17 reasons to be glad you own a native

  • Hugely charming, user-friendly and easily bribed — here's why you should be downright delerious you own a native type

    1. You can look smug — we’re talking smug on a level that rivals Simon Cowell — when watching someone on their highly-strung German warmblood disappear over the horizon/be ejected from the saddle for the second time in 10 minutes.

    2. Since native types live for food, you’ll have no trouble getting him to load, be clipped, or do absolutely anything you might ever want them to as long as you have a carrot in your pocket.

    3. If there is one rogue nail in the stable, or one lone rabbit hole in the 15-acre field, your equine is fractionally less likely to find it and lacerate/maim himself on it given he hasn’t yet had all sense of self preservation bred out of him.

    4. You don’t need to buy a rug for every change in centigrade. And an equine wardrobe of 5 items is far easier to explain to your other half than one of 20-plus.

    5. In fact, most of the time, your horse will be perfectly happy and healthy rugless, meaning no bad back for you induced by hurling the third poly on top of that bulky duvet.

    6. Which brings us neatly on to size… Opt for the shorter native varieties and benefit from being able to vault on from the ground any time a mounting block eludes you, avoiding huge embarrassment when you drop your stick out hunting/hacking.

    7. Not so for our larger native types, you’ll be heading down to B&Q for a stepladder. On the plus side, rather like driving a Range Rover Vogue down a narrow lane towards a Fiat 500, you’re likely to get right of way. (While we’re on the subject, those of you who drive vehicles that don’t fit in supermarket spaces, why purchase a 4×4 if you’ve an aversion to putting so much as one wheel in a muddy verge?). I digress.

    8. Now that racing Shires and Clydesdales are de rigueur, that’s additional kudos to you on the gallops — move over One Man’s ever so disinclined to run full brother.

    9. Buy (or, even better, breed) Welshies, and you’ll be able to impress your friends on trips to Anglesey by pronouncing words beginning double “L”. That’s “kl”. Sort of. With a bit more hiss.

    10. You’ll be able to point to Eriskay on the map. This makes you a geography and pub quiz legend, because let’s face it most of us can’t even place Scotland accurately.

    11. Should you purchase a Shetland, you can go to fancy dress with a lion in tow.

    12. It’s quite feasible that through your purchase you have supported a British breeder. Gold star for you!

    13. You may even be supporting a rare breed, which can only mean good karma coming your way.

    14. Your bank manager will still send you a Christmas card, as your vet bills should remain substantially lower over the years than your neighbouring ex-racehorse owner’s.

    15. For the same reason, your horse will be more insurable — and therefore, in theory, cheaper to insure, too.

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    16. If you’ve got a little legs, you can put smiles on nieces’ and nephews’ faces by teaching them to ride. And if you’ve gone for a taller, chunkier option, male members of the family may even be tempted to learn — result!

    17. Either way, their temperament is presumably such that you’d trust them with your granny.

    Don’t miss this week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (16 February 2017) where we’re celebrating our British breeds

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