Dark nights, short days

It’s not the weather that is depressing about the winter, though that can be tedious, it is the short days. The lack of daylight is my biggest problem. There is so little day in which to fit in everything that I want to do outside.

On work days you watch the light slowly fade from the skies and realise that you still have 2 hours left of staring at your computer before you can even go outside. And if you work outside, the day is suddenly incredibly short.

I don’t mind the cold, or even the rain, after all, there is no such thing as bad weather, simply bad clothes! This is true to an extent, buying decent outdoor clothes which are suitable for the location and the activity does make a difference. Walking clothes are designed for walking in, riding clothes are designed for riding. Even though it can seem extravagant to have specific different clothes for different activities it does make a difference.

Especially this year. This year walking is our saving grace, why else has there been such a rise in the price of puppies? The footpaths are once again full of people, carparks by well-known walks are overflowing onto the lanes. This year the money you haven’t spent in the pub, I suggest investing in good outdoor jackets, fleeces, layers. Layers are your friend, trapping in heat, providing you with the ability to alter your clothing depending upon intensity level. On, off, on off all day!

But clothing can’t help the day length, and unless you are lucky enough to have a floodlit arena or an indoor school, its simply too dark to ride. This said, simply hanging out with your horse at the end of the day can be a pleasant change from your office. Relaxing and de-stressing time spent simply being with your horse can be wonderful. If you want something to do with your horse that you can do in your stable, take a look at our books, Activate Your Horse’s Core, or Horse Massage for Horse Owners.

And remember it is less than 4 weeks till the shortest day, and then the days start getting longer again!

Things to do in the rain…

The rain is rolling down my window panes with a seamless backdrop of grey skies. October is heralding in winter in all its gloomy glory. But our horses are still there waiting for us by their gates, or standing in their boxes, sleeping under the patter of rain on sheet roofing. They still need attention and interaction.

Some people are happy to ride in the rain, as are some horses, but some people hate it, or are starting to struggle with the darkening evenings. Sometimes riding isn’t an option, but there are other things you can do with your horse.

Grooming is a great way to spend time bonding with your horse. Old-fashioned grooms used to spend hours strapping their charges, bringing a gleam to their coat and giving their muscles a work out at the same time. In our time pushed world, we tend to go for quick fix, a quick flip round the tack areas before saddling up. But spending time just grooming your horse will be therapeutic and rewarding for both of you.

Massaging is another brilliant bonding exercise, learning some of the basic massage skills is an invaluable tool to have in your knowledge banks. Take a look at our ever popular “Horse Massage for Horse Owners” book, which will teach you how to give your own horse a lovely massage.

Our best-selling “Activate Your Horse’s Core” teaches you how to do stretches with your horse that will increase his flexibility, these exercises are invaluable to help your horse improve his evenness from side to side, and give you another activity to do with your horse.

Using a combination of the three will help you to spend enjoyable time with your horse, on those rain drenched, miserable days when you don’t want to ride, or even take him for an in-hand walk. Having a collection of different things to do, will prevent you both getting bored and will give hours of enjoyment and pleasure in each others company.

The weirdest year…

It’s October next week. October, in my mind, the first of the closing months of the year, which means that the oddest year ever is drawing to a close. Next year may well be challenging, but hopefully it won’t be as shocking, as unexpected.

October is evenings drawing in, it’s open fires and hot chocolate, it’s muddy fields and the smell of damp dogs and horses. It’s cold fingers and finding last years gloves. It’s the leaves beginning to fall and that first chill in the air.

As the nights begin to draw in, we start to wonder what we will do on the those evenings, what we will do with our horses, now that we can no longer stay outside all evening, basking in the glorious rays. We need other things to do on those damp and dark evenings. Activate Your Horse’s Core gives a great set of exercises to help improve your horse’s core, think yoga, pilates, think good stretching and how much fitter you feel if you do this for yourself.

Your horse will benefit just as you do from activating his core. You know those ladies you see gliding around with perfect posture, while you are slumped over to one side? Your horse will be like that too! Improving your core helps your flexibility and can reduce your likelihood of injury, what’s not to love?

Activate Your Horse’s Core is comprised of a book and DVD, so that you can study the exercises at home before using them on your horse. The pages of the book are plastic coated, so it will survive being dropped on the stable floor and slobbered on! (We would advise against dropping it in your horse’s water though!)

Activate Your Horse’s Core is a perfect October present for yourself, in case you need a little cheering up at the prospect of dark evenings and short days.