Christmas with Carl Hester

  • H&H asks six-times national dressage champion Carl Hester how he spends his Christmas

    What are your best childhood Christmas memories?

    The magic of Sark, in the Channel Islands, where I grew up. We all used to go carol singing, walking up to three miles a night. There were only 500-odd people on the island and so we would visit just about every house. There are no cars and it is so different from England — Christmas was like a real-life crib scene.

    What has been your best and worst Christmas?

    My worst was when I was invited to someone’s house and was running a temperature of 104°F. I had a Jack Russell terrier and every time I sneezed he would clear up after me. It was revolting! It happened just before lunch. I couldn’t get my hanky out in time — and put everyone off eating.

    One of my best was when I held a Christmas party. At 11pm, my neighbour Robert Oliver and two of his grooms came galloping up the drive blaring a hunting horn and joined in the fun. He was making a point — he hadn’t been invited. I make sure he always gets an invitation now!

    What is your favourite Christmas tradition?

    Eating mince pies, which starts very early in the yard, thanks to our regular clients. It’s actually become a November tradition that travels through to Christmas.

    What do you do with your horses on Christmas Day?

    I muck out and pamper them. I always have friends over, but am fast running out of them as they are sick of being made to muck out with me!

    If you could have a Christmas wish granted, what would you wish for?

    To start my life all over again. It’s not that I don’t like how it’s going, but I would iron out a few major errors. Only those in the know will understand what I mean.

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