1. Why 200 euro is way better spent on a top quality pair of waterproofs than on a dress or a pair of heels. Anyone who feels differently should have to stand for four hours in monsoon rain without said waterproofs to see if they still feel the same afterwards.
2. How to recognise that subtle head tilt and eye glint that warns you that a school pony is about to change from angel to party animal.
3. Having an inbuilt mental 60 minute timer.
4. And an inbuilt measuring stick.
5. Knowing not to try to leg up someone unbalanced unless you want to end up with them sitting on your shoulder like a parrot.
6. That most people (including me) don’t know left from right. Thank god for ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ reins and legs.
7. Likewise that ‘pass left hand to left hand’ only works if people know which hand is the left hand.
8. How to move at speed because if something goes wrong or someone needs to suddenly circle or turn in, you can guarantee they will head straight for you.
9. Just how painful it is to drop a wet heavy wooden pole on your foot.
10. That the only thing worse than dropping that wet heavy wooden pole on your foot is doing so in freezing cold weather.
11. How to translate the brains message of ‘oh my f**king god that f**king hurt’ into a whimper and ‘ouch’ because there are kids around.
12. The value of spf, quality skincare products and wearing sunglasses. Say no to handbag face.
13. That particular shade of jealousy reserved in Winter for other instructors who have an indoor arena.
14. How to walk a distance in pony strides, horse strides and competition strides.
15. Plastering yourself in jungle strength insect repellent in hot weather to try and get the flies to go away.
16. Never finishing a lesson with the phrase ‘lets do that one last time / lets have one final jump’ as you will only jinx yourself and everything will go wrong no matter how well it went before.
17. That people are magnetic. Put two or three riders working in open order and no matter how big the arena is they will gravitate towards each other.
18. That nothing tastes as good as a warm cup of tea in the middle of an arena.
19. Chanting ‘up, down, up, down’ in your sleep after teaching beginners.
20. The awesome feeling when someone really ‘gets’ and feels something new.
21. Wearing gloves to avoid that horrific ‘wet sand stuck to hands’ feeling when lifting poles.
22. The importance of layering clothes because it is a hell of a lot colder standing than it is riding.
23. That only a fool builds a grid the furthest part of the arena away from where the poles and wings are stored.
24. Having he-man muscles on your arms and shoulders and never having to worry about having bingo wings thanks to lifting said poles and wings.
25. Why it is always worth spending money on good socks.
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