With the eventing season well underway with the attendant fresh horses, nervous riders and kit problems, you may well have spotted some of these 12 sights at horse trials around the country this month…
1. An unfortunate jockey being bucked off in the dressage warm-up by a horse who simply can’t contain his delight at being out and about on grass again.
2. Lots of horses being lunged before their riders are willing to consider getting on them in order to avoid number one.
3. A loose horse galloping through the dressage arenas. Yes, it counts if you saw it on video.
4. A teenager yelling at their brow beaten mother because she’s forgotten exactly what order she likes her warm-up jumps.
5. A delighted cross-country finisher leaping off the horse and preparing to smother him with kisses… but forgetting to unclip their air jacket before doing so, leading to a nasty surprise.
6. Someone begging with the secretary to let them go across country despite elimination for too many refusals in the showjumping.
7. A rider who forgot to break in their new long leather boots, received as a Christmas present… but they’re determined to wear them anyway, so are spotted hobbling around making agonised faces.
8. A jockey who failed to ask the farrier for stud holes, so feels they have to do their whole cross-country round in a very collected canter, for fear of falling over.
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9. A horse who’s so excited to be going cross-country again that he’s tanking round the course with his mouth open (despite a flash noseband), his neck and head in a straight line and no regard whatsoever for his riders’ increasingly desperate requests to slow down.
10. A horse who’s spent all winter on a surface and can’t possibly go through that muddy puddle on the way to the dressage. God knows what’s going to happen when he sees the water jump…
11. A rider who’s done too much winter showjumping and forgot that hairnets are the done thing for eventing…
12. And one who’s done too much winter dressage and forgot that bling isn’t de rigueur for eventing.
Don’t miss our special eventing issue, which hits the shelves this week (21 March 2019), and features an exclusive interview with Gemma Tattersall, as well as advice on how to make the most of a cross-country schooling session.