Things have changed a lot in the horse world during the past 30 to 40 years. It’s not only internet shopping that didn’t exist back then, although that’s hard to imagine for those who have grown up with it. So join us for a trip back down memory lane to when equestrian life was a rather simpler affair…
Do you remember when…
1. Lucinda Green (pictured above) became the pin-up of the eventing world after winning Badminton for the sixth time in 1984 on SR Direct Mail Ltd’s Beagle Bay.
2. Virginia Leng (now Ginny Elliot) took over as every pony-mad teenage girl’s heroine after becoming the first woman to win Burghley five times in 1989 on Master Craftsman, when she was also crowned European champion.
3. Most turnout rugs were made of heavy green canvas – if you were lucky they had cross-surcingles rather than just rear leg straps to keep them in place, but either way it felt like a lifetime waiting for them to dry.
4. Jute rugs could be found in every tackroom — itchy-looking things made from a sack-like fabric, held on by roller.
5. The only 4x4s you saw were Land Rovers, driven by actual farmers.
6. Only top professional riders owned (or had access to) a lorry.
7. You could ride down country lanes while rarely seeing a car.
8. There was no such thing as air jackets. Body protectors were typically a piece of foam held in place with an elasticated belt, which was then replaced by something that more closely resembled those we have today, but with a rather fetching ‘nappy’ attachment that went between your legs before fastening at the front.
9. The most popular colour for jodhpurs was beige or black. Anything else was viewed as dangerously exotic.
10. You bought your riding gear by sending off a form cut out of the back of a horse magazine/catalogue, with a postal order.
11. String or leather girths were the norm. If you turned up at Pony Club with a soft padded cotton girth from Cottage Craft then you were definitely ahead of the curve.
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12. Showjumping seemed as big as football or rugby, regularly shown on TV (back when it only had three channels) and drew huge crowds – David Broome and Harvey Smith were national heroes.
13. Puffa jackets were the height of equestrian fashion – especially the ones with the candy cane stripes.
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