Christmas is an increasingly distant blur and you’ve forgotten what summer entails all together. But fear not. Here are nine horsey ways to beat the January blues (aside from hibernation)
1. Have a flutter at your local point-to-point
Dig out all the clothes you own (plus a few more), find your thickest socks, locate a balaclava and if you can still walk, set off for your local point-to-point. If you’re feeling ambitious (or have lost the plot completely) pack a picnic. Otherwise make a beeline for the burger van. Visit www.pointtopoint.co.uk
2. Invest in some bath oils
Riding in gale force winds is no-one’s idea of fun. But sinking into a long, hot bath afterwards (with a copy of H&H) swiftly counters the pain.
3. Book your tickets for Badminton
Transport yourself to the Gloucestershire countryside where the sun is (hopefully) shining and ice creams are in abundance by booking your tickets to this year’s Badminton Horse Trials (3-7 May). The box office will open for public booking on Wednesday 11 January.Visit: www.badminton-horse.co.uk
4. Hit the January sales
We’ve found that the positive effects of retail therapy are particularly impressive if you’re in the market for fleece-lined jodhpurs, woolly yard boots — or any other fetching garment that is likely to improve your quality of life 10-fold this winter.
5. Get competitive
Getting cabin fever at the yard? Book in for some indoor showjumping or dressage at your local equestrian centre to give your schooling some focus. Visit Equo.
6. Have a film-fest
Driving rain may dampen your riding spirits — but those are the ideal conditions for an equestrian film-fest. Line up all your old Thrills’n’Spills videos, National Velvet, Black Beauty and Seabiscuit, crack open the popcorn and get horizontal on the sofa. Every cloud…
7. Take action against your muddy gateways
There’s no shame in admitting that you were wrong not to install hard standing in your field gateway at the beginning of the winter. Trudging through mud everyday to get your horse in is enough to bring anyone to the brink of tears. Laying down woodchip can be a good short-term solution at this stage — although this is likely to need replacing with something more substantial in the long-term. Find out how to deal with muddy gateways.
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8. Get excited about the Cheltenham Festival
For top-class action and notable pointers of horses to follow at the Festival in March, head to Cheltenham on Saturday 28 January for Festival Trials Day. After all the excitement you’ll be booking your tickets for the Festival (14-17 March) on the way home… Visit: cheltenham.thejockeyclub.co.uk
9. Train with a celeb
While you’re (theoretically) saving money by not competing, splash your cash on signing up to a clinic with a top rider to give you some inspiration for the coming season.