Cold and a touch of frost but glorious sunshine this morning.  A heavy heart yesterday as I went out to do evening stables after the the BBC’s excellent final coverage of the Grand National.  I find it incredibly difficult to reconcile my enjoyment of such an exhilarating race with the death of two wonderful horses.  As it was the Beeb’s final go and hence, however good Ch 4 may be, the last chance to watch full coverage without being continually interrupted by bookies adverts, I had made the most of it and had loved every minute until the news came through of the fatalities. Any horse’s death in the race is sad, two horses that I had developed a particular affection for is very difficult.

According to Pete

So, a slow walk up the hill afterwards, I went round my horses as I do every night, feeling all their legs, checking for changes, I then prepared the feeds, nearly all tailored slightly to suit the individual.  The girls had come straight in after the race, all the horses had been groomed, given an extra rug, beds skipped out, hayed and watered, a few cuts cleaned, legs hosed, a little physio here and there, bandages applied, some drugs administered.  Up early to feed them this morning, a quieter day exercise-wise with most of them on the walker, similar routine this evening, I will then jump in my car and drive off to check ground conditions at an imminent meeting. 
These animals, like most racehorses, are incredibly well cared for; as with many trainers I live and breathe them, would I ask one of them to line up in the Grand National?  Yes, of course I would, if I had a good enough horse that I felt would be suited by the challenge then I would not hesitate, I wouldn’t watch and I would be incredibly nervous but it is their raison d’etre; every race is dangerous, there will be horses killed but horses die at home and like it or not it is a real part of a wonderful sport that creates fantastic living conditions for tens of thousands of animals and creates tens of thousands of jobs.  When I have to put a horse down and hold it while the vet euthanases it I am sure that the horse feels no pain, it doesn’t suffer.  Those two horses yesterday would have gone from adrenaline rush to permanent sleep in seconds, they would have felt little, it is those missing them that will feel the pain, those that have to cope with the empty stable, but they are horsemen and will move on like we all do, it’s very very tough but the sense of loss is merely a reflection of how treasured the horses are in the first place.  There will be calls for further modifications to the race but how far do you go? 
Of course, I write this not simply to bore on like so many others, it is a sort of personal exorcism, the demons of doubt rise high after a day like yesterday, they must be dealt with, writing about it is a good way of doing that, being with the horses is the other.
And now to today, Lucy at Market Rasen, On the Right Path in the 2.30, Domoly in the 4.40 and Good Star in the 5.10.  She then might be at Kempton, Cheltenham and Southwell prior to heading to Ayr at the end of the week for the two day Scottish National Meeting where hopefully we will have a runner or two……