Look, the lockdown is kak (there’s no diplomatic way to say it), but let’s be honest - as equestrians we have trained our whole lives for this moment. Isolating ourselves? Handling 70% alcohol several times an hour?? Saving money like we’ve made bad financial decisions??? Guys, please. We’ve got this pandemic thing under control.
Here are ten things you probably didn’t even know you know how to do… so thanks, horses - if you don’t put us in the hospital first, we’ll probably weather this storm okay.
1. WE CAN WASH HANDS LIKE WE ARE WASHING A GREY HORSE FOR A SHOW
Seriously - anyone who has ever had to get a grey horse ready for a showing class knows how to wash. Simply apply those rules to your hands and I guarantee you, no germs will survive the mission. Tears are optional.
2. WE CAN KEEP DISTANCES LIKE WE ARE WALKING BEHIND A PONY
You only make this mistake once. Pretend like you are about to make it again, and every person at the mall is a salty old pony mare at a riding school at 4.45pm, and you’ll nail social distancing with ease.
3. WE CAN STAY AT HOME LIKE IT’S CHAMPIONSHIP DAY TOMORROW
This does not apply to eventers, who proceed to drink their weight in alcoholic beverages as some fascinating (and apparently successful) means of carbo-loading. Rather, channel your inner dressage rider. Worry about everything. Be in bed by 8pm running through every worst case scenario possible in your head. There you go! Now you’ll never want to leave.
4. OUR IMMUNE SYSTEMS ARE HEALTHY AF
Oh admit it - you’ve cleaned ticks out of an ear, picked out a dirty hoof, mucked out a few stables, and then eaten a sandwich. There are only two kinds of equestrians really: those that have done it, and those that lie about not having done it. It’s okay, we’re all gross. And this is the moment for our subsequently robust immune systems to shine.
5. NO ONE SOCIALISES WITH US ANYWAY
Horse people are the worst. We have weird schedules, we miss friend’s weddings in favour of training shows, our community is tiny and incestuous, people are rolling in money like Scrooge McDuck or selling saddles to pay for bridles (can never have enough bridles). JILLY COOPER KNEW NOTHING. But that’s okay, because we have our horses, and they can’t carry the “rona”.
6. WE HAVE ALL DEALT WITH AN INFECTIOUS HORROR AT SOME POINT
Hang around horses for long enough and there will be a strangles, influenza, or rotavirus outbreak that you will have to deal with, and when our horses are at risk suddenly everyone becomes infinitely more careful - apparently it is only other human beings we are a bit contemptuous towards. We are thorough at dipping, spraying, sanitising, cleaning, and vaccinating wherever possible… this should be a cinch, right? RIGHT??
7. IF ALL ELSE FAILS… BOX REST
If there is one thing we might all take out of this, it is an appreciation of how absolutely rotten box rest must be. But at least we are familiar with the concept: box rest means box rest. Not going into the paddock for five minutes. Not doing a quick hack. Not lunging every other day. Just. Stay. In. Your. Box.
Click here to read points 8 to 10 in the August issue on page 40:
Georgie Roberts is a dressage diva by day, content creator and media marketer at The Off Side by night, and broodmare of a leggy filly between it all. She is a fan of Jack Russell Terrorists, long walks to the fridge, and writing wrongs.