Folks, it’s happened. Somewhere along the way, amongst sidelong glares at fellow riders complaining about heatwaves, and hissed utterances worthy of the Stark family, winter jolly well came.
If you’re anything like most equestrians right now — Floridians, look away, for this is not for you — you’re reading this from somewhere within a pile of slightly musty turnout rugs, hiding from the savage glare of a fresh and understimulated nag. I applaud you, winter rider, and I applaud your 4G for being able to penetrate several layers of 400g fill and stubborn mud. While your office compatriots are dithering over which besequinned dress to order for their upcoming slew of Christmas parties, you, my friend, are wondering whether the black gunge under your fingernails — a remnant of some particularly determined mud fever picking — will be subdued by a last-minute swipe of sparkly nail polish. Never fear — the purple patches on your extremities, left behind when your circulatory system went into hibernation two weeks ago, will be far more noticeable.
But winter isn’t all bad. After all, December does bring with it a smattering of holiday festivities, which, if nothing else, are a marvellous excuse to drink hot alcoholic beverages during daylight hours. And I mean, yeah, you need to clip your horse, but isn’t it satisfying shoving your hands under his rug and burying your fingers in his fluff until you do? Yes. Yes, it bloody well is.
Regardless of how you celebrate the holiday season, one thing is absolutely certain: eventers do festivities a little bit differently. Okay, there’s the stocking for your horse, for which I offer absolutely no judgment, and yeah, there’s the Santa hat you may or may not have jammed atop your skull cap, but there’s also the spirit of ferocious competitiveness that we can never quite leave at the door. Even if that means making your six-year-old niece cry during a particularly hard-fought game of Heads Up. So in the grand spirit of the thing — and in the interest of adding even more madness to what is, perhaps, the most delightfully insane month of the year — I bring you Christmas cheer, equestrian style.
You’ve heard of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer — prepare yourself for Rudolph the high-speed (?) noble steed (???).