In honour of banishing bad vibes and to celebrate National Random Acts of Kindness Day on Saturday 17th February, we’ve come up with ten mood-brightening tips for starters, to cheer up your pals’ days.
1. Get the kettle on. There is never, ever too much tea.
2. Fix it. Radio that’s had no batteries for 7 months? Tack room bulb blown? Wobbly wheel on the wheelbarrow? Those simple, niggly yard jobs that are silently grinding everyone’s gears but no one has found time to fix. Just fix them. Internal stress barometers will be instantly back in safety zone.
3. De-grime. Horses back from hunting in pitch black and pouring rain? While they’re being unplaited, washed and bedded down, help de-griming mud-caked tack and muck out the lorry. Always the last jobs to do when you’re soaked to the bone and running on pure adrenalin and sloe gin. *Warning, strung-out hunters could weep with happiness.
4. Compliments. Even if their lesson was a sh*t show or their horse has decided to be the fire breathing monster from the depths of hell that day, or they’ve turned out for a show with see-through breeches and pink knickers on, be nice about something, anything. For example, “Well done for not losing your temper”, or “he may be a hell raiser but he’s still bloody handsome”, or, “well, at least you’ve got a cracking bottom”.
5. Bake. Even if you’re a disaster in the kitchen and your cakes look like cookies and your brownies are burnt, the gesture goes a long way. Cheap, quick and a frankly fool-proof winner is Rocky Road. You literally just need to be able to stir. See our failsafe recipe below. Still too much trouble? No-one has ever turned down a pack of custard creams…
6. Pull a mane. For that friend who just can’t and is looking thoughtfully at the scissors.
7. Oldie but a goodie. Buy a bumper box of polos with a packet for every horse in the yard.
8. Watch the kids. For the parent who hasn’t ridden out without a snotty child on a lead rein attached to them in 7 years. Give them the gift of two unadulterated hours of quiet hacking happiness.
9. Schooling aid. Help by calling out the dressage test that someone is desperately trying to learn. Or adjust poles and grids for someone jump schooling (without offering your expert opinion unless asked for).
10. Smile. Sometimes that’s just enough 🙂
Rocky Road recipe.
125 grams butter
300 grams dark chocolate. Don’t use milk chocolate as the fat can separate. Bit gross…
3 tablespoons golden syrup. (Lyles is best)
200 grams rich tea biscuits (or you can use digestives or other plain biscuits if you need to)
100 grams marshmallows. (A packet of Maltesers in for luck is extra yum)
- Throw butter, syrup and chocolate in a big pan on a low heat. Be careful that the chocolate doesn’t burn on the pan – keep regularly stirring. When all melted, take it off the heat.
- Put all the biscuits in a zip up freezer bag, cover with a tea towel (I find this stops it breaking) and bash it with a rolling pin until they are broken into small pieces and crumbs.
- Roughly chop the marshmallows up.
- Chuck in the biscuits (and Maltesers), stir, then do the same with the marshmallows.
- Line a pan with baking paper or cling film, turn the mixture into the pan and press down with the back of a spoon so it’s compact.
- Chill in the fridge for a few hours or if you’re in a hurry pop in the freezer for an hour.
- Turn out onto a chopping board and cut into squares. Voila! Guaranteed to turn those frowns upside down.