There are plenty of ways of indulging your love of all things equestrian this December, whether you fancy having a blast on a tinsel ride or snuggling up watching Olympia on the red button…
1. Leave your own horse at home and head to Windsor Great Park, where you can snuggle up under a cosy rug and enjoy a magical Christmas carriage ride round the beautiful grounds. The carriages are decked out in twinkling white and gold berries, and are pulled by part-Shire horses wearing antlers (of course)! A 30-minute ride costs £60.
Find out more at windsorgreatpark.co.uk
2. Explore the gorgeous Cotswolds countryside on horseback. Cotswold Farm Park, which is owned by farmer Adam Henson from BBC’s Countryfile, is running a fun ride on 16 and 17 December, with exclusive access to their private estate. Choose a 10-mile or 7-mile route, and canter along woodland trails or enjoy a blast up the gallops. There’s ample parking, toilets, and hot and cold refreshments available at ‘Adam’s Kitchen.’
Book your place at cotswoldfarmpark.co.uk
3. Yorkshire is known as ‘God’s own country’ and there’s no better way to enjoy the view than from the back of a horse. Well, unless you’re also enjoying a glass of mulled wine and a piece of festive fruitcake as you ride — which you can if you join the Ride Yorkshire fun ride on 16 December. It’s a 9-mile route starting and ending in Hemsley. £30 per rider.
Go to rideyorkshire.org to download your entry form.
4. Entering its fourth year, the Liverpool International Horse Show takes place at Liverpool’s Echo Arena from 28-31 December. Expect to see some of the top names in showjumping competing at this elite show, which culminates with the showjumping grand prix on Sunday 31 December with a top prize of €75,000 (around £65,400). There’s also live music from Rick Parfitt Junior, a Shetland Grand National and much more.
Check out liverpoolhorseshow.com for more info.
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5. War Horse, the play based on the classic novel by Michael Morpurgo, has played in 11 countries to over 7m people. It tells the story of Albert and his beloved horse Joey, who’s sold to the cavalry and shipped off to France during World War One. Heartbroken, an underage Albert joins the army in order to find him… This incredibly moving show is running throughout December at the National Theatre in London.
You can book at nationaltheatre.org.uk – but be warned, you’ll need to bring tissues!
6. No list of horsey things to do over Christmas would be complete without a mention of Olympia! It’s the mother of all horse shows, running this year 17-23 December in London’s Olympia arena (natch.) There’s something for everyone, whether you want to watch mind-blowingly good FEI showjumping and dressage qualifiers, stunt riding, driving, or the (slightly insane) showjumpers tackling the epic Puissance wall. The shopping’s not bad either…
Book your ticket at olympiahorseshow.com.
For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine out every Thursday