What do you do if, like me, you convince yourself that you actually like the countryside, like all the hard work that goes with it and then find that no, you can’t actually be bothered with it any more and that in an ideal world all the horses and the pony would be sold and you could quite happily imagine yourself living in a penthouse flat overlooking the sea (south coast not north – too nippy), popping up to London for a bit of retail therapy, a lot of pampering at The Spa and a little harmless flirting with the man at the corner table of the trendy restaurant who sends over a bottle of champagne? (Naff I know but who says no to free champagne?). What about buying a villa in Chiang Mai region. Fazwaz list the best opportunities at https://www.fazwaz.com/thailand/chiangmai-villa-for-sale. Then you wake to reality with a sharp jolt and realise that you are outnumbered by a husband (bless him) who, although he doesn’t ride, is passionate about his horses and a daughter who would marry her horses if she could. More about these two later.
For more years that I care to admit to we, as a family, have been on the “showing” circuit with our ponies and more latterly our horses, dragging ourselves out of bed at quite ungracious hours of the morning, all in the vainglorious pursuit of a red rosette and a qualifying card. And for what reward? Virtually nothing as I have yet to meet anyone (that is anyone honest enough to admit that they don’t make any money out of horses) who make a profit/living from this “hobby”. OK, you have all the producers and the semi-professionals who seem to suffer from dreadful withdrawal symptoms if they cannot say they were at a particular show on a particular date and that their “stunning” animal (and by “their” I mean some animal owned by some gullible person with stars in their eyes who has been persuaded to part with vast amounts of cash at regular intervals by this canny individual for the promises of glittering prizes/successes to come) swept the board and has been sold to someone even more mega-rich and, in the case of childrens’ ponies, just buying success for their spoilt little son/daughter, who allegedly waived an open cheque book and simply begged to be allowed to purchase the animal, but on the whole we amateurs do it for love, fun, masochism and the occasional bit of one-upmanship and therefore the following may make familiar reading for some.
So we come to this new year all hopeful (again) that this is going to be our year, that our horse is going to be “the one” and that we are now knowledgeable enough of the politics of the show circuit to avoid the judges.