Its here! It’s finally here! Yes, it’s December, which means only one thing: Christmas! As usual, we at RB Equestrian have already got ourselves a little too excited for the festive period, and some of our eagle-eyed customers may have noticed us sneaking Christmas decorations into the shop over the past few weeks including our gorgeous row of wreaths, half a dozen Christmas trees, and we have, of course, switched on the lights on our famous apple tree – decked out in some of our favourite products that are sure to make your loved ones smile come Christmas morning.
But the unveiling of our Christmas decorations isn’t the only source of excitement at RB. Recently, we also had a surprise visit from the one and only Charlotte Dujardin. The three-times Olympic Gold medalist, World Champion, and European Champion stopped by for a browse and a chat with Ros and Kathryn: talking bits, bridles, and horses before obliging a rather star-struck shopper with a selfie.
Charlotte was also kind enough to help us out with the star prize (a signed Breyer Valegro model!) for our raffle in aid of our local charity, Ride High. Long supported by RB Equestrian, this wonderful charity provides disadvantaged children with the opportunity to learn how to look after horses and ponies, and develop confidence and social skills through riding and structured classroom activities. Raffle tickets are £1 each and are on sale until Christmas Eve (2016!)
With all the excitement of Charlotte’s visit and our annual Welly Weekend and Christmas Bash, we’ve just about found time for our other favourite RB tradition: our staff Secret Santa. In the run up to drawing our Secret Santa selections, we’ve been looking back on the worst presents we’ve ever been bought (and dropping some pretty serious hints for this year!). Last year, we spent most of December listening to how Meghan was planning to get her parents to buy her a puppy; obviously she failed miserably in her attempt, but apparently Marks and Spencer scotch eggs are enough of a consolation prize to ease the disappointment of not receiving a pedigree Springer Spaniel on Christmas day…
Luckily for us, Meghan’s dismay was far from the worst of the bunch. Ros admitted that her worst gift was given to her from Ted (Ros’ husband, company director, and executive member of the Society of Master Saddlers), on her 21st birthday and which took the form of a sewing machine. ‘The worst part about it? I hate sewing!’ Ros exclaimed as she divulged that not only did Ted buy her the sewing machine, but that he had also invested in a course of lessons, and instructed all of Ros’ friends and family to buy her sewing-related presents. Sadly 21st birthday presents appear to be a disaster all round. Kathryn revealed that for her milestone birthday she was given a paperweight. It was, apparently, a very nice paperweight but it somewhat lost its appeal when, at lunch on the big day, she found out that a day-trip to Paris had been the alternative!
As for me, well I have been fortunate enough not to have ever received a ‘bad’ gift, so instead I’ll tell you about the best one. On the morning of my sixth birthday I was handed an old, grubby but wholly unfamiliar headcollar and instructed to go out to the stables to help with the horses. Once outside I saw my Grandad, grinning like a Cheshire cat, open up the stable door to reveal George, a straggly seven year-old Welsh Mountain pony, so thin you could fit dinner plates between his ribs. It transpired that my mother had bought him from a photograph, and had no idea of what his condition was until he arrived on our doorstep the previous evening. He was scrawny, with a chewed tail and non-existent mane, but as soon as I saw him I was in love. After months of careful feeding and nurturing, my mum and I helped him regain his health, and pretty soon we could see what an absolute super-star he was. George and I did everything, went everywhere, and won everything; he was every mother’s dream pony, and every pony-mad child’s perfect companion.
George instilled in me not only an irrepressible passion for horses, but also the dedication to learn and grow as a rider - something that certainly will never leave me, and that is also evident in the dozens of children who have loaned him over the years. So, with that in mind, and the promise of my three beautiful mares baying for their breakfasts on Christmas morning, I think I can cope if this year I draw the short straw and receive the customary citronella candles that have blighted the RB Secret Santa for the past ten years…. At least it won’t be a paperweight.
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