National hunt trainer Henrietta Knight and husband Terry Biddlecombe will be preparing for one of the year’s busiest day’s racing at their West Lockinge yard.

“We usually have horses racing on Boxing Day so Christmas is very busy. Terry and I feed the horses at 5am as usual. About three-quarters of the staff work on Christmas Day — they come in early (6-6.30am) so they can leave mid-morning and then will come back in the evening to finish off.

“We have about 60 horses on the yard that need to be exercised. A few local jockeys come in to ride out too. We give the staff drinks and sausage rolls on Christmas Eve and any staff who want to go home to their families will be rota’d off.

“When everyone has left mid-morning, Terry and I enjoy the peace and quiet. I cook turkey with all the trimmings for lunch and we might have a friend over to join us, otherwise it’s just the two of us. Anyone who has horses and animals knows that even though it’s Christmas, you have to keep going.”

This was first published in Horse & Hound (8 November, ’07)