Is that the faintest taste of spring in the air? No longer pitch black darkness at 4.30pm? This can mean only one thing — the eventing season is rapidly approaching. Here's some other telltale signs to look out for...
1. Your bank account has taken a real hammering with registration fees for both you and your horse and early entries. You dare not look at the funds you now currently (don’t) have available.
2. You panic when you realise you forgot to ask your farrier to put stud holes in your horse’s shoes.
3. British Showjumping competitions are now awash with tweed, hairnets and five-point breastplates as the eventing community packs in some last-minute practice.
4. You are desperately hoping you can find a cross-country schooling course on grass that is open before your first event.
5. You brace yourself for that awful itchy feeling you get after clipping your horse, but are reassured by the fact this is the final time you will have to do it until the autumn.
6. Your eventing wall planner is filled out with military precision, with different coloured sticky notes denoting entry and ballot dates.
7. Your house is turned upside down as you desperately search for the cross-country colours you packed away last October.
8. WD-40 is your new best friend as you resurrect your rusted stud kit.
9. You know off-by-heart exactly where you will be every weekend between March and October — sorry, social life, but if you’re not competing, you’ll be busy training.
10. You can’t help but trawl the internet to look at cross-country course pictures of all the events you plan to do this season — it’s not quite the same as actually riding around them, but the virtual reality version will suffice for now.
11. In a last-ditch attempt to maximise the chance of your horse going well you decide to join the gym and go on a juice diet — it’s all about the marginal gains according to the pros.
12. Social media is awash with hashtags such as #TheCountdownIsOn and #SeasonPrep
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