It’s that time of year again when us super-competitive equestrians finally get a moment to sit down, put the kettle on and reflect on the showing season just gone. Where did those eight months just go?! The highs, the lows, the triumphs, the falls; whether you’re going into winter satisfied with your 2018 successes or even more determined to smash next year out of the ball park, it’s been one hell of a ride.
While there is absolutely no doubt you’re looking forward to a season of hibernation, there are some aspects of the summer term which you will really miss, until you have to go and do it all again next year. Some will call you crazy, you call it determined…
Six things you really will miss about the summer season:
1. Being better looking
While humans can often look more attractive in the summer (hello tanned, clear skin), we’re referring to your four legged friends here. Glossy coats without rugging or overpriced oil supplements, mud-free overgarments and a certain attitude which comes with the spring air, the warmer months really do make for a more attractive horse. After so many months in ‘off-season’ condition, you wonder how he comes to look so magnificent come summer.
2. Socialising without really socialising
You can meet some of your nearest and dearest on the road at horse shows. With a common interest, several shared hardships and the same ability to chat horses for six hours non-stop (something which would bore the ordinary muggle to tears). It’s no wonder you get withdrawal symptoms when separated from your show buddies for too long. During winter, you may have to actually get dressed up and head out in public if you actually want to talk to someone. What a ludicrous idea.
3. The athlete lifestyle
OK, so ignoring the bags of Haribo consumed during the late night lorry trips and the burger van purchases which take place every so often, preparing a horse for the show season requires some pretty intense graft. The sheer amount of training, lifting, shovelling, walking, running and general physical activity required on a daily basis is impressive. Sometimes, your pacer app can tally up over 20,000 steps per day at a show, so those fast food buys won’t even touch the sides. During winter, as the nights draw in and your horse settles into his winter break, you might find yourself at a loose end and those jodhpurs might become a little snug around the waist (especially on the run up and immediately after the festivities).
4. Buying pointless horsey stuff you’ve found at tack sales and county shows
“You only live once” is the phrase which has single handedly ruined your credit score this year. With the summer shows brings an abundance of shiny new equestrian items you just had to have, and you’d have to be a hard-nosed, savvy shopper not to fall victim to some of the tantalising sale offers those equestrian discount shops are screaming at you. “I’ve already got a fleece rug, I don’t need another”, said no horsey girl, ever.
Oh, autumn, here’s nine things we love about you (and a few items we could do without)
5. Winning rosettes
Not quite sure who first worked out the cost vs. profit margins involved with competing a horse, but paying hundreds and thousands in pursuit of a small piece of coloured ribbon seems logical, right? Nevertheless, each and every rosette is a reflection of the journey you and your horse have been on, and winning a red one will never get old. And if you manage to win a sash, well…
6. Being on the road with your best friend
Nothing beats it. Travelling around to competitions with your best friend in the back eating his hay, ready to put those hours and hours of training into play. Win some, lose some, but you’re always a winner when you get to take your special one home.
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.