Three things I know about horses:
01 They like loitering in fields
02 They're pretty big on hay
03 They made great padding for microwave lasagnes.
I've never previously felt the need to go within hoofing distance of one, but that didn't stop our esteemed editor from sending me to intern at Your Horse mag for a day - and like the characters in the film, I found myself way out of my depth…
The sun is shining over a grassy field in rural Surrey. I arrive wearing my formal jeans (the ones with no holes in the crotch) and pearly white trainers, dressed to impress my new horse-loving colleagues. It didn't work. My mentor - a woman wearing knee-high boots and an expression that says, "Cross me and I'll whip you so hard you'll be whinnying for a week" - hands me more horse-appropriate clothing and shows me around the stables.
I meet Equus, a fine specimen of a horse (probably) but it's pretty clear to all present that I don't like him, and he doesn't like me. I know that, because as I go to pat him on the nose, he stares right into my eyes and takes a dump the size of a traffic cone. My mentor hands me a rake, points to the steaming turd, and tells me to get to work. Now, I've had some crappy jobs in my time, but literally shovelling shit, while the hairy bastard that produced it stands there and watches, is a new low.
Having mucked out Equus' paddock, brushed him down and replenished his stable with fresh hay, I take a well-earned breather. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot a glossy-haired, thoroughbred filly. Her name's Emma and she works part-time at the neighbouring stables. Apparently, exchanging horse-related pleasantries with a fellow stable hand is frowned upon at Your Horse, which could explain why I'm handed a weighty leather saddle and made to spend the next hour chasing after Equus, trying to get the bloody thing on his back, and getting repeatedly knocked on my arse in the process. Emma doesn't look impressed.
As a reward for all my hard work, my mentor offers me a ride on Equus - apparently one of the perks of working at Your Horse. I politely decline. As a punishment for being such a pathetic city boy, she forces me to anyway. I mount my steed with all the grace of a newborn giraffe wearing oversized roller-skates, but eventually manage to get on. And sitting on the horse's back, slowly clip-clopping around the fields feels, well…great. Equus doesn't, as predicted, flip me off his back, shit on me and trample me to death; he just potters about, occasionally stopping to munch on some grass. The sweat on my back, the bruises on my limbs and the faeces on my clothes all suddenly seem worth it. My mentor says I'm welcome back any time. And you know what, I might take her up on it. If nothing else, the horses smell a heck of a lot better than the animals in the FHM office.
Words by Dan "Spudz" Masoliver
Our man's horsey experience was inspired by this summer's most face-achingly funny movie, The Internship (in cinemas now).
The film sees the incredible return of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn - starring together for the first time since Wedding Crashers - playing a pair of salesmen whose careers are torpedoed by the rise of the internet. In a bid to catch up with the digital world, they talk their way into a coveted internship at Google, only to find themselves way out of their depth. Now they've got to compete with the finest young minds in the country and prove that you really can teach old dogs new tricks.