The air is fresh and crisp in the mornings now and the cool, damp evenings have been leaving me reaching for a jumper. Low orange sun is dazzling and the leaves are turning beautiful shades of red and gold. My horse is getting hairy and this all adds up to one thing – Autumn is on its way.
Autumn is probably my favourite season for many reasons, but as a horse owner it also has its pitfalls too. Here is why we simultaneously love and hate autumn…
Suddenly the hacking is incredible. The flies have disappeared and the sun isn’t cooking you to a sweating mess in your breeches. The going is softer and you can finally take long canters across the fields without the ground being baked to the same consistency as concrete. The countryside is beautiful too, you see berries and holly and squirrels and all manner of things indicating that the heavenly Christmas period is imminent.
The downside: we have to hose our horse’s legs and belly and wipe our girth when we get back. Our own legs will probably be splattered with mud too. Pheasants are rife and have a horrible tendency to jump out and scare us. Low sun in the sky limits visibility on the roads, so we have to be even more cautious of traffic.
Now is the time to don your clippers and make your pony look like a beautiful beast. Long gone is the scurfy and shedding coat, hello to a sleek, glossy steed that you just cannot stop stroking.
Also hello to having to always worry about whether or not your friend has enough rugs on. Oh and clipped hair appearing just about everywhere. And kiss goodbye to standing around at shows or after your lesson for a chinwag – that horse needs a blanket thrown over it!
I love frosty mornings, everything looks so pretty and Christmassy. There’s something so childlike and nostalgic about seeing your breath in front of your face when you step outside and the way tiny icicles cling to leaves.
Until you get to the yard. Then it’s slippery underfoot and you really don’t want to take your fingers out of the hidey-hole in your warm pocket because you know they will get cold and wet and eventually go numb. Also there’s the whole pony prone to laminitis out on frosty grass problem which you need to monitor super closely.
Sloe Berries and Damsons
They are finally out! My yard is laden with them already. Rumour has it that your sloe gin will taste so much better if you wait until after the first frost to pick your berries. They look gorgeous too.
The downside? There is no downside to home-made gin!
Prepare for jumpy horses, cats, dogs and any other small animals that you might be harbouring as firework season is fast approaching.
They may be pretty and glittery and fun to watch with the family, but for most horse owners, fireworks are a big no-no. If only they were contained to one night, rather than spread across the entire month!
Baths and Hot Chocolate
Sinking in to a hot, bubbly bath is an incredible feeling. So is sipping on a silky smooth hot chocolate, loaded with whipped cream and marshmallows. Pair either one, or even both, with the end of a long and cold horsey day and you have the ultimate Autumn bliss.