What do top riders do on Boxing Day?

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  • Today is the calm after the storm.  The panic of presents is over, the turkey has been demolished and tricky family members begin to pack their bags and head on their way — you’re allowed to get back to (almost) normal.

    Swarms of people turnout to support hunts across the country on Boxing Day — in 2012 there were record numbers — and racetracks nationwide are teeming with crowds.

    But what do our top riders get upto? Hunting, racing, more turkey — or is it horsey chores as usual?

    Kitty King, eventer
    “Both my members of staff have Christmas Day and Boxing Day off, so Boxing Day consist of horses for me. We maybe start a little later than a normal working day, feeding, doing the hay and mucking out. Some of the horses will then go for a hack, some go in the field and some might go on the walker. I try and get everything done in good time so my husband Ben and I can sit down in front of the wood burner and watch the racing on TV. Ben used to be a jump jockey, so this is something we both really enjoy watching. It’s always great racing on Boxing Day. We then finish the horses up as normal — so it’s not the most exciting of days, but it’s always relaxing and enjoyable. It’s great to get outside and work some of the previous day’s over eating off!”

    Laura Tomlinson, dressage rider
    “I go out with the Beaufort on Boxing Day on my Irish hunter Minstrel.”

    Simon Charlesworth, showing producer
    “My Boxing Day this year will probably entail being at work first thing to sort the horses out until about 9am. Then I’ll be home to spend the day with my fiancée Angharad  and my son Jac for his first Christmas. I always watch the racing and football on TV on Boxing Day. I’d love to go to a match or go racing but it’s not possible when I have to do the horses.”

    Nick Gauntlett, eventer
    “This year [my wife] Amanda and I are doing the yard on Christmas Day and then driving down to Amanda’s parents. We will hopefully spend the day doing as little as possible — sitting on the sofa watching the racing would be perfect! We might pop over and see Francis Whittington, his wife Sam and their children Max and Amber as they live near my in-laws [in Sussex]. Last year we were on our honeymoon in New Zealand and spent Christmas and Boxing Day on the beach — it was nice but very odd not being cold and wintery…”

    Loraine Home, showing producer
    “My Boxing Day is a family day and I am back on the yard on 27 December and hunting with the Warwickshire on 28 December. My lovely father [David Tatlow] will do the horses on Boxing Day and then come for Christmas dinner in the evening. I may pop to the meet for a glass of port and to see my hunting friends but we hunt on Christmas Eve as it’s easier on staff and family workload. I love the Christmas Eve meet.”

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