The Fictional Show Jumper
“I can jump 1.20”. Sure you can……at home…..badly….over a single fence. The miraculous feats achieved by the fictional show jumper will often happen when there is no one around to see, video or photograph it. Likewise, none of these skills have yet been displayed at a competition where the fictional show jumper is usually jumping several grades lower than their stories centre around.
The Directionless Wonder aka those with zero survival instinct aka the zombie apocalypse
‘left hand to left hand’ may very well be a rule of open schooling in the arena but the directionless wonder has no concept of left and right and will fail to notice that they are in any danger when you are heading straight towards them. The directionless wonder will somehow always end up riding in the same area of the school as you and will stroll along behind or in front of a show jumping fence as they have not noticed that you are jumping it One may often wonder how the directionless wonder has managed to ever cross a road given their complete lack of self- preservation. When riding in the vicinity of the directionless wonder the normal rules of schooling should be disregarded and instead the best practice is simply to stay out of their way, roar jumping whenever you are approaching a fence and give them an extremely wide berth if on a young or green horse
Bling browband, bling on the stirrup irons, bling saddle cloth, bling on the collar of a jacket. It will usually look like a diamonte factory has vomited its entire contents onto this horse and rider combination.
Everything is pink, baby pastel pink. Sadly this sometimes literally clashes with ownership of a chestnut horse.
The Identity Crisis
Don’t worry about forgetting this horse or rider’s names. They have it embroidered for you on their saddle cloth, their rug, their tack tags, their lorry /horsebox and even on their jacket.
The Side Saddler
Spends most of their time searching for and spending a fortune on antique side saddle related items online. Knows their own and their horses measurements inside out from trying to find one off vintage items to fit. Possess muscles not understood or used by non side saddlers. Favour traditional turnout and attire and maintain an expensive wish list of related items which they would give their right arm for.
The Matchy Matchy
If the rider has a red top the horse must have a red saddle cloth. Matchy matchys like to be colour co-ordinated at all times and like to blend in with their horse from the rugs and saddle cloths that the horse wears to the colour of their travel equipment. Fixation on one specific colour is also a common symptom of matchy matchy.
The Over Feeder.
“oh no, he has lost a little bit of condition on his quarters, must increase his feed again”. Horses belonging to the over feeder are usually as wide as they are high. They are usually in shape, well, if you consider round to be a shape. They also are usually pretty quiet to ride because they physically cannot go very fast and will often corner like a double decker bus.
The OCD Rugger
Horses belonging to an OCD rugger usually get dressed several times a day in different outfits and have a wardrobe that is fuller than Mariah Carey’s with several of each rug in different weights. OCD ruggers spend most of their days wondering if the horse has the right rug on whenever the weather temperature goes up or down a few degrees.
The hypochondriac spends their day worrying about what the horse has when the horse is unwell and worrying about what the horse might have when the horse is well. The vet’s number is on speed dial and the horse shudders every time the owner approaches with the thermometer, which is often several times a day. Hypochondriac’s horses often suffer from vague illnesses such as ‘not being themselves’ and mystery lameness unseen by other people.
The expert is always on hand to provide advice to other horse owners in any given situation. This advice is often uninvited. In fact the advice is often unwanted but any subtle attempts to show this are usually unrecognised or ignored. The expert can always be relied upon to show up just as your horse is misbehaving or things are going wrong and will contribute to the whole debacle by standing there telling you what you are doing wrong and what they would do and what you should do. The volume and confidence of the expert is sadly often inversely proportional to the amount of knowledge they actually have.
The Emotional Owner
The emotional owner usually has an extra special bond with their horse. They just ‘know’ what the horse is thinking and feeling and will convert any and all equine behaviour into human emotions. The horse didn’t kick them on purpose last week, the horse was trying to move them out of the way and warn them of impending invisible danger. Romeo and Juliet had nothing compared to the intensity of this relationship. The emotional owner will often have a tendency towards alternative methods of equestrianism and will obsess about the horses personality and feelings.
The Unnaturally Competitive
You once won a rosette in Dublin? They won two. You once had a pure bred welsh pony? They had one too and it was a showing champion. You can jump a metre? They can jump 1.30. You have a rescued grey hound? They had a rescued grey hound that won several races. Anything you can do this person can or has done better. Hours of fun can be had by concocting things you have done just to watch them try to come up with a better story.
