By the end of Christmas Day, you’ll have watched so much TV you’ll be afraid your eyes have gone square and you have moulded to the sofa. You’ll be so full of turkey you will barely be able to move and the thought of another mince pie will make you want to rejoice and cry in equal measure.
Fear not — step away from that chocolate tree decoration, put down that glass of mulled wine — H&H is here to help.
Here are six activities to give you an equestrian fix over the festive period
1. Support your local hunt
Blow away the cobwebs at your local hunt’s Boxing Day meet. Whether you’re flying the hedges, following on foot or just catching up with supporters over a glass of port at the meet, enjoy the fresh air and the exhilaration of the sport.
2. Head to the races
Some of the best National Hunt racing happens over the Christmas period, so shake off that sherry hangover with a day at the track. The King George at Kempton is a highlight with top racing and is the perfect way to spend Boxing Day with the family.
Further south? Wincanton also hosts a Boxing Day fixture, meanwhile the Welsh National takes place at Chepstow on 27 December.
You might even win enough to fund your New Year’s Eve party plans…
3. Work off that Christmas pud
A Christmas jumper will hide a multitude of sins, however, if you’re feeling a little overindulged then a long hack is the perfect remedy — add in some faster work and you’ll burn around 250 calories an hour. And for that extra fitness kick, pick up that pitchfork and get shovelling — a thorough mucking out session can burn up to 450 calories we’re told.
To get you in the Christmas spirit, here’s an equestrian take on the “12 Days of Christmas” — complete with…
4. Watch some equestrian telly
After all that mucking out, riding, walking and grooming, you’re tired out. It must be time for another hot chocolate and turkey sandwich. You’ve practically forgotten what the sofa looks like it’s been so long…. Dig out those equestrian oldies for a family film-fest. National Velvet, Black Beauty or Channel 4 Racing — you’ll be fighting over the remote.
5. Relax with a good book
It’s cold outside. Granny’s asleep on the sofa and the kids are occupied with their new Xbox/train set/football. Why not settle down with one of the equestrian books you were given for Christmas? Santa didn’t bring you one?
6. There’s an app for that
If you got a new tablet or phone for Christmas, it’s time to explore some new apps. Brush up on your stable management, learn a dressage test — and most importantly download the latest digital issue of Horse & Hound.