“New year, new you,” you think optimistically as you skip down to the yard. It’s time for a fresh start. You’re going to put all those bad habits behind you, and with the help of a few New Year’s resolutions, you and your horse will be like a well-oiled winning machine in 2016. Oh yeah! Except…it’s not quite as easy as that, is it? Here are a few resolutions that you might find trickier to keep than you think…

1. Stop treating your car like a mobile tack room

You’ve skipped the straw out of your boot (how did it even get in there?), removed the long-lost jodhpur boot from under the passenger seat, and tracked down the source of the strange smell — although you don’t want to go into that here. Your car is immaculate and you intend to keep that way. And so you will — until you suddenly run out of hay and have to make an emergency trip to the country supplies store to wedge as many bales as you can into the boot, or you’re running late after a muddy ride, and lob your filthy boots and chaps into the back of the car. And so it begins….

2. Clean your tack daily

Weekly. OK, monthly. Let’s be realistic here.

Continued below…

3. Try some new hacking routes

What a lovely idea! Until you find yourself having to get off 15 times to open gates, or being chased through a field by some irate llamas, and remember why, exactly, you always stick to your tried-and-trusted routes.

4. Stop blowing all your wages in online horsey emporiums

Guilty of whiling away time at work — ahem, your precious downtime — browsing horsey websites? Us too. And you know how it is, without really registering what you’re doing, you’ve added a new jacket, or yet another set of brushing boots in a really funky shade of blue, to your basket. And checked out, and paid for them. Just think how much more healthy your bank balance will be when you beat this addiction! You can do it… until you see the new range of matching saddlecloths and bandages, or those gorgeous competition breeches, at your favourite online store. Nobody can resist this amount of temptation. Blame the Devil when you succumb.

5. Join a gym to improve your rider fitness

You put so much effort into keeping your horse fit, sometimes your own fitness goes by the wayside. You know you could improve your riding by getting stronger and more flexible…Only problem with that is, if you’ve only got one precious hour to exercise, what are you going to do, head to the gym — or ride? Go figure!

6. Give up wine/smoking/chocolate so you can afford a new saddle

Ha ha ha! Good luck with that!