The scruff sees no need to groom their horse. The scruff also sees no need to clean tack or to clean out the horse box after use or to even just make sure that the horse is mud and bedding free when going to a show or out in public. Will live in wellies and their favourite top and jacket.
The Obsessive Cleaner
The obsessive cleaner should effectively be banned from owning a light coloured horse as ownership of such horses tends to exacerbate their condition. The obsessive cleaner will scrub the horse the night before a show, cover them from head to tail in clothing no matter the weather and turn up several hours before the show the next morning to berate the horse for being even remotely dirty and to wash them all over again. Obsessive cleaners will not even sit up on the horse until the animal is spotlessly clean. They have nightmares about yellow patches and coats that do not shine like glass. Where an obsessive cleaner does not own a light coloured horse their efforts will be fixated upon white socks and stockings and around shiny coats. Obsessive cleaners may also have an unhealthy fixation with cleaning tack which can play to the advantage of the scruff.
The Amazing Rider
They only have to grace the saddle of a horse for it to immediately perform to full potential. They pick up everything very quickly, have extremely effective legs, perfect hand aids and could make a donkey look like a dressage star. You want to hate them but they are too damn nice.
The Child Prodigy
Same as the amazing rider but half your age and twice as talented. This kid is lapping you. Oh the shame.
The Jammy Dodger
The jammy dodger will rattle every fence in a show jumping round and still make it out with a clear round. They will find the best equestrian bargains just as a sale ends. They will manage to find a lift to every show. They will get the last place in a sold out clinic. They will catch a free ride on the best horse. This is the sort of person who will walk down the road and find a winning lottery ticket on the street.
“Can I borrow some coat shine?”, “Can I borrow some plaiting bands?”, “Can I borrow your brush”. See the thing is buddy, the phrase ‘borrow’ kind of implies that I’m getting that back which when you repeatedly use my coat shine, tail conditioner and bands is never going to happen. Missing a brush, bandage, boot or piece of tack? – contact the borrower who may have forgotten to tell you they borrowed it and has probably forgotten to put it back too. Borrowers are particularly attracted to new items or anything they do not own one of themselves.
Horse is too low? Got a gadget for that. Horse is too high in the head and neck? Got a gadget for that. Horse needs to be more forward / less forward/ more engaged / more on the contact – inspector gadget usually has something in their tack chest of gadgets and bits to solve any problem. In some cases it may appear that money spent on gadgets may have been better invested in lessons.
The shopaholic always NEEDS something for them or their horse which will fund a trip to the tack store which will in turn lead to them finding more things they NEED. The shopaholic feels uneasy when they are not spending money and will often be seen panic buying as a shop is closing. Shopaholics have little self-control, cannot resist a bargain and are usually unsafe to allow to shop online unsupervised. All shopping activity should be banned after two alcoholic drinks because at this point the shopaholic will have lost all impulse control. The shopaholic will usually have items that they forgot they bought and items that are very similar to something they just bought another of. They also maintain a mental wish list of must have luxury items. The shopaholic is always broke because they have spent all their money on things they “needed”. The shopoholic will always have a need, once one need is met through a shopping trip, the next needed item becomes the focus of their obsession.
The Bargain Hunter
Absolutely incapable of paying full price for anything and always on the hunt for the best bargain. The bargain hunter is in their element at big horse shows, rummaging through the sale racks and bargain bins. The bargain hunter is always keen to show off their latest purchase and explain how much they got it for versus what it was originally worth. Preloved and second hand websites and groups are a big attraction for the bargain hunter.
This person still has the head collar belonging to their first pony, the first rug they ever bought and every bit they have ever used. Their home resembles a tack shop and hoarded items will occupy any unused space. Extreme hoarders will also have kept every dressage test sheet they have ever gotten in dressage and every rosette they ever won. They are very handy if you ever need a loan of something and a great resource to the borrower.
The Pushy Parent
The parent wants the child to ride. The parent has bought the pony, the tack and every other item the pony and child could possibly need. The parent obsesses about the child’s progress and results. The parent will spend any amount on lessons and coaching for their little future Olympian. Often, the child would rather be playing candy crush and has no interest what so ever in horses. Where the child does have talent, the parent will spend every waking moment telling everyone about it.
