Remember how things were so much easier back in the day, before the advent of search engines and discussion forums? Sara Walker takes a tongue-in-cheek look at how life’s changed when it comes to looking after our horses and ponies...

Then: Horse too thin? Feed it more.
Now: Horse too thin? Change from current set of six supplements to another set of six supplements, selected from the 420 available in your local feed merchant. Expect instant results. When you don’t get them, change to a different brand and start again.

Then: Horse off colour? Call the vet.
Now: Horse off colour? Stay up all night Googling signs and asking in forums before buying ‘miracle cream’ and spending an extra tenner for express delivery. Then ask advice from everyone on the yard. Post on social media asking for people’s experiences. Then call the vet.

Then: Need a new bridle? Go to saddlers. Spend ten minutes deciding between black and Havana. Buy bridle.
Now: Need a new bridle? Spend three hours researching different types of noseband, comfort headpieces and buckles vs. stud billets. Investigate new pressure-relieving design from Belgium. Wonder if getting the same bridle as John Whitaker would improve your showjumping. Decide between 40 different colours and types of leather. Briefly toy with the idea of going bitless. Make cup of tea.

Then: Horse needs shoeing? Get horse shod.
Now: Horse needs shoeing? Wonder if this is the right moment to consider going barefoot. Spend hours on internet forums. Have anxious discussions with farrier. Go back to forums. Have shoes taken off. Spend six months conditioning feet on different surfaces. Also spend hundreds of pounds on hoof boots, feed supplements and hoof hardening potions. Seek consolation in the thought it will work out cheaper in the long-run.

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Then: Want to improve your riding? Book some lessons.
Now: Want to improve your riding? Type ‘problems with leg-yielding’ into YouTube and get approximately 30,000 hits. Decide your lower leg is too far back/forwards/out to the side, possibly all at once. Ask friend to video you and post video online. Wake up in the following morning to 243 comments, all giving completely conflicting advice. Decide to book some lessons.

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