If you live and breathe showing — either to compete or as a spectator — many of the following may well be familiar…
1. You think nothing of setting your alarm for 3am in order to get to a show. It’s all worth it for a champion sash.
2. Travel time and distance covered are irrelevant factors when you’re chasing a Royal International, Horse of the Year Show and/or Olympia ticket. Devon to Scotland? No problem.
3. What do Robert Walker and Jayne Ross et al have that you don’t? This is the million-dollar question you’ve been researching for years.
4. Being overtaken during the gallop is a no-no — and doing it in front of the judges should be one of the seven sins.
5. Feeling euphoric when the judge nods at you first.
6. Holding your breath for the entire time the ride judge assesses your horse.
7. The most important part of wedding planning is ensuring it doesn’t clash with a show.
8. And as for the honeymoon, going away during the season is out of the question. The same goes for holidays, too, and you’ve actually considered suggesting a week in Birmingham (conveniently during October) to your other half.
9. Those funny looks you get from other lorry drivers when you pull into a petrol station in your horsebox — usually very carefully.
10. Spotting a judge and automatically sitting up straight — even when not on a horse.
11. You think plaiting bands are cheating. Either do it properly or don’t do it at all.
12. Seeing someone else touching your show kit… They’re either brave or stupid.
13. Sighing when you spot someone riding without a hairnet or tidy plait.
14. You are proud of your collection of hair bows and ribbons. If you’re honest, they are one of the reasons why you’d rather have a daughter than a son.
15. Your horse’s shampoo cupboard is far more extensive than your own.
16. You get through tea towels much quicker than socks.
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17. You are always armed with oil and a tea towel.
18. Trimming, mane pulling and general equine sprucing occur weekly — but who knows when you last visited a hairdresser.
19. Leather riding boots are thoroughly polished several times a week, but your work shoes rarely get a wipe over.
20. Finding the smell of clean tack instantly calming.
21. Christmas begins at Olympia every year.
Don’t miss our showing special in tomorrow’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (16 March 2017), where we find out what the judges’ pet hates are, take a look inside Martin and Michaela Wood’s yard and find out how to prepare children to ride in the ring