It’s that time again. From excess hair to some questionable weather, you know autumn is coming when…
1. Every time you groom your horse, his shedding summer coat clogs up all your brushes.
2. You consider buying a Furminator. (Google it).
3. You spend half your time worrying whether your horse is too cold without a rug, and the other half worrying that he’s too hot now you’ve put it on.
4. You’re glued to your weather app on your phone. For the love of god, will it just make up its mind? Is he staying out or coming in, to rug or not to rug? If this is climate change, it’s an absolute pain in the bum.
5. It rains for five days non-stop so you panic-buy a load more rugs to cope with every eventuality, from a mega-warm turnout rug in case it snows to a lightweight stable rug in case he has to come in at night sooner than expected. With spares, in case the others get sopping wet (which they probably will).
6. There are no swallows swooping in and out of your stable – they’ve all headed back off to Africa, and frankly you’re a bit jealous.
7. You find yourself browsing country boots/mucking out boots/funky wellies on your favourite equestrian websites. Well, your old ones are knackered.
8. Coats, too.
9. And waterproof chaps.
10. You bulk-buy a pallet of wood chip/pellets/shavings to save on bedding costs over the winter, and now you’ve stacked it up in your garage, you can’t fit the car in any more.
11. You drag your rubber mats out of hibernation and try not to think of the state they’ll be in when you take them out again next summer.
12. You’re already in mourning for the end of the competition season. Oh well, at least the hunting season is about to start. Talking of which…
13. You’re more excited about the first meet of the season than you are about Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night and Christmas, put together.
14. But on the other hand, that means the shooting season is about to start too – which means pheasants erupting from hedges all over the place. Damn those pesky birds. Time for some de-spooking work with your horse.
15. You agonise about whether hosing muddy legs (your horse’s, not yours) is more likely to cause or prevent mud fever, just like you do every year.
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16. You actually do all those little DIY jobs you’ve been planning for ages, like fixing the guttering, and sweeping the thick layer of cobwebs off your stable’s ceiling. Or persuade/bribe your dad/partner/best friend to do them anyway – come on, those spiders are HUGE!