If you’re not sporting at least two of these horse-related injuries at any one time, you’re simply not trying hard enough, explains Sara Walker.
1. Bruised foot/missing toenail. OK, so you know you should really have changed into suitable shoes before bringing in, but you didn’t. Turns out he was quite keen to get to that bucket of feed. Note to self: always wear sensible shoes, no matter what.
2. Broken/missing fingernail. Having horses and decent fingernails is mutually exclusive. Time to pick which you want.
3. Sore, red rash (the result of stacking bales of hay while wearing shorts), which makes people eye you sideways and shuffle away when you’re on the bus.
4. Blisters on both ring fingers. So it was hot. So you thought you’d ride without your gloves. You never realised before just how abrasive ‘supergrip’ reins are, especially with a little horse sweat thrown in for good measure. Never mind, you’re fairly confident it’ll stop stinging soon and you’ll probably even be able to get your rings back on at some point.
5. Red, weepy eyes. You’re running your hand down that hind leg, you’re raising the foot to pick it out… and bam. The tail swish. People who don’t have horses will never understand just how much getting hit in the face with a big, swishy bunch of horsehair hurts. You eventually risk a quick glance in the mirror and are quite surprised your eyebrows are still attached.
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6. Itchy rash (the result of little bits of hair getting inside your clothes when you’ve been clipping). However much you dance frantically around the yard (step, step, shake trouser legs, left arm up, right arm up, shimmy), those little blighters aren’t moving for anything less than a shower.
7. Sore inner thighs. Well, we hardly need to explain this one, do we? Whether you’ve got a new instructor who makes you ride without stirrups, you got lost and turned your two-hour ride into a four-hour ride or when you ride a turn on the forehand your horse is as light and manoeuvrable as a Sherman tank, sometimes there simply aren’t enough hot baths, paracetamol and arnica to go round.
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