6 festive disasters that can only happen to horsey people

  • There’s nothing quite like Christmas, even when the days of magical presents from Santa are a distant memory. But as the big day approaches, you can be sure Sod’s Law will come into force with a vengeance. Here’s H&H’s top six list of festive disasters just waiting to happen…

    1. The very moment the Met Office announces it has been the mildest December on record, sparking inevitable mutterings about global warming, the temperature plunges to minus 15°C and every pipe on the place freezes solid. Still, who needs to visit the gym when carrying warm water out to frozen water troughs twice a day?

    2. When you bought your horse, you distinctly remember the phrase ‘never sick or sorry’ featuring in the advert. This has been largely true, barring weekends and any form of Bank Holiday (double call-out fee, anyone?). So you can bet your last sheet of wrapping paper that your previously healthy horse will decide Christmas Day should be renamed Colic Day in his honour.

    3. Christmas Day is all well and good, but everyone who’s anyone cares more about Boxing Day. Frosty mornings hacking to the meet, shrugging off the egg nog hangover and ignoring the too-tight waistband on your jods, that’s what the festive season is really all about! Except your horse doesn’t seem to agree – despite having four shoes on last night when you tucked him up in his stable, he has mysteriously managed to pull two off overnight, and the farrier isn’t answering the phone.

    4. Your credit card will never recover, and it’s touch and go whether your other half will ever speak to you again, but this year you finally threw caution to the wind and bought a flash new lorry. More pop-outs than you can shake a stick at, and the sort of paint job that appears under the dictionary definition of ‘bling’, this is what travelling to the Boxing Day meet in style is all about. Or it would be, if the damn thing would start…

    5. Your new year resolution was to ‘let your horses be horses’ and keep them out 24/7 with a fancy field shelter that cost more than your parents’ first house. By and large, this has worked better than you thought it might – your horses are ‘living the way nature intended’ plus, yay, no mucking out! You remind yourself of this many, many times when you discover the paddock gate has mysteriously been left open and your horses are now re-enacting the Charge of the Light Brigade across next door’s golf course on Christmas Eve and all your would-be helpers are getting plastered at the pub.

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    6. It’s the height of extravagant idleness, your guilty inner voice tells you, but this year you’ve decided to pay for a freelance groom over Christmas and have a wild night out on Christmas Eve with the livery yard clients, followed by a lovely lie-in. So when your mobile goes off at 6.30am, waking you up to the world’s worst hangover, you’re already silently laying bets with yourself as to whether it will be ‘my car won’t start’ or ‘I’ve got flu’ that means it’s time to get up after all.

    What’s the worst equestrian festive disaster you’ve ever faced? If you’d like to share it with H&H readers then write to hhletters@ti-media.com for a chance to see your letter in H&H magazine and win a bottle of Champagne Taittinger (please include your name and address; letters may be edited). 

    For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine out every Thursday

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