Even riders at the top of their game need time out from the rigours of training, and leading showing producer Katie Jerram swapped her tweed jacket and hairnet for an elf costume in December, to lead a Christmas cross-country ride.
Katie was joined by her partner, Andrew, who was dressed as Santa, as well as a snowman, several reindeer and a further 12 riders in fancy dress. Even head girl Jo Jacks’ dog, Woody, took part wearing antlers.
The group negotiated a 15-mile route around Katie’s Essex base, with plenty of optional ditches and cross-country fences to choose from.
“The weather was awful but we still had a lot of fun,” said Katie. “We started the day with warm mulled apples and canapés, and finished with a tot and some sandwiches.”
Although she is best known for her prowess in the show ring, Katie, who has a background in hunting and point-to-pointing, likes her horses to have a varied working life. Thus hacking and fun rides are perfectly normal — even for a horse that was winning at HOYS in October.
“Someone asked me who I was riding and when I told them it was Gortlas Rinarinca they were amazed,” said Katie, of the seven-year-old lightweight hunter winner and reserve champion at HOYS.
The dark bay will contest more lightweight classes and novice workers this season.
Two of Katie’s young cobs, Lisesker Streak and Major Look, who also competed at HOYS, completed the ride too.
“I like to hack my horses out and let them have a good time jumping a few ditches and fences around the farm,” explains Katie, who plans to run a fun ride every month. “It makes them a happier horse, plus it’s more fun for them, me and my staff, thus making a happier team overall.”
View more pictures of the ride below…
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The horses jumped ditches and fences around the farm