Despite all the hype about dashing through the snow and sleigh bells jingling (ring-ting-tingling too), the winter months aren’t always fun for horse lovers. The colder weather means there are fewer outdoor activities available to us, and the ones that we find ourselves doing out of necessity aren’t typically ones we enjoy (breaking the ice out of water troughs, anyone?).
Watch Horse Movies
This is undoubtedly the quickest way to get your horsey fix during the worst days of winter. Curl up on the couch in your comfiest horse-themed pajamas and drink hot chocolate while reviewing the adventures of Misty, Secretariat, and The Black. Laugh at the blatant errors of horsemanship and totally impossible feats of horse-to-human communication (um, no, Mr. Crane, Soñador is not talking to you about the sky parting). Or, if you’re watching with friends, impress them all with your knowledge of horse movie trivia.
Tackle Winter Cleaning
As opposed to spring, when everything seems to be busy and no one has time for cleaning, winter is the perfect time to catch up on jobs you’ve been letting slide. Collect every piece of tack you own and polish it up. Sort out the tools in your grooming box. Take inventory of your first aid kit and stock up on anything you need. These are jobs that can easily be done from the comfort of your own living room, and you don’t have to bundle up in your winter clothes to do them.
Plan Show Season
Break out next year’s calendar and start penciling in the show dates. It doesn’t really matter if you’re 100% sure you’re going—or even 98% sure you’re not. The point is to have fun daydreaming and to enjoy the excitement of anticipating the shows you’d like to attend.
What about that stack of dressage tests and reining patterns you meant to memorize? Get to it! You’ll never have more free time than you do now. By the time the spring shows roll around, you’ll have those tests down pat.
Also, in case you haven’t gotten around to it yet, why not order photos from the shows you attended over the summer? Contact the photographer and purchase pictorial proof of your most memorable achievements. Don’t limit yourself to little 5x7s, either—splurge on a canvas wrap and a large print! It will make your win all the more memorable.
Go online and start surfing the web for horses. What better way to survive months of frightful weather than shopping for a new addition to your stable? Or, if you’re not looking to swell the ranks in your pasture (though we admit this scenario seems impossible—who doesn’t want another horse?!), you could certainly go window-shopping for show outfits, new boots, or better tack. The possibilities are literally limitless and will provide you with hours of fun, even if you don’t end up purchasing anything.
And before you know it, these dreary winter days will be lovely warm spring days.
Samantha Johnson is a freelance writer and the author of several books, including The Field Guide to Horses, (Voyageur Press, 2009). She raises Welsh Mountain Ponies in northern Wisconsin and is a certified horse show judge. Follow her on Twitter: @miraclewelsh.