It’s not easy to find the right horse. Misleading horse ads*, dodgy dealers*, and owners who are totally deluded about their horse’s ability* all contribute to the minefield that is horse-shopping. Which is why more of us than would care to admit it have ended up with a Freddy…
1. You were so dazzled by Freddy’s good looks that you were prepared to overlook the fact he can’t jump, can’t work in an outline, and tried to double-barrel you when you went to pat him.
2. You actually believed the ex-owner when she said ‘he’s never done that before! That’s so out-of-character!’ when he bucked you off during your trial ride.
3. The ex-owner was laughing hysterically when you handed over the cheque, but you’re pretty sure it was to hide the tears of sadness. Laughter is a great healer, as they say.
Kate Flynn travels 300 miles to try a promising sounding Connemara with a regal presence and outstanding manners — but…
4. The ex-owner is exposed as a dodgy dealer on Crimewatch. Must be some mistake. You’re an excellent judge of character, though you say it yourself, and she was lovely. Salt of the earth!
5. Your best friend and horsey mentor — who came with you to see the beast and was less than enthusiastic about him — has defriended you on Facebook.
6. Freddy exploded out of the trailer when you got back to your yard, mowing you and your yard owner down like a couple of skittles.
7. When you finally caught him, you realised he’d somehow injured himself in the trailer or during his crazed escape attempt, necessitating the first of many vet visits. Never mind, at least you’re insured.
8. Oh, you’re not insured for that. His insurance policy has so many exclusions that only one hoof is currently covered.
9. For some reason, your horsey friends keep trying to lend you body protectors and air vests. Just for skipping out.
10. He’s snorting and prancing around in his stable like a sex-crazed stallion, and has already kicked a hole in the wall. Bless him, they all struggle to settle, don’t they?
11. Even so, you’ve less chance of actually getting his tack on him and getting onto his back right now than you have of scaling Mount Everest.
12. You get on. You come off. Repeat.
13. As you limp into A&E for the fifth time, the nurses greet you by name and suggest, politely, that you take up a new hobby. Stamp-collecting, perhaps.
*We know they are not all like this… Most aren’t. (But some are.)