collection.
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Rather than prolong my inevitable demise, I exited the stable in search of the head girl. Perhaps she could offer further assistance? As I darted from one immaculate stable to another, I received more pitying looks from passers-by and a sarcastic comment of “nice wellies” from another stable lad. Perhaps the £250 pair of wellingtons were a bit over-kill? Oh well, at least I had made the last-minute decision to leave my showjumper-style helmet at home….
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