However experienced you are with towing, there are some universal truths that none of us can escape, explains Sara Walker…
1. The length of time it takes you to hitch up is directly proportional to the number of people watching. On your own, you’re in and out of the yard, complete with horse loaded in about 10 minutes flat. The more spectators you have, the longer it will take you to cautiously inch your way back towards the tow bar. If any of them try to ‘help’, you’ll be there all day.
2. No-one ever really understands someone else’s instructions for backing up. Whose left are we talking about, anyway?
3. At least once in your towing career, you’ll get distracted halfway through hitching up and drive forwards with the jockey wheel down, causing the trailer to jump across the yard like a rabbit on Lucozade….
4. …or, alternatively, you’ll get distracted while unhitching and drive the car away with the brake cable still attached, causing an embarrassingly loud thud as the trailer brakes kick in. The trailer will also leap a foot in the air like a rabbit on Lucozade who’s suddenly remembered he’s left the gas on at home. Although you thought the yard was deserted, at least five people will then emerge from stables to make helpful remarks like, “Oh, I think you’ve left the brake cable attached.”
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5. You must have opened and shut those catches on the groom’s door a thousand times. The thousand-and-first time, you open them in exactly the same way as usual and trap your finger. No-one can explain why this happens, but we suspect gremlins.
6. Those same gremlins like to hang around until you’ve got a really tricky bit of reversing to do. Usually, you’re as happy going backwards as you are forwards – right up until the moment you’ve got to do a three point turn to get out past the big horsebox with the dozen people sitting on the ramp. Then, you’ll instantly forget the difference between left and right, prompting members of the audience to offer to ‘see you back’. Do not in any circumstances accept their offer (see points 1 and 2).
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