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With the season up and running, here in Edgcote, Oxfordshire, we’ve been busy preparing the horses for the season, our first runners heading for Chaddesley Corbett on 27 December.

We’re not in a hurry to run them too early as it makes for a very long season, and the aim is to finish in June with as many horses as we started with. To that effect, after the roadwork, we do as much core strength work as possible, with trotting uphill and flatwork for horses with a poor topline.

Three of our work riders boast different skills: one is a showjumper, one an event rider and the other very good at dressage, so we use their strengths for the horses who need it.

We haven’t done as much slow canter work around the fields as we’d have liked, as the ground has been so firm, but we’re hoping that the trotting has made up for it. Interestingly, when we use the heart monitors on the horses, the heart rate gets higher when trotting rather than cantering.

I’d encourage everyone who loves the countryside and horses to get involved in this fantastic sport. Syndicates offer the fun of owning a racehorse for a fraction of the cost. Our priority is for the horses to come home safely, and we celebrate their “clear round” with bubbly and a picnic. Watch out if we have a winner!

Ref Horse & Hound; 8 December 2016