In the Saddle: Horsing around at Christmas

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What's happened to the weather in the last week? It's suddenly starting to feel a lot like winter and it's not going to be long before Christmas is here. We've been getting into the festive spirit here and once our kitchen is decorated we will be putting up our Christmas tree at the weekend.

We've been riding round the village on our horses singing Christmas carols. I have to try to make it fun for my nine year old, so you will have to forgive me if you hear us. Put it this way, Simon Cowell won't be dashing over to the Isle to sign us up.

In the preparations up to Christmas, there's also a big to-do list for the horses. To ensure we are not caught out in snow or bad weather we tend to bulk buy haylage, shavings for the stables and top up the feed bins. They have all now moved into the winter paddock which gives me a week off from putting haylage out, unless it snows again.

It's hard work organising everyone to come in time before the Christmas break, so our farrier is pre-booked in and the horse muck will be removed by trailer just before Christmas Eve.

It's my birthday on Christmas Eve, so we like to have a ride out dressing the horses up in tinsel and wearing santa hats on top of our riding hats. We see lots of other riders doing it too. It's great fun.

On the big day itself though we just turn the horses out before we check if Santa has been and muck out later on after Christmas lunch. It's a great way to burn the calories off after all those mince pies and turkey.

I don't have time to ride that day as we usually have family over and my daughter likes to play with her new toys, but sometimes when everyone has nodded off during the Queen's speech then I can sneak off.

Then I have time to reflect on the year we've had and make a note of plans for next year and the goals we'd like to achieve on horseback. What a lovely way to end the day.