So – the best equestrian stunt of the decade or a total disgrace? Whatever you think about Indiana Ralph riding her cob into a local Tesco branch as part of a social media challenge, it’s certainly got people talking.
Indiana, known as Inky, rode her heavyweight show cob, Mr Bumble III, through the automatic doors and over to the soft drinks counter. Here, watched by amazed shoppers and an unimpressed member of the supermarket’s security staff, she downed a can of soft drink as part of a game that’s sweeping the country.
Sadly for Inky, Tesco didn’t think it was particularly amusing and as this post goes up, the video has been taken down and police are investigating. Even sadder, the challenge she was taking part in has also resulted in the death of a young; 19-year-old Jonny Byrne drowned after jumping into a river as part of his challenge.
One thing it has proved, though, is that horse people are up for a challenge. Contenders amongst my friends include a show producer long reining a pony whilst she’s wearing a bikini and balancing on roller skates and a showjumper competing in a onesie. And having played 20 Questions with a friend who is a dealer, I think Sussex might be about to see its very own Lady Godiva; I’m hoping a flesh-coloured body suit might be involved rather than the truly authentic version.
Whatever your views on this – and full marks to those who down non-alcoholic drinks and prove that you don’t need booze to have a good time – some stunts have brightened the dull days. I’m still laughing at a riding instructor friend who wore fairy wings and sprayed her riding boots with silver glitter before downing her orange juice in front of a class of children. If you had to sum her up in two words, it would be ‘correct’ and ‘conscientious’ – so good on her for having fun and for persuading the parents of her pupils to sponsor her by contributing to the school’s Riding for the Disabled Association group.
The motto for us all must be: Have fun, but do no harm. If we can raise funds for a few good causes, so much the better. Perhaps there’s also another message, and that’s to get out of the rut and try something different.
If you spend most of your time in an arena, make an effort to get your horse out in the open. I know it’s difficult if you don’t have good hacking, but make the effort, box up with a friend or two and head for the nearest bridleway network or organised ride. You and your horse will gain a different outlook and I bet you’ll both pick up your work with enthusiasm.
Likewise, if you count yourself as a ‘happy hacker,’ do some lateral thinking. You can school on a hack, concentrating on making good transitions and square halts and riding a little lateral work when it’s safe to do so. Even if you have no ambitions to compete, your horse will be a much nicer ride.
And if you live in east Sussex and happen to meet Lady Godiva out hacking, you read it here first.