That’s right, competition season is back on. So, let’s grab the next few months by the horns and see who we can tick off from this list
The restrictions have been lifted and competitions are full speed ahead, and here at Horse&Rider, we just can’t wait to get back out competing! But whether your debut comes in April, May or beyond, there are a number of sights that’ll whet your appetite for the future. Whether you’re reminiscing on your latest experience (no matter how long ago that might have been) or hyping yourself up for your next outing, how many of these have you come across?
- The ‘not quite ready’
Whether he’s taken flight across the showground, is refusing to enter the collecting ring or he’s screaming from his lorry for the friends he left behind, competition day might have been a step too far for this horse. Last year may have been his designated experience-gathering period but, with so much of it cancelled, he’s probably not feeling much the wiser. Nethertheless, as long as his owner has a good sense of humour, there’s still a great day out to be had – it just might be more on the educational side than the competitive.
- The ‘non-horsey dad’
Easily recognisable by the sound of BBC 5 Live blaring from the phone speaker in his back pocket, the non-horsey dad is typically found laden with arms full of grooming products, miscellaneous tack and a distinct lack of wallet – either through forward planning or because it’s been pinched to fund photos. He’s almost certainly anchored in place with a small pony, too. Luckily for the non-horsey dad, the pony’s the least of his worries, as he takes advantage of the opportunity to munch on some lush grass he hasn’t been allowed near in years. What he should be more concerned about is the size of the ever-growing hole in his pocket as ‘one good photo’ has rapidly transformed into ‘every frame of the fall’ – wait, so there’s no rosette to show for it either?
- The ‘show-day stand-off’
Not one person but two – normally a mother and child combination (though not limited to school-age ‘children’, we might add) but not unheard of to be a rider and their non-horsey partner. Normally sparked by a day that’s not quite gone to plan and further amplified by a misbehaving equine, a tack mishap or a misdemeanour in the collecting ring. We’ve all been there and know quite well how to avoid antagonising those around us, but sometimes people just can’t help but offer their (theoretically well-meaning) opinion. But no matter the intentions, recipients aren’t always open to advice, especially when tensions are high. “No, pulling harder on the headcollar WON’T help,” and, “We’re more than capable of doing this in our own time, THANK YOU.” Ah well, lesson learned.
- The ‘preened to perfection’
This horse has been bathed and polished to within an inch of his life – we’d hazard a guess that he’s been dunked in shampoo every weekend since the end of the last competition season *just in case*. Either way, we have nothing but respect for the hardworking owner of this gleaming grey whose coat we’re not convinced we couldn’t see our reflection in. Whoever said you couldn’t get a grey to shine as bright as his conker-coloured counterpart clearly just hasn’t put in the man hours. We’re sure this will be reflected in their marks, too.
- The ‘done their homework’
This combination made a decision at the beginning of lockdown that their next outing was going to be their most competitive yet. But little did they know that, due to ballots against their favour or class size limits, their hiatus might last up to a year. Well, you know how summer bodies are made in the winter? Red rosettes are apparently won under house arrest, and this dedicated rider has certainly made the most of that weekly lesson they committed to last March (not to mention the virtual instruction they received when they thought lockdown rules might have meant getting away from it for a few weeks). The homework’s paid off and they’re coming out heads and tails above the rest of us! Now, where’s that prize money…