This week I smugly handed over my NAF purple shampoo to my friend Rosie. After two years of having grey horses, I danced a secret little jig to myself that I no longer had to wander to the stables in trepidation about what colour horse would greet me and my pot of Soda Crystals could revert back to cleaning clothes rather than tails.
Instead of a grey I had bought myself a dark bay. I was so pleased with my wise decision making in choosing a horse whose colour would be easy to maintain and who had no chrome (white bits) at all.
After day 1, this feeling of joy had eroded rapidly when I discovered dust showed up everywhere. A simple swipe with a brush is not enough and you are fighting a losing battle.
On day 2 it rained. I discovered that mud was lighter than my new horse and that every single speck of mud showed up along with the dust which was now worse thanks to mud. The upside is the tail is easy to do.
On day 3 you realise all the navy items you have carefully cultivated over the years for that classic look and which looks great on a bay, chestnut or grey looks pretty terrible on a dark bay and instead you are peering at catalogues and wondering if orange is a practical colour for a saddle cloth.
On day 4 you realise that all your stuff which looked pretty normal on other horses and subtle either blends into nothingness like navy or stands out like a beacon. Take a red tail bandage – it has suddenly become a bright beacon. Likewise, the lightweight cooler rug in light blue.
On day 5 you are looking through competition photos and can barely find yourself as you just merge into the background. I have mentally prepared myself for being missed by photographers again after having a chestnut with a lot of chrome and greys who always look photogenic.
On day 6 you realise cars have sped up despite high viz, whereas with a grey they tend to slow down. I dare not ride out in dusk without high viz because you really cannot see the horse!
On Day 7 I did have a cheery moment – my quarter marks look great. I have missed quarter marks after having greys!
So those who say, I would never have a grey, actually I do not think they are that hard work. The only onerous bit is a grey tail but my good friend purple shampoo combined with soda crystals tends to keep this under control. A dark horse is just as much effort and work. The Snuggy hood will still be coming out; my bank balance is still coughing up for cleaning products and winter will still be a perpetual cycle of cleaning off mud.
As for having a piebald horse, I cannot imagine the pain. Dark bits to show up dust and mud, white bits which show up dirt next to the black bits and never look really clean. Note to self. Never get a coloured horse. My OCD would never cope.