We all know that drinking and horseback riding have a long and distinguished history together.
Whether it’s a sip of a flask on a fox hunt, or a beer on the porch after a long day of lessons, booze and riding just seem to fit. For those of you that enjoy a glass or two, here are the perfect pairings to go along with your typical equestrian experiences.
1. Unmounted Adult Pony Club Lesson
Oh, the joys of being an over 21 Pony Clubber. You know what makes learning about the skeletal and muscular systems ten times more enjoyable? A very full glass of Merlot. Its velvety taste and fruity notes will distract you from the fact that you’re 20+ years older than anyone else in the room. Especially when the children are asking intelligent, pointed questions about complex vascular routing while you’re still trying to remember where the heck the croup is.
2. Driving a trailer
Maybe you’re an experienced horse transporter, gracefully balancing your triple shot vanilla latte in one hand while parallel parking your three-horse slant load with the other. But for most of you weekend warriors, the experience of pulling a trailer can be summed up in one word: terrifying. The fear of getting in an accident and injuring your precious furry cargo is enough to send anyone into a cold sweat.
After safely returning home and stowing your trailer and its occupants, consider delicately sipping on a delicious dessert wine to celebrate the fact that you just drove thousands of pounds of horseflesh to and from an event, and you did it without sideswiping a mailbox or flattening a single Prius. The dessert wine will be the perfect finish, since you just had a main course of being awesome with a side dish of kicking butt.
3. Show Day (or Rating Day for those Pony Clubbers out there)
It does not matter how much you practice, how clean your horse is, or how many times you read the Pony Club Handbook, sometimes things don’t go as planned. So finish up that rough ride with a smile, hop off, and kindly ask your groom/significant other/total-stranger-who-just-happens-to-be-in-reach-of-your-cooler to hand you a hefty glass of Malbec. Its complex and intense flavor will quickly make you forget that you ate dirt in the warm-up ring, that your mount took that one stride as the world’s biggest oxer, or that you missed the call to “Walk, riders, walk,” and happily trotted around the arena while wondering why everyone else was slowing down. Bottoms up, friends.
4. Successfully jumping a new height
Your feelings of elation will be perfectly matched in a sparkling Rosé, or even a crisp Chardonnay. The best part is, after a glass or two, you’ll feel ready to move up another height in the same afternoon. Seize the day! And also the bottle.
The taste of a Syrah is greatly improved when a dash of slightly dirty, freshly clipped horse hair is added. It really brings out the notes of blackberry and pepper, while highlighting the delightful aftertaste of pasture mud and what you can only hope is pre-digested hay. Be prepared to season several glasses this way, as clipping always takes twice as long as you planned on. The clipping session may soon turn into a race between what you finish first, the clip job or the bottle.
6. Lame horse on lesson day
Did you just show up the barn, only to discover your pony has a leg the size of a small water buffalo? Grab a chair, pour yourself a glass of Pinot Grigio, and sit back for some good ol’ fashioned cold hosing. For best results, watch the lesson while you attend to your mount. This wine perfectly accompanies the feeling of relief you’ll experience when you realize that you’re not in the ring, suffering through stirrup-less grid work with your fellow lesson goers.
Feel free to shout words of encouragement as you down your glass, like “You’re pinching with your knee!” or “Get your shoulders back!” That’s not a death glare from your peers and instructor, it’s obviously an expression of admiration, since you’ve somehow become the world’s best rider with only one (or three) glasses of wine.
7. Emergency Vet Call
You’ve just gotten to the barn, peeked in the stall where your horse is quietly munching his hay and discovered that pieces of him have somehow literally fallen off. In fact, you can see he’s spurting blood like an extra from Kill Bill. Once assistance has arrived, crack open a bottle of Pinot Noir, and enjoy the undernotes of cherry and a hint of currant. The sweet flavors will help to offset the slightly bitter taste of empty bank account, as you pay for yet another after-hours vet call.
8. Tackling Your Fears
Break out the strong stuff for this one, wine just isn’t going to hack it here. It might be a cross country schooling day on a pony that’s been described as “really enthusiastic”, it might be heading down centerline on your (very, very recently) off the track thoroughbred. It might even be just successfully trotting past that damn gate in the arena where Muffins always throws a fit. Everyone has their demons. It doesn’t matter what yours is, but it’s a solid bet that it will look a lot less scary with a swig of something strong in your system.
So saddle up and break out those bottles, ladies and gents. Liquid courage isn’t just a saying.
About the Author
When Aubrey Moore isn’t riding her horse Flynn or doing near-constant maintenance on her truck, she can be found with a glass of wine in hand, chatting happily with her cat Frankie.