With this cold snap, it’s been great having the all-weather surface at Wolverhampton racecourse to gallop the horses. It gives a good indication of how they are coping with the increase in work.
Last week, we took Grand Fella for the first time with John The Glass and one of trainer Sue Taylor’s horses. Mum [Jane Badlan] rode him first, but he was really strong, so I took him round on his own afterwards, and he did a nice piece of work.
Next week, I’m taking him hunting to get his qualification. I don’t have great hopes for his behaviour as he struggles to settle in company (we call him Tigger, as he bounces so much). I’m hoping it’s just competitiveness!
We’ve upped the height of the fences at home and I’ve been allowed to school everything in the yard at Sue’s, which is great practice. Learning to sit and wait for the fence rather than attack it is important. The horse needs to think for himself rather than the jockey doing it all for him. The theory is that if the horse doesn’t meet a fence in a race quite right, he will be able to sort himself out.
I passed my medical last week. Breathing, previous breakages, medical history and eyes all come under scrutiny and, quite rightly, it’s taken very seriously.
The £100 fee may be a lot, but it’s too risky to let someone unfit ride in this sport. It’s not just you that you put in danger if you’re not up to the job.
Ref: Horse & Hound; 28 January 2016