A magnificent sporting weekend and whilst the main focus will be on France and Wales the Northern jumps season is gradually wakening up with Hexham’s season starting yesterday and Kelso’s tomorrow. Although we are still a couple of weeks of having any runners Lucy has a ride in the 2.25 on Knock Three Times for Wilf Storey and we are busy here preparing the horses.
This includes trips around the Lomond Hills to use Lucinda’s first class woodchip gallop and today it was the turn of Native Coll (Kit), Northern Flame (Lucy) and Seeking Power (James). Earlier in the week Isla Pearl Fisher, Papamoa and Forcefield were there and hopefully next week those six will go again as will Isla Patriot and Four Fiddlers. Taking the horses away and giving them a strong piece of work on another gallop has a number of different benefits and this season I aim to give all of them 5 or 6 away days before they actually line up to race. The whole routine at the moment is working very well and although I’ve been training horses for a year or two I am amazed how exhilarated I feel watching them progress each morning.
Of course it’s not all a bed of roses, I have gone to particular effort this autumn to have our own feed mixed and have sourced ingredients from the far reaches of the British Isles, the first (large) batch arrived 10 days ago and I have been gradually introducing it; most of the horses love it and tuck in with their usual zest however there are one or two fusspots who seem to have decided that I should never have been allowed in the kitchen and simply stare at me balefully. I ignore them and creep back in a little later to check and, woe betide, the feed is still lying untouched on the floor. At that stage my resolve cracks and I give them a bowl of their old nuts and worry my way back to the office. Another vexing issue is a new habit of the yearlings up the hill, that of chasing me on the quad bike, luckily they are a bit faster than the quad but
this is no consolation when they are hurtling around in the wet, heels flying and me cowering and shouting. Additional stress is introduced when I have been too lazy to climb off the quad and close the gate…. hmm.. mustn’t forget to mention the weather of course which has already given us a few extra challenges – there is no doubt that I am guilty of a little schadenfreude when observing the problems faced at Celtic Manor, particularly by the USA team waterproofs. Chuckle.
Whatever the weather throws at us they are exciting days, we just need to do our best to ensure they remain healthy and sound…