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13 signs that horses are taking over your life

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A horse owner's car

We all know horse ownership is more of a lifestyle choice than a hobby, but could your love for all things equestrian be spilling into other areas of your life? 

  1. Watching any kind of period film or TV series, it’s easy to find yourself more interested in the horses than the historical heroes. There’s a reason that Seamus, Aidan Turner’s faithful steed in Poldark, has a massive social media following. 
  2. While we’re on the subject of horses on the silver screen, let’s not forget the inevitable exclamations or muttered grumblings that arise when the script requires the equine stars or their handlers to do something that simply wouldn’t fly in the real world. War Horse star Joey learning to plough a whole field in the space of a day? Come on… 
  3. Apples, carrots or parsnips on offer in the supermarket? You’re first in line to load up a trolley – forget feeding your family, your horse will love these tasty additions to his feed bucket. Leftover apples in the work fridge are also fair game. 
  4. You spend most of your life in breeches, so your wardrobe is largely divided into three sections – competition kit, yard kit and pyjamas (and sometimes those end up at the yard, too, if you aren’t careful). This means that any situation with a dress code that falls outside these areas prompts a flurry of panic-buying and improvising. Putting a cardigan over your top will hide its not-so-subtle slobber stain on the back, right?
  5. At any kind of social gathering, one of the first questions you always get asked is ‘so how’s that horse of yours?’. Not because the person asking is particularly interested, but because they know it’s a pretty safe bet as a conversation starter. Unfortunately, what they weren’t prepared for was you launching into a 10 minute, blow-by-blow account of your latest dressage outing. 
  6. Your car has become a satellite tackroom, from riding boots taking up residence in the passenger footwell to saddlecloths and spare stirrup leathers littering the back seat. This means a full muck-out is often required before anybody else will get inside. You also have to stock up on air fresheners to mask the lingering smell of horse – while you don’t mind eau du equine, there have been comments from certain ungrateful passengers. 
  7. There seems to be a distinctly equestrian theme to the decor of your house. From soft furnishings and art on the walls to the mugs on your dresser, it’s as though a herd of decorative horses has run rampant through every single room.
  8. The equestrian theme also tends to carry over to your wardrobe, too. Horseshoe earrings? Check! Shirt decorated with galloping racehorses? Check! Those shoes with a snaffle decoration? Gimme! At a push, zebras and unicorns will make an appearance, too.
  9. Take a look at your bookcase and it’s jam-packed with Jilly Cooper novels, training manuals and dog-eared copies of equestrian magazines – Horse&Rider making regular appearances, of course. 
  10. Somewhere, probably hidden under the spare bed, buried at the back of a wardrobe or tucked away in the attic, there’s a box of plastic model ponies. They haven’t been played with in recent memory, but you can’t bring yourself to get rid of your treasured collection. Besides, you’re not sure anybody else out there will truly appreciate the bog-brush-style haircuts you gave them back before you’d mastered the art of pulling a mane. 
  11. When asked to list your favourite fictional heroes, you’re hard-pressed to choose between Black Beauty, Shadowfax and Velvet Brown’s The Pie. Oh wait, you meant humans?
  12. Any DIY repair or gardening job can be carried out with a length of baling twine, an empty feed sack and a bit of elbow grease. And while we’re on the subject, what’s with all the non-horsey people who are incapable of wielding a broom properly? Your hours on the yard have left you a sweeping aficionado.
  13. Whether it’s lugging your suitcase through the airport or unloading the weekly shop from the car, your non-horsey friends are always amazed by your super-human strength. This isn’t from sweating it out in the gym, though. It’s the result of pushing wheelbarrows, heaving hay bales and carrying sacks of feed across the yard day in, day out.  

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