8 ways in which life isn’t like a Jilly Cooper novel

Riding into the sunset with your rich, handsome lover and his string of polo ponies — if only real life worked like that. For most of us, though, it’s more rut than Rutshire, as Sara Walker explains…

1. When you mention to new male friends that you ride horses, you just know they’re picturing the shiny black boots and the skin-tight white breeches. Whereas your normal ‘outfit du jour’ is an old T-shirt of your dad’s and a pair of jodhpurs that you never quite managed to get the hoof oil stain out of.

2. You don’t know where the characters find the time to get ravished quite so much. It’s been several days since you had time to iron a shirt.

3. Yes, you do own a whip. No, it’s genuinely never occurred to you to use it for that. No, really.

4. When you tentatively suggest to your husband that he seduce you on the kitchen table, he first recoils as though you’d offered him a basket of live snakes and then starts complaining about his dodgy back.

5. The last time you saw an expanse of heaving, naked skin, it belonged to your horse.

6. You quite like the sound of ‘al fresco romping’, which normally occurs every 10 pages in Jilly-land, but then you remember that you’re unsually attractive to mosquitos and allergic to nettles, and will probably end up flushed and sweaty for all the wrong reasons. Plus, you’re not quite sure what ‘romping’ actually entails, and it sounds a bit energetic.

7. Instead of a brace of black Labradors with aristocratic names, you have one adorable but dim mongrel nicknamed ‘The Scruff-bucket’.

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8. You’d love to spend your weekends at elite equestrian events, sipping chilled Bollinger with your gang of glamourous friends with their double-barrelled surnames. And you will, you will. Just as soon as you’ve finished mucking out, cleared up the dog sick, stuck a load of washing on and nipped to the supermarket. Oh, and changed your surname by deed poll. Sigh.

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