#Hack­1000miles In­spi­ra­tional ad­vice to keep you hack­ing this win­ter, come rain, come snow

How do you mo­ti­vate your­self to keep hack­ing in win­ter, come rain or snow? En­durance rider Caro­line Cow­ley passes on some handy hints

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IF ANY­ONE’S GO­ING to know about stay­ing mo­ti­vated to hack in the win­ter, it’s an en­durance rider. And we’ve tracked one down in the form of Caro­line Cow­ley, fresh from the World Eques­trian Games. Caro­line has agreed to share her se­crets to get­ting in the sad­dle ev­ery day, what­ever the weather. “At the mo­ment, my horse HS Bellini (sta­ble name El Nino) is on hol­i­day af­ter fly­ing back from Amer­ica in Septem­ber,” says Caro­line. “But he’s only got an­other week or so to kick up his heels and then it’s back to work.” Once in work again, it’s full steam ahead as they’ve a 120-mile ride to com­plete in March. “I can’t let bad weather or lethargy on my part get in the way. El Nino has to be fit, which means rid­ing as of­ten as I would in sum­mer.” One of the things we all suf­fer with dur­ing the darker months is time — or lack of it. “I make ev­ery sec­ond of a hack count,” says Caro­line. “I do a lot of my school­ing on a hack. Fun­nily enough, many peo­ple think en­durance horses don’t need school­ing, but they have to be as sup­ple, for­ward and bal­anced as any other com­pe­ti­tion horse.” Caro­line also makes use of lo­cal hills. “This means I can do a full work­out and cover a lot of dis­tance in less time, as the work is more stren­u­ous,” she ex­plains. She has her own take on the weather, too. “Billy Con­nolly once said: ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong cloth­ing,’ and I use this as my mantra now. I also think of the weather as beau­ti­ful, what­ever it’s do­ing. I ride head to toe in water­proof and wind­proof kit and El Nino wears a water­proof with fleece lin­ing ex­er­cise sheet, then nei­ther of us are fussed by what­ever is thrown at us.”

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