I can never quite decide if I enjoy the winter with horses — or really, really hate it — and these past few months have been no exception.

The lack of shows and a break for the ponies does mean I get to be a little more “normal”. I’ve enjoyed a few weekends where I can actually do stuff that doesn’t involve getting up at 4am and driving hours to ride around in circles.

But the winter also heralds the start for the new novice ponies, which I always find a really exciting.

Over the past few weeks I’ve started jumping my novice New Forest Warwick and he has shown he certainly has a talent for it — however, I am not so sure about me! We have been practising and Ollie [Burchell] has assured me I will be good enough to jump him round the workers classes, but I am yet to be convinced.

I am really enjoying it, but having only jumped up to 14hh ponies when I was younger, I’m not sure I have the necessary skills to jump the larger courses. I don’t want to go letting him down as he is certainly talented, but I am keen to give it a go so we will be heading out for a few novice classes to see how we get on.  Watch this space as my mum can’t — she has already said she will be hiding while I am jumping!

The curse of the winter also means I spend too much time on Facebook. After a few weeks of seeing photos and photos of people going out to shows, I cracked and decided to join the madness by going to a winter show! Poor Jacob hadn’t cantered since last November, but on a whim I thought he might quite like going out to a party and I was right.

For once Jacob was actually quite sprightly, bouncing his way around the ring even more Tigger-like than usual! I just can’t help but smile when I ride Jacob — whatever he does he makes me laugh and this time was no exception. He managed to win 2 classes and stood overall reserve champion earning himself a scarf. He was certainly pleased with himself when he went off on his lap of honour and the judge did suggest that he was too naughty to be a veteran!

Now I’m just waiting for the mornings to get light enough so we can go riding before I go to work. It’s time for everyone to get fit again. Although Jacob doesn’t look bad, he could do with some more bum and a bit less belly, which we all know means it’s time to find some hills. I can’t wait for the veteran classes now!

Alongside Jacob and Warwick, I have a new Welsh section C (pictured top), who Ollie is currently breaking for me. It’s been a while since I’ve had a mare — in fact my last mare was when I was in 15hh SHP classes so it has been a really long time — but I am looking forward to having a bit of a change. It will be nice to have not have ‘boy’ issues in the summer.

Popsters Glamorise (known as Bam Bam to her friends) is a dun with four white socks and I’ve been very lucky to be offered her by the Popsters Stud to see how we get on. We are starting slowly as she is only 4, but hopefully she will take to being ridden well and enjoy herself.

I have sat on her a couple of times now and she is really comfy. I look forward to keeping you up to date with how she is going over the season.

Chloe