If Dante had been a rider: who you’d find in the nine circles of hell

  • When Dante wrote his Divine Comedy in the 14th Century, the sins he thought worthy of inclusion in the nine circles of hell included such as wrath, treachery and limbo.

    And while we don’t get the whole limbo thing (yes, certain holidaymakers like it but it’s not that bad), we feel that had Dante kept his charger on a 21st Century livery yard, he might have had some other ideas of those he’d condemn to eternal torment.

    The irritating forker (or perhaps she who causes irritating forking)

    Anyone who thinks its ok to chuck their baler twine on the muckheap has earned a special place in one of the nine circles. Not only does it not biodegrade, anyone who’s ever been tidying the pile and just got a good swing on a stinky forkful as an unseen loop catches hold, spilling the fork’s load everywhere, will no doubt agree that the guilty parties should be condemned to eternity of muckheap-forking, with unseen bits of string catching Every. Single. Load.

    The Facebook horse expert

    There’s a good few about. It’s almost impressive, really, how these people can tell from one picture, a five-second video clip or a few lines of text not only exactly what the problem is but that it’s entirely the poster’s fault for reasons born from the commenter’s vast “I’ve had horses for 30 years, you know” and incomparable experience.

    These people will be made to spend for ever on social media, seeing nothing but horsey posts on which they want to unleash their bile, but technical faults will make them unable to comment on anything. Ha.

    The warm-up warrior

    People who apparently cannot tell their left from right, going by the way they almost ride into you every time they pass, those who ignore your horse’s red ribbon, ride up its backside and then shout at you when your horse kicks out, those who insist on jumping 1.30m before a 90cm class and so many more.

    These people will be condemned to a never-ending warm-up, being ridden into every few seconds, obstructed every time they try to jump and shouted at by everyone from the other riders to the steward. Nb, no horses would be harmed in the creation of this eternal damnation.

    The “borrower”

    Most riders don’t mind lending out their stuff, if the borrower a) asks and b) puts it back, in one piece. Finding headcollars trampled into field gates, mucking-out tools in the field and tack left on other people’s stable doors, however, doesn’t go down as well. Sinners would spend the rest of their days searching for their stuff, while late for work/a show/eternity, finding it damaged and, in the case of wheelbarrows, full of someone else’s muck. Karma.

    The feeder

    She’s been asked politely, told firmly, threatened with legal action and vet’s bills and she still insists on feeding your horse. Applications for this circle of hell will also be considered for those who ignore all the above and still want to stroke the mare who does not like people, does not want to be touched and greets every approach with her ears flat back. They will be condemned either to having to eat their own weight in carrot peelings every hour, or, possibly, being followed round for the rest of time by people trying to stroke their hair or scratch their ears. Not fun.

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