We might pretend that our sole focus is on what’s going on inside the show ring, but we’re all guilty of revelling in a bit of ringside people watching...

Which of these five (tongue in cheek) characters will you spot leaning over the fence this show season?

1. The sponsored rider

She’s been waiting to use hashtag ‘spon’ on her Instagram since she could use an iPhone at the tender age of four, but 2018 appears to be the year for this ambitious, bright-eyed and increasingly painful young rider whose recently ventured into the world of sponsorship. Pre-class collecting ring time is now for securing some like-worthy pics to post when we she gets back to the lorry, and if it’s not to be a red day in the ring, there is a bag of bought-in sashes in the grooming box for candid posing. But real talk, we are pretty jealous of the all the free merchandise they receive…

2. The non-horsey photographer

When Jack applied to be an intern at a local media company he did not envisage that this would mean spending his whole summer standing in fields in the rain taking pictures of competitors and and their bonkers horses (which all look the same to him) who don’t want to know him, unless they are donning the red rosette. Will be spotted either looking seriously perplexed at the horsey world’s strange customs or bored out of his brain, so go easy on him if he accidentally spooks your ride with his unprompted snapping. It’s not his fault…

3. The home-produced lead rein mother

It’s always been her dream to compete at Horse of the Year Show and whilst her own mother wasn’t prepared to commit her own life and soul to the cause, this mum of two will go to the end of the earth to make sure her daughters reach the pinnacle of showing success. She works 12 hour days so they can afford to show on the weekends, getting up at an ungodly hour every single day to tend the carefully selected mounts she bought the children after she’d sold the car and remortgaged the house. Her husband calls her crazy, she calls it dedicated. Her doctor says she should probably think about taking a break, she says she’ll sleep when she’s dead. She says it’s all for the kids, but deep down she knows that each red rosette is really hers.

4. The ‘official complaints’ expert

It wouldn’t be show day without a little bit of cringe-worthy drama, and this individual likes to make sure that everyone knows about the beef she’s got with that judge who put her pony at the bottom of the line. She must have spent at least a month’s salary on the amount of official complaints she’s put in, but with emotions running high and Prosecco flowing freely, kick-offs and chaos can ensue at a rapid pace.

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5. The groupie

Also known as chief dog holder. Mr/Mrs tag along who isn’t really horsey but appears to have become a fully-fledged member of the show team, whose presence is sorely missed when they have to miss an event to do something normal people do. No one is really sure how this person came to be such an integral part of the gang but no one is better at tea making, emergency face oiling and team selfies than this person.

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