December is upon us and most of us are looking forward to some time off to recharge our batteries after the year’s work…and spending time with our horses is top of our list of awesome things to do with our free time! Here are 10 cool things you can do during your holidays.
- Pony camp! You know you love it … even if you’re not a kid anymore. What better way to spend your time than with a group of other horse lovers, all with time on their hands and horses everywhere.
- Happy (new) hacks Now you have the time to explore new outride areas. It might be safest to do this with friends on bikes first, or maybe take a drive to make sure it’s safe and traffic-free. Pack a picnic and make a day of it.
- Expand your horizons Book in for a clinic or a course to learn something new. You might want to improve your riding skills or learn how to fit tack correctly, or anything else you think will be beneficial in the long run.
- Pretty plaits Plaiting is becoming a fine art. You’ve probably been envying the precision of other riders at shows. When it comes to plaits, practice makes perfect. Try some bling, or maybe some of those fun ‘lace’ patterns used on Arabs and other flamboyant breeds.
- Bond! You‘ve got hours to spend with your pony building your relationship. Try massage, stretching exercises or aromatherapy. Or get to know his body language … it will all be useful for your riding in future (check out our article on bonding on page 26 of the December 2014 issue of HQPony for more ideas).
- Splish splash Hot summer days are perfect for swimming, beach rides or just some fun with shampoo and a hosepipe. Lots of horses love water – see if yours likes to swim (take care to keep yourself and your tack safe first).
- Show off Get your friends together and have your own training show. Take turns to judge each other and even swap ponies. If you’d prefer an ‘away’ show, check out the online calendars at equineshows.co.za or neigh-bours.co.za to see what’s on in your area.
- On course Try some course building – learn how to create your own courses with different types of jumps, related distances and other technical aspects that will give you a better understanding of what you’ll face at shows.
- Face your fears Is there something that bothers you or your pony? Perhaps it’s flapping bags or things that go bang. Many of us avoid scary things because we don’t have time to address them in an ordinary lesson or ride. Ask your instructor how to overcome your personal monsters safely.
- Carols by candlelight Every year the Lipizzaner Centre in Kyalami hosts a series of Carols by Candlelight performances and horse lovers come from near and far to get into the Christmas spirit with an equine flavour. VisitLipizzaner.co.za for more information on this year’s shows.
Text: Brigitte Billings
This article first appeared in the December 2014 issue of HQPony Magazine. For great subscription deals visit Coolmags.