For many, Christmas Day means sitting back, enjoying a roast dinner, opening lots of presents and not much else. For us equestrians it’s a different story. Our horses need looking after just as they do any other day, and mucking out, poo picking or hacking out may be some of the items on your to-do list, alongside the usual festive activities.

Equestrian stars sponsored by Robinson Animal Healthcare shared what Christmas Day at the yard is like for them and their horses, from juggling time at the stables with family commitments, to festive fun, tinsel-clad rugs and extra treats.

Top riders at Christmas

‘Juggling horses and food!’ – Sophie Wells OBE

“The horses have Christmas Day off and I usually give my grooms the day off too,” para dressage star Sophie said. “I’m up early to get the horses fed and mucked out and then they all go on the treadmill. Christmas Day is all about juggling horses and food!”

‘Making the most of downtime’ – Bubby Upton

“It’s important for me to make the most of the Christmas period as it is the only time that both myself and the horses get to enjoy some down time,” the eventer said. “All the horses on the yard get Christmas Day off, so we do the yard jobs in the morning before I get to enjoy the rest of the day with my family.”

‘Tinsel on their rugs’ – Louisa Milne Home

“This Christmas we have my brother and sister, plus their wife/husband and children coming up to stay with my Mum and Dad, so that will be lovely,” the event rider said. “On Christmas Day we normally do stockings first thing then go out and feed up, muck out, and put all the horses out in the field. On Christmas Day the horses usually go out with a bit of tinsel on their rugs.

“This means the horses can have a nice full day out in the field so we can enjoy Christmas, before bringing them back in at 3pm for a change of rug and feed and then we are all set for Christmas Dinner. Finally we do a check on the horses just to wish them a last happy Christmas and give them their late feed.”

‘A rushed one’ – Laura Goodall 

“Christmas Day on the yard is usually a rushed one,” said the para showjumper. “We normally have an early start to get all the yard done and finished before starting to prepare for when all the family come around for Christmas lunch. If the weather permits the horses usually get a day off to chill in the field and an extra treat (usually carrots) in their dinner.”

Keeping the routine – Kevin and Emma McNab

Event rider’s Kevin and Emma McNab will be celebrating Christmas in their native Australia but the team on the yard will be keeping the winter routine going over the festive period and will be enjoying a big team Christmas lunch.

Robinson Animal Healthcare sponsors the above riders. The company provides first aid items for horses, including Animalintex and Veterinary Gamgee.

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