9 things to expect at adult horse camp (including the perils of packing and hangovers)

Buoyed up by Pullein-Thompson stories and with happy memories of Pony Club Camp, you sign up for your first horse camp as an adult. Here’s what to expect, as explained by Sara Walker…

1. Sleeping in the back of a trailer sounds like fun. It’s actually cold, uncomfortable, a bit smelly, oddly noisy and you spend the night in fear of the catches dropping down on the groom’s door and trapping you inside.

2. Not having a hot shower for three days is all part of the experience when you’re 12. Now, not so much.

3. You just can’t believe how much gear you’ve had to bring. Your entire car is full of it, and your husband has to do a mercy run on the second day with all the stuff you’ve forgotten.

4. After a long week at work, you end up losing your careful packing lists and just shoving everything in bags at 11.30pm the night before. When you unpack your mountains of suitcases, you find you’ve brought four pairs of breeches, no underwear and only one sock.

5. You’ve remembered sunscreen, fly spray, waterproof trousers, wellies, raincoats, hats, T-shirts, shorts, flipflops and an umbrella. You’ve also brought a rain sheet, a medium weight New Zealand, a fly rug and a cooler rug. You end up using none of it.

6. On the first night, you lie awake until 4am anxiously imagining you can hear hoofbeats and worrying the ponies have broken out of their corral. At 4.15am, you finally fall asleep. At 4.16am, the ponies break out.

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7. Your normally angelic pony is so over-stimulated by all the activity and the strange surroundings that he morphs into a wild mustang overnight. It takes you 20 minutes to get his bridle on.

8. Did we mention about the showers?

9. On the afternoon of the third day, you’re shattered, filthy, still mildly hungover and on a major sugar rush from eating nothing but biscuits for 24 hours. Best weekend EVER! You instantly sign up for the next three years.

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