2016 is just around the corner, so now’s the time to take a breather and reflect on the year that’s almost passed. Smile at your red ribbon moments, learn from your landing-in-the-sand mishaps, and resolve to be a more experienced, efficient equestrian in the year ahead!
Here are our picks of the best – and most realistic – horsey New Year’s resolutions you could choose to make.
This year I will appreciate my surroundings
It’s easy to get preoccupied with travelling to shows, events, and catching up with all the chores that are always waiting to be done. But the downside of all this frantic activity can mean that you don’t fully appreciate what’s in your back yard (literally).
The hacking routes you used to love can quickly get neglected, so why not make a horsey resolution to explore your home turf a bit more? It doesn’t need to be in the form of epic expeditions, as even just using the bridleways or fields as a cool-down route after a lesson will give you the best of both worlds, as well as letting you wind down and appreciate your surroundings.
This year I will spend less on equine fashion
This one may sound somewhat familiar if you often make a horse-themed New Year’s resolution! Even if you don’t necessarily cut out your spending on equine fashion, there are loads of ways that you can spend more sensibly and think about what you really need.
For example, maybe you don’t need a whole array of rugs in every colour the range offers – combi rugs provide good value for money, and will still give your equine the warmth and comfort he needs for differing conditions throughout the year. Another great way to save a bit of money is to pick up second hand or ex-display items. There are lots of equestrian groups on social media sites such as Facebook, so look up those local to your area and keep an eye out for second hand bargains!
This year I will try something new
This doesn’t need to be challenging Charlotte Dujardin for her Olympic title - it could just be taking a lesson with a different teacher or attending a clinic. Having a different perspective can be really enlightening, and to make it less scary you don’t have to do it alone!
You don’t need to tackle your horsey New Year’s resolution by yourself. If you’re tempted by a dressage clinic but are a bit nervous, then why not head there with a friend? Even if they’re not riding, just having a buddy to travel and prepare with can take the edge off. Just attending one different class or session could open the door to a whole new discipline – take the chance!
This year I will spend time with my riding friends away from the yard
A good New Year’s resolution for horse lovers is getting out of the yard and try socialising somewhere new. This doesn’t need to be an expensive expedition (although great if it is!); there are lots of options to share equine-themed time away from the stables. Lots of industry shows have free or very low-priced tickets on their opening days, or offers for those who subscribe to their associated magazines or websites.
The Windsor Horse Show has a very popular opening day known as ‘Windsor Wednesday, which is totally free, and tickets are available via a web ballot. The mix of spectating, shopping and all the summer food and drink on offer makes for a fantastic day out, so get the calendars out and earmark some fun day trips for 2016 now!
This year I will watch and learn
The countdown is on for Rio 2016! What better exhibition could be available to us on TV and the web than Olympic riders and Olympic horses? Thanks to the joys of the internet these equestrian events should be accessible, so not only can you watch them in real-time, you can re-watch to appreciate and learn from the techniques of these amazing pros. It’s an easy horsey New Year’s resolution that can make you a better rider too!
This year I will keep my tack clean
Another horse-themed New Year’s resolution that many will find familiar! Plenty of us want to keep our tack clean all year round, but having too high expectations can lead us to fall down. Maybe work on a compromise in order to make this one more achievable; for example, you don’t need to go through a full dismantling and assembly of tack each time. A quick wipe with a clean, damp cloth is enough to keep your leatherwork free of surface dirt and sweat.
Giving a deep clean with a moisturising product once a month is more reasonable for most of us – and is always something you take home and do in front of the TV! It doesn’t need to steal riding time, it just needs a tiny bit of planning.
This year I will support a charity
This is a rewarding horsey resolution to make, and picking an equine charity will remind you of the good you’re doing every time you look at your own happy, healthy horse. There are numerous equine charities based in the UK and abroad, so in your downtime over Christmas and New Year, do a little research and pick one whose mission inspires you. If it’s a local charity, you could even visit them to see their work first hand. You don’t have to sacrifice a huge chunk of your salary - some charities want unwanted tack or equipment which would cost nothing to pass on, and others have options where you can simply buy a bale of hay for a rescue centre. It all makes a difference!
Do you have any horsey New Year resolutions? Share them with us in the comments below or on Facebook and we will try and help you keep them in 2016!