If you're absolutely fed-up with not being able to ride because it's dark by the time you get back from work, and in any case all your local bridlepaths resemble swamps and the school is plagued by puddles, then take heart — spring is (nearly) just round the corner and there's so much to look forward to...
1. Start of the competition season
Diaries at the ready as you start filling up your horsey calendar. This is going to be your year…
2. Competing outdoors
Indoor arenas are very useful in winter, but it’s so much nicer to be out in the open, maybe even with the grass under your hooves, enjoying the sun on your face as you and your horse do your thing.
3. Bridlepaths you can ride on, not slide on
Hurrah for lovely long gallops that don’t leave you completely splattered from head to toe in mud, and wishing you could just stick your horse in the washing machine and have done with it.
4. Spring grass
Say goodbye to those astronomical winter feeding bills as the spring grass kicks in and your horse’s paddock looks green and inviting once more.
5. Less mud
It would be pushing it to say there’ll be no mud. There will still be mud. We’re talking about spring in the UK, not California. But there will be less of it, and that’s good enough for us.
6. Riding after work
Once it’s no longer dark at 4.30pm, you can get so much more done — and by that, we mean evening riding, of course. Well, you didn’t think we were suggesting you take up tennis or something, did you?
7. Goodbye, woolly monsters
After shedding winter hair like confetti, your horse looks sleek and handsome again — instead of like a yeti. Although he made a pretty cute yeti, to be fair.
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8. Naked horses
When half your horsey time in winter seems to be spent wrestling unpleasantly wet and muddy heavyweights onto rug driers, or trying to undo surcingles that have become so encrusted in mud that you can barely see them any more, it seems hard to imagine a time when you can turn your boy out without a rug. But that time will come. Have faith.
9. Losing the winter layers
No more layering on thermals, a fleece and a waterproof because you’re cold when you set out, then getting absolutely boiling hot halfway through your hack but having to sweat it out until you get home. Yuck.