This is a guest post from Maxie Heppell from Elite Equine. Please make sure you head over and check out their amazing range of supplements.
Working with horses holds a special fascination for those that get to take care of these majestic animals each day.Being rewarded with morning snorts and bum head-bumps often far outweighs any awards or financial gain.
But it’s not all glamour and glory.
While others are off shopping at this time of year, planning to spend a special Christmas Day with friends and family (albeit in a COVID-bubble) the hands that take care of horses never stop. During any ‘normal’ year, it may even get busier, as Boxing Day meets are often the most popular horsey days out.
Shovelling poo may not be the most ideal way if you had to choose how to spend your Christmas Day. But as our friends at The Groom’s List shares, there are plenty of ways to keep the festive spirit alive and still enjoy Christmas!
1. Have an early Christmas celebration
Christmas does not have to be cancelled. Move your personal celebrations with family/friends to your nearest day off to the event itself or better yet: book a whole weekend off and make it your own mini bank holiday. This is a fantastic way to legitimise two separate days of eating excessive quantities of chocolate during the day and overindulging on beverages and too much food in the evening. When Christmas day itself comes round and you have less free time for both you won’t feel so much like you’ve missed out.
2. Organize a staff Christmas Day brunch
If you work with a few people or perhaps if you are just friendly with your boss or fellow local grooms from smaller private stables, perhaps you can organise a get together for breakfast/brunch before everyone heads off to their respective family do’s or back to work. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, a hearty fry up or bacon roll, some spiced Christmas punch (or sneaky glass of mulled wine) and piece of cake – it is Christmas after all! Something to mark the day as special.
3. Go for a special Christmas Day hack
Depending, of course, on the type of horses you work with and their respective schedules, it can be nice as a break from normal routine to head out for a long picturesque hack. Pray for the kind of crisp frosty morning that makes working outdoors worthwhile and enjoy the peaceful quiet of empty roads enjoying the fresh air, while others are all still indoors. The silence can be soul cleansing.
4. Get crafty with gifts for the horses
It is quite possible that your main companions on Christmas day will be the horses themselves. A nice way to mark the occasion for them and keep yourself feeling festive is to make up some treats and laugh at them trying to eat them. Using a screwdriver or any sharp implement, make a hole in the middle of several different pieces of fruit/veg which you can thread a rope through and tie a knot at the end. This makes a basic hanging kebab stick for the horses to play within the stable. For the really enthusiastic groom here is a link to homemade ‘horse cookie’ recipes.
5. Make your day as easy as possible
Option A: Provided there are no impending events, perhaps yourself and fellow grooms or your employer can split the day into two shifts, so everyone only has to work half a day. This may require starting early or finishing late but could give you up to half a day off to spend with family and friends.
Option B: If the above is not an option it should always be possible to make the day a little easier for yourself. Plan in advance for the day and get all the extra jobs done and out the way. Ensure all the horses are well worked in the days leading up to Christmas so they can afford to take it easy or even have a day off. Pre-make extra hay nets, bank up the beds, have the muck heap pushed back or trailer emptied ready to use. This way you can hopefully get done quickly and enjoy a long lunch and an early finish.
Christmas Day can be as extraordinary as you choose to make it. Whether you prefer spending the day with horses or humans, you can choose to find special meaning hidden within.
To all our special customers and friends, near and far, may you have a very blessed Christmas Day!