While many of us welcome a break from summer temperatures, which rose to over 35°C in parts of the UK in 2019, shorter days, frozen buckets and several inches of mud weren’t quite what we had in mind. You can’t deny the beauty of a frosty morning – and we’ll testify that a sunny winter day is far more breathtaking than a summer one – but other by-products of winter, such as sideways rain and numb fingers, aren’t much of an alternative to a sweaty brow and layers of suncream.
However, this ill-favoured season doesn’t need to defeat you. With a little motivation, dedication and innovation you can enjoy a whole host of rewards – and they’ll feel doubly satisfying because you’ll have worked that little bit harder to reap them. We’ve come up with seven easy ways to truly embrace winter, so fix yourself a hot chocolate (with whipped cream and sprinkles), settle down on the sofa and get set to be inspired.
Go on a daybreak ride
That frosty morning we mentioned earlier? Well, the best way to enjoy it is astride your equine pal. Without a soul in sight, and just the thud of your horse’s hooves as the soundtrack to your ride, what could be more relaxing ahead of a day at your desk or rushing around to complete those inevitable weekend chores? For best results, check the weather for the day you plan to ride, wrap up warm and don’t forget your gloves.
Try evening competing
Feeling blue about the sparser competition days of the winter season? It doesn’t have to be that way, you’re not just limited to the weekend. Have an internet search for evening competitions near you. It might be dressage, arena eventing or even a clear round – either way, it’ll definitely scratch that competitive itch.
As an added bonus, many equestrian centres run dressage and showjumping leagues throughout the winter, with regular shows giving you the chance to compete for points that count towards a leaderboard position or championship. You’ll see familiar faces each time, and going regularly will help you track your progress. Relaxed, super-motivating and with the opportunity to get together with friends – what’s not to love?
Check out our top advice on staying motivated this winter in February Horse&Rider, on sale 12 December.