Hands up who hasn’t got the traditional rider’s tan: arms like you’ve been on holiday in the Bahamas, legs like you’ve been trekking across the Arctic Circle. No one? But strap marks and white legs are the least of the worries for riders during the summer. Do any of these sound familiar?
1. You’ve gone to the yard on the way to work and if you are brave enough to then get your pins out in the office (fake tan ahoy), the breech and sock marks just add to the “look”, we feel.
2. You’ve gone to the yard on the way to work (do you sense a theme here?) and have, of course, made sure your trusty steed is well protected against flies… as will your colleagues be. Still, we think great wafts of eau de fly spray are preferable to the eau de la merde du cheval said colleagues may be more used to.
3. Hat hair. It’s never a good coiffure choice, but if you thought it looked rather nasty after a half-hour schooling session in January, going cross-country in 30ºC is a whole new ball game.
4. Of course we have to mention where to ride. The fields are hard, the school’s getting deep and the roads – let’s not go there. But as it was only a matter of weeks ago we were dealing with six inches of snow, followed by waterlogging and were contemplating scuba diving rather than riding, we can’t bring ourselves to complain – much.
5. Hot feet. Losing a toe as a result of leading two horses in flip-flops may mean a 10% discount at future pedicures, but we really don’t recommend it. Tough boots and sweaty feet, however delightful, have to be better than sporting just the nine toes.
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6. Hands up who enjoys studding up? No one again? But what could be more fun than finding a tiny piece of gravel exactly the width of the stud hole, perfectly positioned and immovable in the thread?
7. As we all know, the prevailing wind in any yard can be calculated by looking at the muckheap: it will always be towards the wheelbarrow-emptier, wherever he or she is standing. And if a face full of shavings carried on the breeze is fun in winter, when there isn’t a square millimetre of skin showing, it’s even more fun when you’re wearing a vest top…
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