Although equestrians could be considered super-human (5am starts, juggle full-time jobs with horses, don't blink at knee deep mud), we are unfortunately still mere mortals and winter can find us guilty of making some well-known excuses...
1. I can’t ride today — the weather is awful. It’s not fair on [insert name of horse]
Let’s face it, riding in January in minus temperatures or in the middle of a snow storm doesn’t come high on the agenda. You convince yourself your four-legged friend would be much happier munching hay in his stable instead.
But… Just think how great you’ll feel for that half an hour… Wrap up warm, dig out that beautiful fleecy exercise rug that has been sitting in your tack room collecting dust and set yourself a target. You’ll thank yourself in the spring when your horse isn’t bucking you off at the first sight of an open field.
2. I’ll practise my schooling tomorrow
You have your weekly lesson looming and you know you should be working hard on your transitions, but after a long day concentrating in the office, a hard schooling session doesn’t sound quite so appealing.
But… If you don’t want to feel like a teenager explaining why you haven’t done your homework, push yourself to spend that bit of time working on your exercises then reward yourself with a jump or hack at the end. You’ll have a much more productive lesson when it arrives (and a much happier trainer).
3. My first show of the season is weeks away, I’ll wait and clean my tack then
The thought of pulling a bridle apart to clean can make your heart sink…
But… take your tack home and set up camp in front of the television to ease the burden. Before you know it you have a sparkling bridle before The Voice has even finished.
4. I have all day, I’ll muck out later
It’s the weekend and you have the whole day at the yard…
Why not… Make mucking out and haynet filling your first job of the day. Stick the radio on and it will be done in no time, leaving the whole day to spend with your horse riding and pampering.
5. I’ll gut the tackroom in spring
Winter can mean housekeeping goes out the window. Everything sounds like a “springtime” job rather than a right-now job.
Why not… Get ahead and spend a day tidying out your box, getting rid of the rubbish, looking out your lightweight turnouts for cleaning. When springtime does arrive you’ll know exactly where everything is ahead of show season and won’t be cursing yourself for having a tack room that replicates the muck-heap.
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6. I’ll book that MOT next month
That’s your horse’s MOT to be clear. You have high aims for 2017 and are looking forward to a busy competition season.
So… Don’t delay and book that saddler/physio/dentist appointment that has been on your to-do list now before the season rush. Hopefully you’ll hit spring running with a fit and healthy horse ready to achieve those goals.