Whatever happened to manners? 7 scenarios you’re likely to recognise…

  • When it comes to manners, we’re all well aware our equines can span the spectrum from perfect pony to horse horror. But how about etiquette sins of the two-legged variety? From the invisible horse purchaser to the show ring road hog, we’ve all come across some plain, old-fashioned rudeness in the horse world. Liz Falkingham gives a guide to seven deadly manners sins

    1. Not bothering to turn up to view a horse

    Ah yes, who hasn’t had a (failed) encounter with the potential horse purchaser who mysteriously goes from gibberingly keen on the phone (“promise you won’t sell him to anyone else? He’s absolutely perfect for me”) to ‘this phone is switched off’ in a few short hours? Say goodbye to several hours and half a dozen other buyers.
    Rudeness rating: 10/10

    2. The ‘plain-speaking expert’

    While we’re on the subject of selling horses, mention must go to the ‘plain-speaking expert’ who comes along to give views on the prospective purchase. A second pair of more knowledgeable eyes is fine, but earning their fee by openly bad-mouthing the horse to its owner in a blatant attempt to lower the price is definitely not.
    Rudeness rating: 6/10

    3. Cutting someone up in the show ring

    It’s a sad fact that showgrounds are a fertile place for bad behaviour of the two-legged variety. The same types who jump from car-clogged lane to lane on the motorway are to be found cutting up fellow competitors on the go round. Ironically, it’s as likely to earn them a black mark from the judge as a black look from their victim.
    Rudeness rating: 7/10

    4. The warm-up fence hogger

    It’s an 80cm class and you’ve taken your precious novice horse out for an easy introduction to showjumping. Pity the warm-up fence hogger decided to have a day out too. Crashing though jumps twice the height of those in the arena, ignoring the red and white directional flags and nearly mowing down the kind volunteer on fence duty — it’s all in a day’s work for this common pest.
    Rudeness rating: 7/10

    5. Rants from the ringside judge

    Clucking madly like a wet hen, the ringside judge is the horsey equivalent of those who shriek ‘are you BLIND, ref?!’ at football matches. Unaware (or unconcerned) that owners, connections or mischievous types with a twitter account might be in earshot, the ringside judge describes competitors’ horses in the most insulting terms — and often the loudest voice.
    Rudeness rating: 8/10

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    6. Social media faux-pas

    Curt keyboard warriors take comfort in the relative anonymity of the internet. Hidden behind a screen name, these ‘call a spade a spade’ sorts soon forget to sugar-coat advice with a bit of tact. Tentative posts asking for help and feedback are soon shot down and any eye-brow raising from others causes a virtual strop about the sensitivity of ‘generation snowflake’.
    Rudeness rating: 5/10

    7. The livery yard layabouts

    Bane of livery yard owners’ (YO) lives, the livery yard layabout thinks rules about picking out feet before using the manege or sweeping up dropped straw only apply to Other People. Distantly related to the livery yard letdown (views the yard, raves about it, begs the YO to hold the place for a week then drops off the face of Planet Earth), the layabout is expert at ignoring the steam billowing from the YO’s ears and is often to be found fast asleep in bed on a Saturday morning while their hapless horse kicks the stable door in frustration.
    Rudeness rating: 9/10

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