It’s that time of year again where horse owners across the country pack away fly rugs, dig out the waterproof yard gear and get ready for another stretch of British winter time.
While the off-season and its murky weather is often dreaded, it’s also an exciting time of year where we can get the ground work in and work towards our 2020 goals; we pack training sessions in so we can shine next season, we have time to work on our novice rides and we might even think about foraying into a new discipline.
Here are 8 things horse riders might attempt over the forthcoming winter…
1. Arena eventing
Eventing, but in an enclosed space so more doable and less scary, right? And you don’t always have to learn a dressage test, already winning.
2. Winter showing shows
Often hailed as the best way of introducing the ‘babies’ to the public eye. Though grappling with a newly backed youngster in freezing temperatures is not for the faint-hearted, so pick a quiet venue with minimal ‘spook-factor’ if possible.
Your trainer has instructed you to work on your horse’s schooling this winter, so in order to slow everything down and work on the basics you’ve signed up to a winter dressage series. Who knows, you might catch the white board bug…
4. Boxing Day or New Year’s Day hunt meets
A good gallop across local countryside to get you into the festive spirit and a few gallons of mulled wine to soothe the Christmas apprehension and/or New Year’s Day hangover. You (and your horse), who only go hunting on either of these days each year, can’t actually believe people do this every single week. Your annual fast ride out provides enough of an adrenaline rush to last you until the same time next year.
5. Polework clinics
Like normal training days, but with raised poles. So you can tell your friends you went showjumping…
6. Actual winter showjumping
Your local equestrian centre might host a showjumping evening once a week for the next few months. The idea is to work up the height classes over the duration or just to become more confident at the level you are currently competing at.
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7. Tack sales
You go with the intention of shedding yourself of the unwanted horsey stuff you got in the early 90s but that is still festering in your tack room. However, you return only to realise you’ve now just bought someone else’s unwanted horsey stuff.
8. Pony Club fun
In an attempt to strengthen the repertoire — and seat — of your child, a budding equestrian, you might sign them up to your local branch of the Pony Club. With half term and the Christmas holidays, there will be plenty of opportunities to pack in some rallies and spend some quality time with their little four-legged friends.
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