The whole getting up at 6am on a winter weekend to ride in the rain is baffling enough to non-horsey people. But there’s more. A lot more...
1. Two-tone jodhpurs rock
OK, that may be over-stating it, but to the bemusement of everyone else in the known universe, horsey people are very attached to these items. We’re the only group of people who’d ever part with hard cash for trousers made partly of black check, and partly of bright pink lycra. They may look like a weird relic from the ‘90s rave scene, and give even the pertest of bottoms a strange shape, but they’re standard uniform on any yard. Still, all sports have their own fashions, and ours is a lot more flattering than, say, top-to-toe lycra. Or sumo wrestling pants.
2. Horses are great big wusses
‘I’m scared of horses, they’re just so big,’ is something we hear a lot from non-horsey types. It’s tempting to raise a scathing eyebrow, but try and resist, as they know not of what they speak. Yes, horses are big (apart from the small ones, which aren’t). They have huge physical strength. But big doesn’t necessarily equal brave. We know this, but your mum/friend/partner doesn’t. Which is why you may notice them giving you funny looks as you coo, ‘Well done, good boy,’ as your horse bananas past a plastic bag in the hedge, eyes rolling.
3. Talking of which, plastic bags are scary
You don’t give plastic bags a second thought unless you have a horse. They’re just a useful thing for carrying other things about in — although not great for the environment, of course. But once you have a horse, you realise they are everything that’s wrong with our society, and people who allow them to carelessly drift into hedges, where they’ll get stuck and scare horses, really deserve the harshest punishment the law can throw at them.
Clicking at slow-moving cars, ‘trotting’ to the shop, rocking a rider tan and using all your annual leave on going…
4. It’s OK to smell of manure
In most walks of life, wandering about smelling gently of poo is pretty much a no-no. This doesn’t apply to us. For starters, horse poo isn’t as evil as other types of poo, as it’s basically just grass. Obviously, eating it isn’t recommended, but you won’t go blind if you accidentally fall in some. And anyway, hang around horses for any length of time and that smell just sticks to you. But… sometimes… just sometimes…. do you wonder whether maybe it’s just us who thinks like this? And that others think that having hair that smells of manure is a bit, well, icky? No! Surely not.
5. In fact, you’d bottle that horse smell if you could
Move over Britney Spears, there’s a new perfume on the market. Eau De Cheval. It’s very exclusive.
6. Tans happen to other people
Summer, for normal people, means hanging out in shorts and vest tops, getting a lovely tan — and most importantly, brown legs. Oh, how we dream of having brown legs. For us, a summer tan means milky white legs and torso, with an aggressively burnt nose and lower arms (T-shirt marks clearly defined). It’s a strong look.
7. It doesn’t matter if we don’t win
OK, so you get the odd competitor who throws a hissy fit when they’re not in the red ribbons, but the vast majority of horse owners aren’t in it to win it. It’s all about having fun. And yes, our idea of fun really is getting up at 5am on a Saturday morning to bath, plait up and box halfway across the county, for a mere five minutes in the showjumping/dressage/showing arena that we’ll have stressed about the whole night before. If nothing else, we’re with our own kind, and this makes us happy.