Come December when it’s pouring with rain or we’re breaking the ice on the trough, these things will be the least of our worries. But right now, here are a few summer hardships we’re struggling with...
1. White hands on brown arms
Thanks to following sage advice to wear gloves at all times while riding/handling horses — and not caring for the alternative hardship of sweeping-with-sweaty-hands-induced-über-blisters — summertime riders are blessed with some interesting tan lines. The most amusing of these lies around the wrists, with hands that are so pale by comparison to your forearms that you wouldn’t need half the outfit required to take up that role as a Marcel Marceau impersonator.
2. White legs (despite incredibly brown arms)
Continuing with a theme here. Riders legs, never being out of breeches, can be so pasty in relation to the corresponding arms that they actually reflect sunlight when on a rare Sunday afternoon off they are exposed to a few rays. Given this unprecedented exposure they will proceed to turn the shade of a winner’s rosette in the time it takes to ride prelim 18.
3. Deeply (un)attractive red lumps on both arms and legs
Courtesy of horseflies. For us more delicate specimens, a horsefly bite (or three) can render us not just cursing and scratching, but coming up in impressively large welds as our skin reacts as aggressively as a mare you’ve decided to ride at feed time. Nothing eases the irritation, whereas the heat exacerbates it tenfold. *scratch, scratch*
4. Soggy socks
Because, despite all advice, reason and common sense, you can’t face staying in your boots all day in this heat, and so swap out of your long, sensible, protective footwear into trainers. Trainers that have holes in them — either because they’re your old, knackered trainers that are now consigned to the yard, or because they’re your smart running trainers you paid extra for to have holes in, to make you more aerodynamic or something, and they happen to be in the car and it won’t destroy them to wear them at the yard just this once (it will). You will inevitably end up hosing off a horse in these shoes. Because it’s hot. So hot you even put your trainers on. And if you avoid hosing off a horse in them you’ll spill not insignificant amounts from a water bucket over one anyway.
5. In addition to being soggy (see above) your socks (and consequently feet) will also be filled/covered with sand/dirt/bedding from the school/field gateway/stable
Because it’s so damn hot you put on those trainers with holes in. And then you got on with things.
If you want to keep your yard owner…
6. Tail lash, invariably to the face, while you try to groom your equine as a bluebottle lands on his flank.
And another one. Oh it’s back again. Relentlessly. Unsurprisingly, since horse tail is used to string violins I believe, this stings rather a lot.
Other than that, summer with horses (relaxing ride on a chilled equine before sunset anyone?) is heaven, and we wouldn’t swap it for the world.