Everything Else

Getting through the Winter – the alternative way.

It’s that time of year when sometimes you just cannot find your way out of a rut. All you do is look around and see mud (unless you live in Florida). It’s grey, your horse might be on holiday but as you have spent all your money eventing, you cannot afford a holiday, and so my preferred method to deal with this is to drink.

My eventing season is designed to be social so the choices of drink at a certain event sum up the day for me. At a wet Withington, a G&T at 8am cheered me up no end (I wasn’t competing that day). A sociable jug of Pimms at Millfield, and I finished the season with pink Asti Spumante which I had won in a raffle and that really probably sums up how bad my eventing season was this year.

But in case you are looking for other options, or your Christmas list is looking sparse. This is the season of bargains and to start stocking up your eventing drinks cabinet.
1. My number one choice is gin. Out eventing we regularly mix it up between Bombay Sapphire, Gordon’s (which our grannies have often handed over) and Hendricks. Ice is not packed for the horse, its packed for our G&Ts. If you are reading this with a yuck, gin curl to your lips, the good news the older you get the better gin gets. Everyone keeps saying the same about olives, but so far I am happier that gin and tonic has grown on me instead. As a child I grew up on gin and lemonade. Don’t knock it!!

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Stolen from my Mother, shush don’t tell her.

2. Champagne – For me it’s the drink of commiseration and getting hammered on. I don’t get much success with horses so it’s the drink to celebrate surviving to the end of the day. There are some amazing deals on Champagne at the moment. My beverage of choice is Bollinger which is £30 in Sainsburys. Mumm also has a spectacular offer going to £15 in Sainsburys. I won’t drink Moet as it tastes like used bathwater and would much rather choose a good supermarket vintage instead. Pink champagne is for if you live in Essex and drive a white range rover.

3. Prosecco – Recently I bought a crate of Prosecco for half price from Groupon. It might possibly have been the best decision I have made for a while. Groupon is the terror of my inbox but sometimes they do have some good alcohol offers! Technically Prosecco is so far from cool, it’s now everywhere. You know when something has reached saturation point when your friend from London just cannot believe a Devon pub is selling it for £10, let alone that a pub in rural Devon is selling it at all. But there is something about Prosecco that makes it more exciting than just being a poor man’s champagne. It actually tastes nice. It’s the ideal tipple for getting through January, when everything else is just so drab.

4. Mulled wine – a favourite of hunt meets but also I had some the other day having just frozen in a church. It was warming and tasty. I can never decide how much alcohol is burnt off in the making of mulled wine but hey it tastes good and warms the hands! It’s also an excellent choice for women if you have forgotten your lipstick. For me, Mulled wine is the winter Pimms.

5. Red Wine – nothing beats a bit of red wine especially the middle class favourite of Chateauneuf du Pape. I prefer to avoid Christmas but the proliferation of alcohol deals cheers me up. Chateauneuf always drops in price. I hate myself for drinking it and being one of ‘those people’, but it tastes so good. I do love a good French or Italian wine and got hammered this week on Beaujolais Nouveau. Oh god, I am finding myself hating myself again……

6. For burning off a cold, catching up with other people quickly at a party who have been drinking for hours or for finding bravery you never knew you had, then it has to be port and brandy combined. Once my mother drank a few too many of these out hunting, fell off at the meet and then could not get back on. It was a fine day to be her offspring that day.

7. I love Port. It could be the fact that I had the choice when I was eight years old between having Ribena or Port and lemonade in my hipflask and I chose the latter. I used to not drink it all out hunting and sell it on the school bus for 5p a sip. It was a good wheeze until someone threatened to tell a teacher. Now I still love a good Port and recently it was the backbone to my successful day hedge hopping with Beanie Sturgis.

Anyway I could go on but the above are my favourites. I am sure you are sensible people (I won’t use normal as I don’t think that exists for horse people) and I do not need to caution you with health and safety warnings about alcohol. So drink sensibly and choose nice drink!

About the author


An amateur rider who produces all her own horses. I have competed at novice level and sadly never got further due to bad luck with horses but I am still ambitious to achieve a lot more. I have a riding qualification in UKCC2 and a diploma in NLP. Sports science and particularly the mental game fascinates me. For a day job I work for a large multinational brand.