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Dear diary,

So, despite being stuck on box rest myself, with a hole in my foot bigger than the national debt, and the threat of a one way trailer ride over the bridge hanging over my head like a brochure for Barnard Castle over the Cummings, I yet again I find myself with the nation’s equine mental health in the frog of my hoof. So many horses have called the Hovis Helpline this week due to the new box rest enforced upon our humans by their hirsute herd leader. The tales of suffering have been hard to listen to — and let’s face it, I’m owned by the blubbership, so I know all about suffering.

But as always, I have been there to help, even though by the end of each day I’d done so much talking I was horse. Badda bish! Thank you, I am available for socially distanced bar mitzvahs and the funerals of family turkeys…

While there were many many calls for help, the themes where pretty standard — the extended bald patch-inducing grooming, the excessive bathing, leading to clinical grade PTSD every time it rains, the endless circles while sporting more paraphernalia than a refugee from a bondage shop and my personal favourite; the disappointment from the thoroughbred community when they mistook furlough for furlong. It’s fair to say none of us are enjoying this latest round of box rest caused by the human strangles epidemic; this new round of enforced “quality time” is getting thinner than a vegan self-isolating at McDonald’s.

The herd bosses are getting very firm in their messages about how the humans should try and behave in order to reduce the number of infections and have been using the simple slogan of hands, face, space. Now this isn’t difficult but clearly many humans have an intellect rivalled only by garden tools so are finding this hard – I therefore recommend the following tips to help them remember it:

Hands: In order for them to remember the importance of these appendages in the spread of the disease, try biting them next time your human slips you a carrot or apple. Now, I can get away with it a little more as I am legally blind in my right eye, but all of you can master the “oops, you’re wearing enough fake tan that I thought you were a carrot” slippage, or my personal favourite the “suck and duck” as you pull their finger into your rear molars with more suction than a turbo charged Dyson. While they may not thank you for this digit damage at the time (the duck might sound like it has a different letter at the front of it when they’re dancing about screaming like Mariah Carey seeing the wrong colour roses on her rider), but the constant dull ache of flattened fingers might remind them to keep those bad boys clean and sterile.

Face: Now, to be fair, many humans are wearing their masks, which is a relief to many of us being saved from constant snogging. But as we discussed last week, condition scoring your human regularly will help determine whether they should be wearing a mask or a muzzle. For any of you unfortunate enough to have had to wear the latest in fat fighters facial fun-killers, then this is a great time to exact revenge on your human — I strongly recommend the liberal application of gaffer tape to ensure that their mask is worn “correctly” and that breathing is an overrated human activity…

Space: Now, as good social citizens it is incumbent upon us to ensure that social distancing is maintained at all times, whether the human is trying to catch you, mount you or lunge you. For all our sakes, rigidly keep a minimum of 2m away from their potentially diseased derrieres. For those of you struggling to visualise what 2m looks like, flatten your human to the ground and keep the length of their prone form away from them at all times.

Simples.

If we all follow these very simple rules, we may have some sort of chance of getting humans off the couch, out of lounge suits and back to work — a bygone time where they stayed away for 12 hours a day, earning money for us to lovingly give to the poor in the world; you know, vets and the like.

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Talking of those less fortunate than myself, and acknowledging the fact that there’s only so many times it’s healthy to watch programmes on 1001 ways to hide a body, please all remember that my brilliant (even if I do say so myself) books — all six of them peoples, I haz not been idle — are available to buy from www.bransbyhorses.co.uk, with all the money going to the charity.

And on that subject, stay tuned, because I may well have some exciting news coming your way in the next few days. Check out my Facebook page for the big reveal (yes, I am a tease and no, I’m not sorry) over the coming few days.

Laters,

Still Hoppy Hovis

Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade to access our H&H Plus online service which brings you breaking news as it happens as well as other benefits.

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