Hello horse people.
Well, it’s CC2’s birthday again today. That ‘again’ sounded a bit weary, as if it appeared unexpectedly or somehow unpleasantly, but neither are the case of course. It would be impossible not to notice an approaching child’s birthday, as any parent knows. We’re past the age of finding little lists in adoringly-shit handwriting admittedly, but the number of pages that get folded over in all the matchy catalogues starts to grow rapidly as September approaches.
This year’s birthday means several things: firstly, it means that this time next year she’ll be a teenager, and that’s fucking terrifying. I mean, she’s bad enough now, what’s she going to be like then? I’m literally shuddering at the thought, though I think that’s partly because I’m still refusing to put the central heating on until at least October.
Secondly, being that we live in this weird age of social media and that I’ve somehow fallen into the trap of chronicling her equine life, it means I have to go and change the words “11 year-old” to “12 year-old” in a load of different places online and can barely remember where they all are. Like when the clocks change and you have to run through all the stupid devices you own with a clock on them. FML.
It also occurred to me last night, literally mid-mouthful at dinner, that having finally sent off the finished book to be printed it’s already out of date as I put 11 in that too. So sorry about that; I’ll try and remember to add biros into all the envelopes so you can fix it yourselves.
Thirdly it means of course that we now have a pile of horse-related tat sat amongst piles of discarded wrapping paper on the kitchen table. Or do we? Seeing as I’m at home today and CC1 and 2 have gone to work and school respectively, let’s analyse this year’s crop of loot shall we?
OK, so. Her presents included some shiny new trainers, a weekend trip away, a candle and a book. What’s all this? That doesn’t sound very horsey, does it? Have we foisted ‘normal’ presents onto her in a bid to cure her? Or has she suddenly turned into a ‘normal’ 12 year-old and given me my house back?
Ha, not very fucking likely. I should be so lucky. No… let’s take a closer look.
New trainers. How are they horsey? Well, to be honest, I don’t think they are really. But they’re made by a very popular brand of horse-related tat (“The Gucci of horse clothing”, CC2 told me in the car on the way to school this morning) and they have only one planned role in life. They’re specifically to be worn at prancing shows, after riding and after boots have been removed, but to look good with jodhpurs. A sort of casual, “Yeah, I was just riding – but now I’m not” kind of thing. Footwear to match rosettes.
In other words, they’re just normal trainers, but overpriced in line with the brand name on them that’s associated with other stuff they also make that’s well respected but not actually these? Yes.
So on first glance, not very horsey, but on closer inspection, ridiculously horsey. So horsey, I didn’t even know the entire concept existed. Shoes for wearing between horse boots and normal shoes. A sort of ‘come-down’ shoe, or an airlock between an equine version of a deep-sea dive and dry land. But basically just for showing off in. We got them cheap though, apparently. Don’t tell CC2.
Next, a weekend away. Well, there’s only one weekend away that CC2 would ever want as a gift and it is, naturally, a weekend with some horses. A ‘camp’ of some kind. I tend to think that saying she’s gone ‘to a camp’ sounds a bit Al-Qaeda, and have no idea what happens at them, but although there’s probably some mild equine radicalisation, I’ve been assured there are no weapons.
Two out of two.
Thirdly, a candle. Well, hang on, how can a candle be in any way horse-related? When it smells of hay, that’s when. Yes, that’s right, you can buy candles designed to smell like a manky old stable. It seems a little odd to me to mix the concepts of dried grass and naked flames but somebody has and they apparently get on like a house on fire. CC2 opened the lid, drew in a massive breath with eyes screwed up tight and let out the most satisfied sigh of contentment I’ve ever heard. I had a quick whiff and was nearly sick. It really does smell like a manky old stable. I think our noses have started to actually work differently.
Quite why she needs her room to smell like stale hay and horse piss is anyone’s guess as that’s all it ever smells of now. But she seemed happy enough and who am I to argue? I might try to find one for me called ‘Old pub’ that reeks of sticky carpets and stale beer. Actually, that does sound pretty good, *goes off to google*…
Lastly, a book. I’ll cut to the chase here, it was about horses. There was no suspense to drag out there. It’s got pictures of various famous horses and riders in, doing horsing. She tested me on the contents this morning, and I actually passed with flying colours. This shit’s starting to rub off on me, whether I like it or not (I don’t). She opened a page with a shiny brown horse on it and asked who it was. “Valegro,” I answered immediately. Because it’s always Valegro. I literally know the names of three horses ever and the other two are Shergar and Red Rum, and a quick Google has told me that neither of them have been seen alive for 23 years, which shows that I’m as old as I am ignorant.
The next page she tested me on was of a man on a horse. “Carl Hester?” I ventured. And it was. Which was lucky as he’s the only rider I know the name of apart from Charlotte of the Garden. CC2 seemed pretty impressed to be honest, but she’ll realise soon enough that she just needs to stay clear of the holy trinity of Hester/the Garden/Valegro and I’ll be completely fucked and wrong every single time.
So, a full house of nag-related gifts, as usual. But what’s this, I hear you ask? Nothing for the nag itself? Why, of course there was! A birthday or Christmas without a matchy matchy set of numbnut and legwarmers isn’t worthy of the name. So this evening, the nag will be resplendent in Blueberry, you’ll be delighted to learn.
She also got something to protect its feet or ankles or something. Was it ‘overboot’? Is that a thing? ‘Reach boot’? Dunno. Something apparently it needs to protect it when it bangs its feet together as it’s walking. Frankly, that sounds a bit spazzy to me for something that’s supposed to be so elegant and co-ordinated in its movements but there you go. Special shoes for the child, special shoes for the horse.
So that’s it. Three things for the horse, two things for CC2 to do with horses, one thing about horses and one thing that smells of horses. What a haul, eh?
Sadly, this also means something else this year. You see, this time last year I wrote a post about what we bought her and concluded that her addiction appeared to be getting worse and that it seemed like it was only getting more expensive. Well, it appears that both those points turned out to have been horribly true. And they’re both only getting worse still. The end is, apparently, very much not in sight, and my insistence that this is all ‘just a phase’ is now in its tenth year and looking a little dog-eared and desperate.
So what’s next year going to look like? Maybe a week in a special clinic for equine addiction with a candle that smells like horse shit? Coupled with a badly-timed overdue mortgage letter for me, no doubt.
Probably. Ah well, horse-shaped cake later I expect.