Imagine it: you’ve just seen in the new year, you’ve eaten grapes under the table at midnight (thanks TikTok) to bring in good luck for 2024 and you’re feeling positive for the year ahead… until, of course, your horse (who you’ve never fallen off in all the years you’ve owned him) decides to bring your mood hurtling back down to earth.

First of all, I was hungover. I’d had a great night down the local pub with good friends, but the 4am bed time and the 8am alarm didn’t fare well for me. The 8am alarm was set because I planned on going New Year’s Day hunting but, alas, that didn’t happen – the start of my bad day.

So I’m up, I’m dressed to go hunting and I arrive at the yard hungover (but still positive for the day and year ahead). I go to my horse box to pop all my bits in it and, to my surprise, it won’t unlock. I keep clicking the button – nothing. I try the key in the door – nothing (apparently my main key doesn’t unlock the box, only my spare). I change the battery in the key fob – nothing. Well, I’m sure you can guess, by this point my patience was being tested. Anyway, I decided, in the positive frame of mind that I was in, that it just wasn’t meant to be. For some reason, Arlo and I were not meant to go hunting that day, so I gave up.

In this moment I also decided it would still be really nice to go for a New Year’s Day ride. The sun was shining and I still really fancied getting out, so I tacked him up and off we went.

The first 20 minutes of the hack was quite lovely. He was fresh, but we pootled along up to the farm track and had a nice walk and trot. We then came to the “canter” track and, seeing as I was having such a lovely time, I thought (in all my wisdom) that I’d get my phone out to video our canter, which I’d also like to point out I’d done many times before. This is my trusty steed, of course. Why wouldn’t I?

Well, bad idea on this occasion. As soon as I asked for canter, he bucked me straight off. The horse that, in my eyes, has never put a hoof wrong in his life, floored me.

I hit the floor, and Arlo, shocked at what he’d done, continued to gallop up the track, worryingly.  Unfortunately, in all the chaos, my phone had flown out of my hand and, after rooting around for it for a minute, I saw it in the bottom of a water-filled ditch – so in I clambered to get it. There was no way I was catching up with Arlo and in that moment I needed to call for help. Fortunately, as he neared the top of the track, he turned around and came back down towards me and, although reluctant to be caught, and after what seemed forever, he eventually came over to me. And breathe!

At this point I actually think I laughed, and I think I continued to laugh almost all the way home, as we did the “walk of shame”, because there was no way he was letting me back on him.

Anyway, fortunately, we were both OK. I came off worse with a cut to the finger and a bruised ego, but Arlo was proud of himself.

Happy New Year, everyone.

White horse

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