In her new book 'The Perils and Pitfalls of Horse Ownership: A tongue-in-cheek guide', author and illustrator Johanna Sharpe captures those horsey blunders that we're all too familiar with — from attempting to catch a (muddy) horse in work clothes to failing to invest in a sturdy neck strap for cross-country schooling
Through her humorous illustrations (monsters emerging from ditches, trailers morphing into demons…), Johanna Sharpe has managed to capture those hairy moments that are so often faced my horse owners.
“The Perils and Pitfalls of Horse Ownership documents many of the essential blunders which have often been made by horsey folk when they are at the less experienced end of the scale,” says Johanna.
“As the owner of the Rein and Shine Equestrian Centre I have spent much of my time teaching people to ride, training horses, and observing horse owner’s special brand of behaviour when it comes to their favourite horse.
“I try to highlight the humour of the small things in the equine world, which horse lovers of course can blow out of all proportion; such as the way keeping a horse warm at night can turn into sheer frivolity of ceremony, with many horse owners adorning their horses beyond normal measures, to the point where the horse has more clothing and a comfier bed than they do!”
The book delves into the world of first-time horse ownership, from choosing the right breed and selecting the perfect livery yard, right through to buying equipment, training, taking part in competitions and learning how to maintain a healthy horse/life balance.
Aimed at adults and children alike, it is fully illustrated with watercolour paintings, and follows a year in the life of a horse owner — bringing a knowing smile to equestrian enthusiasts.
“The oversensitive nature of horses is something I have always enjoyed cartooning; a paper bag for example can become a demon when caught by the wind, and a cross-country fence a place off utter terror! Yet to a human these appear to be normal and everyday objects. The wiring of a horse’s brain can be a minefield,” Johanna adds.
“The idea behind The Perils & Pitfalls of Horse Ownership has always been for us to be able to laugh at ourselves — I have been the subject of many of these illustrations over the years.
“The first 12 months of owning a horse are considered to be the hardest months of all. This is where you really learn that the outside appearance of glamour attached to the equine world is really just that, an appearance. The smallest part of owning a horse is the riding, the rest is simply navigating through a battle of wills between the horse and the owner.”
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The Perils and Pitfalls of Horse Ownership: A tongue-in-cheek guide, by Johanna Sharpe will be published on 16 April 2016