Rider has spent several thousands on a horse which can jump grand prix height, is sharp as a tack and confident over fences. Rider is petrified of horse, has no idea what aids to apply, can barely jump a novice course and would have been best to spend several thousand on lessons.
Will gallop at speed across all sorts of cross country terrain. Has no fear of jumping six feet wide gaping holes in the ground and five bar gates yet shudders at the thoughts of jumping poles and completing a dressage test.
Will ride and jump hands free, stirrup free, sideways and sense free. Has no fear.
Has a natural, alternative or herbal concoction and remedy for any aliment known to human or horse.
Always immaculately dressed in expensive modern equestrian brands. Favours white jods (that seem to somehow stay white), expensive leather boots and brand name tops and jackets. Always surprisingly clean and neat despite being in a yard where mud and dust appear to adhere to everyone else.
The Country Lady
Long wax coats, pearl earrings and wide brimmed hats. The country lady has a penchant for elegant tweeds and exquisite tailoring, loves well-made brown leather goods, lives in country field boots, is obsessed with anything vintage and would not be seen dead wearing a non neutral colour on a horse.
The Non Horsey Other Half
Usually found sat in the car or wandering around the yard looking bored. Often confused by the fact that they came to the yard for a short trip to ‘check on the horses’ and are still there three hours later.
The Terrified / The Panicker
The terrified is only just about mentally okay with the fact that the horse is alive and will move and have an opinion. They are likely to shriek at the slightest spook, change of speed or unexpected movement. The terrified are at their most relaxed once back safely on solid ground. When off the horse, the terrified often becomes the panicker and they do not cope well with changes or unplanned adventures and so are best kept calm through a detailed plan and consistency. The panicker will often show symptoms of the OCD rugger and the hypchrondriac which in turn can lead to them acting like an askhole.
Ah sure, its grand
These people are so laid back they are almost horizontal. Due to this philosophy they often have a calming effect on horses. They do not fret about what might happen, do not feel the need to make lists or plan ahead, rarely panic and often seem oblivious to whatever carnage might be going on in the background. Best kept a safe distance away from ‘The Monica’.
The Fussy Groom
Owns every grooming item known to man, some of which you can’t identify. Measures out the width of plaits. Sews in plaits. Frets about stray hairs on the horse and crooked clipping lines.
The Eternal Optimist
Tries to convince themselves of the best of every situation in the belief that this will also convince others. “Well we had four down and I fell off but he was BRILLIANT”
The Cash Flasher
Attempts to replace experience and knowledge with spending and money. Want to jump higher? Buy a horse that jumps higher. Need more experience? Buy loads of lessons. Position needs work? Buy a new saddle. Horse not going well? Buy a new horse.
The One with a Horse with ‘Potential’
It used to be a young horse with big potential and no actual. Then it was a green horse with lots of potential and no actual. Now it’s a middle aged horse with no actual but the owner is still hanging their hat on the potential. owner will celebrate every little victory and see one day of success as making up for months of torment and bad behaviour.
Cannot cope without plans and lists. Immediately jumps into planning mode at the thoughts of any outing. Will maintain to do lists, what to bring lists and will use spreadsheets to create timetables around anything and everything. If going to a show with a Monica be aware that everything from toilet breaks to plaiting will be scheduled with a time allowed. On the plus side the Monicas can make perfect travel partners as they are never late and always have everything you need with them. May clash with the scruff and the latecomer
Incapable of being on time, terrified of being early. The latecomer lives life on the edge and will barely make it on time for competitions, leaving the yard or lessons. Most likely to forget vital items when leaving the yard as this person will never have a plan, weeps at the thought of making a list and is always rushing around. Always best to just tell the latecomer to be there half an hour before you need them.
Is not that bothered about actually riding a horse as their focus is dressing up themselves and the horse. They spend their time draping themselves on props around the yard and taking selfies.
Asks for advice and then ignores that advice. Will usually then ask everyone else on the yard for their opinion until someone gives an answer that closely matches their own at which point they will follow only this advice.
My Trainer Says
Goes to a trainer for a specific discipline. Adores trainer and assigns them god like status. Starts most sentences with ‘My trainer says’.
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