5 Things We Learnt This Winter


Winters are always tough in Ireland but this last one especially so. Harry Hall Ambassador, show jumper and teacher Jessica Burke explains what this last one has taught her...


1) You’d better be tough

Having 17 horses in and being snowed in for two to three days is no fun at all! Frozen water troughs means bucketing water from the house which luckily for us isn't too far away. We were unable to exercise the horses properly so just focused on trying to keep them warm and happy during the sub zero temperatures. Everything was cancelled so our yearly plans were set back. The beautiful white soft snow that we all wish for at Christmas proved a heartache for equestrians nationwide. We certainly won't be wishing for a White Christmas next year!


2) Invest in good rugs..

The TurnoutMasta has been a great addition to our rugs this winter and has kept the mane on the horses! I've also not had any rips or tears to my TurnoutMasta which is a miracle considering all the messing my horses seem to do. It's definitely a time to stock up on outdoor rugs and I'v learnt from experience that it is more cost effective to have horses in good rugs that don't rip rather than buying a few extra cheaper rugs as all I'v done is throw them out in tatters!.The TurnoutMasta will be my winter rug hereafter.


3) .. and good waterproofs for yourself!

We had 3 months of constant rain before the snow and I made great use of my Caldene wellies. Wading through the muck feeding yearlings and two year olds really made me rethink think this whole breeding idea. However when I am riding these horses as nice four year olds I'm sure I won't be sorry. Proper rain gear and warm clothes is essential to get through any winter. 


4) Write up plans and progress

It can be hard to focus during a hard winter with short days and very little daylight. I found planning very helpful. Keeping a diary to note little things I was getting done (as I felt I was making no progress at all!) and also to plan the shows and events once they finally begin in March helpful me keep focused and sane.


5) Enjoy your first show

Getting back in the ring for the first time each year is so exciting. Even if it's just your first day out training away from home with a new horse, you get a great sense of satisfaction of getting back on the road. I also have all my tack and gear really clean and ready to go for the first day out.


What I’m wearing

This year I'm loving the Serina Mid Rise Navy Training Jods. The material is so light for exercising in the spring/summer weather and they are a really good fit. I now split my time riding between Bellegra (equally comfortable but thicker material so warmer for the colder days) and Serina training jods both in the Caldene range. They are both very stylish to look at and comfortable at the same time.