1. Win the lottery and put your horse on full livery. Let someone else deal with the misery of winter with horses, while you jet off to somewhere hot and sunny and return in May with a nice suntan and feel refreshed ready for the competition season ahead.
2. Eat lots of chocolate and wear lots of layers. No one is going to judge you (well not us).
3. Appreciate that your ‘yard attire’ is a strong look which generally will look out of place away from the stables or barn. Be prepared to be the focus of everyone’s attention including the security guard should you decide to pop into the supermarket on the way home.
4. Accept that you have a good six months of hellish weather conditions and silly horse season ahead and prepare mentally for the challenge. Sharing titbits of advice with your fellow yard mates can also unite you; ‘Don’t leave the kettle empty when you leave at night’ is one essential which will mean that the first person at the yard in the morning will be able to enjoy a cuppa’. Failure to do this will see you as a stable outcast.
5. Be prepared for the twice-daily work-out that is called rug changing. Designed to help build shoulder, back and upper arm muscles, this routine will ensure you step into spring looking super toned or with a considerable chiro bill and nerve damage.
6. Enjoy the wheelbarrow challenge which is poo-picking the fields. If you can navigate through knee-high mud to tend to your fields without losing your footwear or the wheelbarrow, bask in that moment with pride. It might be shortlived.
7. Celebrate your amazing ability to fix virtually everything with WD40 spray, bailing twine and tape. This sadly does not apply to your horse, but for everything else, there is a way.
8. Enjoy those small moments of winter horsey life such as huddling around one small portable radiator at the yard in minus zero conditions and your horse coming in from the field without another ripped rug/lost shoe/boot/overreach boot.
9. Acknowledge the endless cycle of horse laundry that your home will enjoy as you decorate every available space and radiator with saddlecloths, boots, bandages etc. Embrace that wonderful musty horsey aroma as it impregnates every soft furnishing in the house. Ahh, J’adore Le Horse.
10. Get a wall planner so you can cross off the days until the clocks change again. Get creative; you could even put weather symbols each day to keep a track on the weather. Actually, don’t do that. No one wants to see that kind of negativity.