Here’s what happens when equestrians try snowboarding…

  • Hot off the heels of the Winter Olympics and as we despair at our poor riding arenas suffering following the “Beast from the East” you might be tempted to indulge in a new sport to keep you ticking over, and what better suited to the current weather than snowboarding?

    Snowboarding is about style, balance, control, strong leg and core muscles — it should be easy for an equestrian, right?

    1. Placing your feet into stirrups comes as naturally as breathing. Strapping your feet to a solid wooden board however leaves you feeling as graceful as a baby deer on a skateboard.

    2. You spend years perfecting keeping your heels down in the saddle. Similarly snowboarding requires you to use your “heel-edge” by dropping your heels. So far so good… And then your “toe-edge” bizarrely involves raising your heels and pointing your toes, going against everything you have ever known. Your legs will burn and your heels will feel like they have 10kg weights in them as you struggle to raise them.

    3. To get up a mountain on a snowboard you have the aid of a “poma” which is a pulley-based ski-lift that sits between your legs and “should” allow you to glide up the mountain on your snowboard smoothly (unless you lose balance and fall off). This can then be compared to being dragged on the floor, through the mud by a starving pony to a feed bucket.

    4. Whilst making your second attempt at the dreaded poma, you will find yourself begging and pleading with your snowboard to get you to the top of that mountain. We promise you will never feel silly talking to your horse again!

    5. Snowboarders look effortlessly cool. They take matchy-matchy to an equestrian-worthy level with bright colourful jackets and salopettes. There should be a warning however that while bright pinks, yellows and greens look great standing up leaning against their snowboard, they do not look nearly as good tumbling down a mountain with legs and snowboard flailing in the air.

    6. You will quickly learn an hour with your feet strapped to a snowboard equates to about four hours of non-stirrup work in the saddle. You will never complain about non-stirrup work again.

    7. When you somehow find the balance to stand on your snowboard long enough to move back down the mountain you struggled to get up, the speed you pick up is comparable to a bolting ex-racehorse which you foolishly agreed to ride.

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    8. You will never ever fall off a horse in one session as many times as you fall over on a snowboard — trust us.

    9. In the arena, riders of all equestrian disciplines can be friends. On the slopes skiers and snowboarders are grave enemies. Skiers lurk around bends waiting for you to get the hang of it, and charge at you with their ski-poles making you jump out of the way and end up on a heap on the floor… Again.

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