Native riders of Britain: the event rider

  • Welcome to Horse & Hound’s tongue-in-cheek guide to the various “native breeds” of riders in Britain

    HEIGHT: Workmanlike; both sexes tend to hover around the 16hh mark.

    CONFORMATION: A true athlete. Note the lack of body fat; the muscle definition; the forearms that a Romanian weightlifter would give a pack of steroids and his mother-in-law for. Male eventers, on the other hand, can be of slightly lighter build.

    MARKINGS: The cross-country attire is one through which event riders can express their sense of style. Consequently, the most garish colours known to man are paraded round on the rider’s body protectors and helmet, in a bid to help connections spot him from the highest point in the county — the burger van roof.

    TEMPERAMENT: Famously gregarious — the bonhomie in horse trial lorry parks is legendary — the eventer is perhaps the sunniest of all the breeds, despite, or perhaps because of, getting fired head first into timber fences regularly.

    The downside is that few eventers have a vocabulary much wider than an Army cadet’s. The parks of many a stately home reverberate with a string of “Oh s***!”s — mainly from the dressage arena, it has to be said.

    Eventers, on the whole, exit the womb with a distaste for 20m circles and square halts. Show jumps merely emphasise the fact that the eventer couldn’t see a stride if it were written on the grass in foot-high letters. Instead the whole round is blithely tackled as they plan to go across country — on a “long one”.

    HABITAT: Found in higher densities in the south. Curiously, a proportion speak with a certain twang, and moan about the weather and the cost of Qantas return fares.

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