I love getting the new season’s horsy catalogues through the post. Ride Away, Robinson’s and Derby House all bring a smile to my face and a sense of anticipation as I study the sweet, new-smelling pages. The Internet’s all well and good, but there’s nothing like getting to grips with a shiny new catalogue stuffed to the gunwales with things I think I want but can’t afford.
The people who stride across these pages have lives that bear little resemblance to mine. They can wear lemon, lilac and pale blue shirts with alacrity; they can don beige jodhs and breeches on a daily basis without fear. They, it would seem, are never troubled by mud, muck, or dribble.
Take today, for example: a beautiful warm spring day with a hint of breeze. I have arena dust in my ears and my hair; I have white horse hairs on my socks and my sleeve; I have green horse saliva on my jodhpurs. In the winter, I return home caked in mud and often have hay in my hair.
My beige breeches only come out for ‘good’ along with my long leather boots. Even then, I wear a pair of trousers over the top of them until just before I mount. It’s only wise when you have a horse that likes to use you as a scratching post.
Sometimes, I wish I were a Joules girl. Joules girls are never dirty, their hair is artfully tousled, their eyes sparkle and their skin glows. But then I console myself with the thought that life’s no fun unless you’re getting your hands dirty.