Top tips to fight the January blues as a horse owner

January can be quite tough on us equestrians. After a fun, food and festive filled December, January hits us quite hard. The weather, which may up until this point have been bearable, often takes a turn for the worst, with gale force winds battering the fields, torrential downpours flooding the yard and hands becoming more chapped than those you wear when riding. Yet these conditions (which do not tempt us to get on!) can often open up time that can be wisely spent. Read on…

  1. Tack room sort out. Traditionally a job done when Spring is under way, the tack room clear out is the equestrians equivalent of spring cleaning the house. After all, the tack room is more important than the house, right? Springtime brings us a whole bundle of joy; the Eventing season is now well and truly underway; Hunter Trials have started up again; Balmy weather cries out for long, woodland hacks and the show season gets under full swing. Therefore you really don’t want to be wasting time, sorting out boots and bandages. Get ahead of the game, shut the door, put the heated on and get sorting! 
  2. Clean boots, brushes, travelling kit and rugs ready for the show season. The horses summer wardrobe outweighs their owners by about 25:1. So why not get sorted? I’m sure their Summer wardrobe would have been put away at the end of last season, so get it out, see what needs fixing, cleaning, oiling so as soon as the warm weather and fun begins, you’re all set to go (and don’t worry, it will fly round!) 
  3. Gloves - investing in a decent pair of gloves will make the January blues a little less bearable. There are so many designs, styles, shapes, colours and sizes on the market now, there really must be a pair to suit your individual needs. Opt for a water resistant pair, that are thin enough that you can work as normal around the yard, yet are durable enough to withstand all you require. If it doubt, ask around! 
  4. Give your tack a really thorough clean and oiling. Your tack really goes through a hard time in the winter; constantly getting wet, dry, cold, damp then warm again when back in the tack room. Take your bridle to pieces and give a thorough clean with a warm wet cloth. Then oil and leave to soak up the oil until you put to back together. Make sure your leather headcollar, breastplates, martingales etc and saddle are done as well. You’ll feel great afterwards! 
  5. Make a plan for this coming year. What are your goals? What’s your ultimate dream for this year? Complete a one day event? Step up a level in your sport? Maybe you want to master a flying change? Write it down with 5 things you can do to get that goal. Then set yourself reminders - in 3, then 6, then 9 months, check your progress to see how on target you are to meeting that goal. At the end of the year - celebrate!

Most of all, stay safe, keep warm and stay well nourished!