How the horse world spends Christmas Day

  • Will they be gorging on turkey and opening presents in front of the fire, or mucking out 30 stables because their groom has the day off?

    Horse & Hound asks 10 equestrians how they will be spending their day.

    Anna Ross Davies, international dressage rider and freelance trainer
    “My groom will be having the day off, so mine will consist of mulled wine and mucking out! When the horses have been exercised and the yard is finished, I will go to my sister’s house to spend the evening with my family.”
    Ann Mallalieu, Labour peer and president of the Countryside Alliance
    “I will be spending the day with all my children in Buckinghamshire. I will be up jolly early to get the mucking out done before distributing all the presents. I will then try and take some form of exercise before settling down to a big family lunch. I plan to be in bed early, so I’m ready to head to Exmoor at the crack of dawn on Boxing Day to go hunting.”
    David Pipe, trainer of Grand National winner Comply or Die
    “On Christmas Day I will be up early to feed the horses. We will then gallop the runners for Boxing Day in the morning, and feed them again at lunchtime. After that I will probably eat far too much Christmas dinner before feeding up the horses again in the evening.”
    Jaki Bell, acting editor of H&H
    “Both Christmas Day and Boxing Day are DIY at the livery yard on which I keep my old boy, Quinn. He’s not ridden any longer, so I’ll take him out for a walk in hand that will allow me to indulge in everything that the rest of the day has on offer! This year is going to be a quiet one at home with my partner, Ray, in front of the fire. Can’t wait…”
    Valerie Sherwin, chief executive of the Moorland Mousie Exmoor Pony Centre
    “In the morning I will enjoy a glass of Bucks Fizz and some presents in bed, before heading to the centre where my four-legged friends will greet me. After feeding and mucking out all the ponies, I go to my local pub for Christmas lunch. And if last year is anything to go by, there may even be a pony or two under the Christmas tree!”
    Jenny Ellis, winner of the FEI international groom award

    “Spending Christmas at home with family and friends is important to me, as I spend so much of the year away. Following a morning tipple at a friend’s house, my family will descend on me for Christmas lunch. The rest of the day could be spent with food poisoning, but hopefully it will be spent catching up while we eat and drink ourselves silly!”

    Helen Evans, of the Thames Valley Horse Watch
    “I usually expect to get a call from the police on Christmas Day, informing me that there are some horses on the loose whose owners need to be traced. I will then go and check on my own horse before hopefully settling down for a quiet Christmas with my family.”
    Katie Jerram, show horse producer, trainer and judge, H&H columnist
    “As I don’t get up until 7am on Christmas morning, I will have the luxury of an extra hour in bed. Then it’s off to the yard where life will go on as normal, except that riding the horses will be replaced by Christmas lunch and opening presents by the fire. Boxing Day is my favourite though, as I will take to the hunting field with my son and three nieces in tow.”
    Captain de St John-Pryce, adjutant for the Household Cavalry
    “With the exception of a lie in until 5.30am, there will be little change to our daily routine at the Horse Guards. Stables will be mucked out by 7am, and then we will exercise the horses round London.”
    Karen Coumbe, H&H vet
    “Fortunately for me I’m not on call this year, so I will be spending the day at home with my family.”

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