Someone recently sent me a picture on Facebook. I don’t know if it was meant to inspire me,amuse me or make me cry in despair but anyway. It said the following-‘Great horses are often not easy horses. They have big egos and idiosyncrasies and quirks and foibles…….’ If this is indeed the case,then I must have had some of the best horses through my hands that the world has ever seen…..
I don’t know how they find me. I’m fly paper for equine freaks. All I want is a quiet life. I don’t want to be fished out of trees (that actually happened) or stared at in horror as whichever stupid fucker I’m trying to tame currently leaps and snorts and plunges all over the show ground for absolutely NO REASON at all. I mean,you never see Team Fredericks clinging on to their neckstraps whilst Dobbin refuses to turn left or stuck to the back wall of Dobbin’s stable afraid to move because the stupid horse is having apoplexy over a new and differently coloured water bucket. I have never seen anyone else lose an event when miles in the lead because there was a cow in a field next to the course,and therefore it was necessary to whirl and nap and freak out and refuse to pass said cow,accumulate a zillion time faults and do the walk of shame back to the trailer. Whilst everyone laughed. Because you live on a farm.FULL OF COWS. I have never seen anyone else riding a lovely dressage test and being interrupted by a dog that looks like it might potentially be a polar bear strolling into your dressage arena and woofing at your horse,causing said horse to go batshit and flee the scene. I have never seen anyone else quietly showjumping,only for the horse to randomly decided to keep going straight and jump the rope out of the arena WITH NO WARNING whilst you haul and tug on the steering wheel and have to do the walk of shame-again-back to the trailer. (Apart from that one girl at the London Olympics,but she was a pentathlete and everyone knows that’s not a real sport) Sometimes people ask me what type of horse makes the ideal event horse,and I think ‘not a single one I have ridden anyway….’
The best type of horse for me is one that tries. The horse that tries will surpass the fancy flashy talented horse that doesn’t need to try,every day of the week. The horse that tries may not be easy to train,but he is easy to love and respect and he is easy to build a partnership with. The big moving,snorting psychotic things that are all eyeballs and flicky toes are very pretty to look at and indeed I am drawn to them like bees to honey,but they are trouble. They are hard to train,hard to keep sound and they are often GIGANTIC PAINS IN THE ARSE. Educating these types can be akin to negotiating with terrorists and they often have an opinion on every-fucking-thing. A fine example of this is Armada,ridden by Oliver Townend. Armada is undoubtedly one of the greatest cross country horses in the world, but he does whatever the hell he feels like whenever he feels like doing it. When asked about the horse,Oli said that he thought very highly of him but that the manual was in Taiwanese…….
It’s hard to know exactly what type of horse makes the best event horse. The sport is so all-encapsulating that almost every horse eventing will excel at some part of it. Every horse in the sport will have strengths and weaknesses that the sport will embrace and expose. Horses big and small,batshit insane and steady as a rock can all find their niche eventing. That’s the beauty of the sport!