When you are a horse owner, January has to be one of the worst months. The weather is dreadful and it is dark all the time. I am so fed up of wet rugs and feeling like I have run a marathon simply by walking up the field in all the mud. On the plus side, I imagine it is helping to shift the weight I gained over Christmas.

I was fortunate enough to spend Christmas and New Year in New Zealand where it was beautiful and sunny, so returning back to England was especially hard. Getting up at 6.15am and finding it pitch black was a real shock, and even worse, when at 7am it was still dark and taking three ponies up the field had certainly lost its appeal.

Although the weather is terrible and I have no motivation to get out of bed in the morning to ride before work (it is bad enough at the weekends), I know I must if I want to get my lot fit and ready for shows. So I face the ‘guilt’ each morning — I imagine it is what it is like to have children and feel you aren’t quite spending enough time with them! So I did it. I dragged myself out of bed and got my horses back into work.

Picasso only had a few weeks off as I had been keeping him ticking over to try and keep his weight down, as he generally resembles a whale, even in winter. Having only contended a handful of shows last year, I want to aim to get him out into some novice classes through the winter as he is now coming five. Picasso is one of the sanest young ponies I have ever had, so I find myself often leaving him until last to ride in the pitch black.

Leo (pictured top) has afforded himself a lovely break since HOYS (Horse of the Year Show), so I thought it was about time I got my brave pants on and re-backed him! For a pony who is usually so sharp to get on, he really has been a saint. I put him on the lunge for the first few days and then got back on board and he has been fab. Our first ride on the road, we did a lot of walking with me on foot as he has always been more sharp and nervous on the road but he still didn’t throw any shapes. He must be saving them all up for his first show! I am really pleased with how he is looking though, as he really has matured on over the winter. I’m excited to see what the season brings for him.

Jacob

My baby Welsh section C, Popsters Mr Nando, has been with Ollie and Jo to start his education and I am really pleased with how he is coming on. He has improved so much already and is almost ready to be got on. He has a lovely nature and I look forward to seeing how he takes to it all. Once he is ridden away he will come back to me for a break and some time out in the field to mature. He is only four so there is no rush to get him out anyway.

Mr Nando

Continued below…

Jacob, who is 20 this year (something neither him or I can believe!), is just enjoying casual rides. There is no pressure to be working on his fitness but I do know he likes to go for a hack at the weekend and he is still my favourite boy, so when the weather is nice we have a nice saunter around the lanes, although when being led in from the field he still likes to think he is doing a lap of honour at the Royal Welsh!

Fingers crossed next time I blog the weather will have been a little nicer to us and we won’t be fighting with constant downpours and gale force winds!

Chloe