Christmas is the time of year for giving, seeing friends and family and lots of food. It’s a time of celebration, cheesy movies and falling asleep on the sofa.
But what if you normally have an active lifestyle or, you want to take advantage of a few days off work to stretch your legs or the legs of your 4-legged friend?
It can seem so hard, especially with the cold days, dark mornings and even darker evenings to have the motivation to keep your activity ticking over - let alone the activity of your horses.
I personally think the festive period is a great time to get active, especially as January is just around the corner. These are a few of my top tips to take advantage of this merry time.
Plan in your activity – it seems so simple, doesn’t it? But actually, having a diary and planning what you and your four-legged best friend are going to do over the festive period will help hold you accountable. It also gives you the chance to plan for the family get together and social occasions and then see the gaps to keep ticking over. Plus, if you are on a livery yard where you have to book the arena it’s great to plan ahead!
Have a buddy to team up with and keep each other accountable - There is nothing worse than doing things alone, especially if staying active is your goal. So why not ask a friend or family member if they will help you. Ask them to check in with you, plan your activities together and keep each other motivated.
Go for a hike with friends and/or family to a new place - Most of us have some time off over Christmas and New Year and it’s all too easy to stay at home, eat, drink, and get pretty merry. So, why not plan a walk in a new place. It’s a wonderful time to visit the countryside, up your step count, get some vitamin d and all the feel-good hormones. Plus, a great time for a gossip and catchup.
Christmas is actually the best time to join the gym - It's generally very quiet and you will get a head start on the January rush. Who doesn’t love the idea of that?
What if you can’t ride because the weather is so awful? Try to get those odd jobs done around the yard. Need to poo pick? This is a great way to up your step count. Playing games with your horse can also create valuable bonding time and social interaction – especially if you have waterlogged fields. Why not set up some fun in-hand games in the arena and get the whole yard involved (plus it's great de-spook training)
Don’t get in the car - We are all guilty of this at some point. Getting in the car for those short journeys for the carrots we forgot at the local supermarket. But why not try to walk there instead. Get a backpack so you can put your shopping inside and save your cold fingers from the heavy bags. Its also doing your part for the environment. Win win if you ask me!
Check out your local all-weather gallops and avoid the mud - Better yet, if you live near the coast there are often beach friendly sea views to go and have your very own Lloyd’s bank moment (or insert other horse related advert/movie moment here).
Enjoy a Christmas Day hack - The roads will never be quieter. You won’t get looked at oddly if your horse is more decorated than your Christmas tree and you build up an amazing appetite for the dinner later that day. Plus, everyone you meet is super friendly.
Whatever your plans are for the festivities, I hope that you and all your four-legged friends have a happy and safe time.
Love Charlotte xx
Editors Note - To find out more about Charlotte Mitchell and her amazing work, you can find her links below...