Laura Young, one of our Anti-Burnout Ambassadors, shares her take on tackling winter...
It is fast approaching an equestrians favourite time of year… winter.
I actually don't hate winter. There're no flies, I'm not constantly sweating and having to stay in the shade so I don't get sunburnt. However, it's not always the easiest time when you have horses.
We spend summer getting them fit, hacking for miles and possibly competing then it gets to winter, motivation is at an all time low, the weather is rubbish and there's not the same amount of stuff on for us to take the horses to.
First up I want to say whatever you do to make winter manageable for you (as long as both you and your horse are safe and well) is fine. Struggle with motivation to ride and want to give them some time off? Go for it. Find that riding helps your mood and general motivation levels? Keep riding.
I think there's a tendency to get caught up in what other people are doing with their horses this time of year and feel a pressure to replicate or keep up. But honestly we need to remember that every person and every horse is different and will have different needs.
Taking the pressure off and giving ourselves permission to do whatever it is we need to do to get through the winter is key. Whenever you find yourself thinking oh I have to do this and I need to do that I want you to remember your why. Obviously we do need to do the mucking out as unglamorous a job that is but do we need to ride when it's blowing a hoolie outside and raining cats and dogs? Probably not.
A recent example from my own experience was having a really long day at work, by the time I got to the yard it was dark and it was raining. I was not in the zone to ride. So instead of beating myself up about it I took Tonic in from the field, I filled up his hay bar and gave him a good groom and a cuddle. I instantly felt better and he was delighted to get an evening stuffing his face. When he was eating I managed to get a few wee yard jobs done and I looked at the weather for the weekend and saw I would have lots of opportunity to ride then. There was maybe a time where I would have felt guilty for not riding but actually there's nothing wrong with what I did. My horse is well cared for and I felt better. What more could you want?
Big thanks to Laura for sharing. Want to see more of Laura's stuff? Check out her Instagram: @gingerandtonicequestrian