Hands up who’s had one of these – usually the night before a big, important event, explains Sara Walker…

1. Try as you might, you just can’t get the end of that tail to look square. By the time you’ve finally put the scissors down, you realise to your horror that the tail is well above your horse’s hocks and still looks like it’s been trimmed by Freddie Krueger’s slightly less balanced younger brother.

2. You flatten down your pony’s unruly mane with lots and lots and lots of grooming spray. In fact, you don’t realise how much you’ve used until you put the saddle on and it shoots backwards like your numnah is made of banana skins.

3. With a 4am start looming, you decide to take a chance and plait your horse’s mane the night before, taking the precaution of protecting the plaits with an old stocking. In the morning, you find a smug horse with lots of bald patches wearing the stocking round one leg like a low-rent Marilyn Monroe.

4. You’ve bathed your grey pony. You’ve wrapped him overnight in rugs, hoods and practically covered him in clingfilm and bubble wrap for travelling. You’ve unwrapped him at the last minute, and had a friend standing by with a bottle of stain remover as you go into the ring. As you’re waiting to do your individual show, you glance down to see a massive poo stain down your horse’s shoulder. The only explanation is aliens.

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5. You’re halfway through clipping your cob’s feathers when the clippers cough once ominously and die. Despite frantic attempts (nurse, pass me a screwdriver!), they won’t start up again. You spend the next 12 hours squatting on the ground with a pair of scissors and a comb, with friends bringing you cups of tea in relays.

6. You were in a hurry in the shop and grabbed a tin of what you thought was hoof oil off the shelf without looking at it properly. Now, you can see the label says, ‘Make a statement with this pink, glittery varnish!’ You’re not sure the judge in the ridden hunter class will see the joke.

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