Rain, rain go away! It’s hard to believe that this time last year we hadn’t had so much as a drop of rain for weeks on end, when you consider the seemingly non-stop deluges we’ve had of late. Finally, it looks as though we are in for a bit of a let up, albeit with the odd thunderstorm here and there, and that we are going to be enjoying some long overdue sunshine in the coming weeks. Fingers crossed that a good warm spell following all the wet will encourage the grass to grow and that a decent crop of hay and haylage is made this year.
We are very excited to have two National Hunt greats join the team last month, both formerly trained by David Pipe. These are Moon Racer, winner of the Cheltenham Festival Champion Bumper and Un Temps Pour Tout, winner of the French Champion Hurdle and back-to-back Cheltenham Festival Ultima Chases — both nine-year-old geldings (and both pictured with me, top), they have settled into the day-to-day routine at the yard like a pair of pros.
As with all our horses that arrive straight out of training, the pair have had a good few weeks chilling out and enjoying the long spells of turnout overnight. It’s nice to see them being just horses and watching to see how they take to a change in environment and new surroundings.
Once the boys had quickly become a part of the furniture, they received an initial consultation and a 14 day follow up treatment from our McTimoney chiropractor Sam Smith. Sam routinely treats all our horse on a six-monthly basis, and occasionally in-between should the need arise. It’s a really important part of the initial MOT prior to any ground work taking place to ensure that the horses’ alignment is correct and to determine whether any complimentary physio is required. Both boys had a few adjustments made and Sam gave them the thumbs up to begin their retraining proper. So now it is onwards with the long reining and basics like learning to stand at the mounting block to get on board rather than the leg up on the move which they will be accustomed to. The time this initial groundwork takes will vary from horse to horse, but it is paramount that the desired results, through sometimes bucket loads of patience, are achieved before moving onto anything more complex, as this is the foundation on which to build the trust and bond.
The new boys arrived just in time as we had a visit from our sponsors Harry Dabbs Saddle Makers and all the team were measured up for their new saddles for various disciplines. Harry Dabbs Saddle Makers are known worldwide for their production of quality saddles for all disciplines, many of their models feature the popular ‘performance panel’. This distinctive panel claims to gently leave the back of the horse a fraction sooner keeping the lumbar region free enabling the horse to move more freely. The panels are also designed to help free up the trapezius muscle in the shoulder area, to help aid forelimb movement. We are really looking forward to the saddles being ready and fitted hopefully in the next couple of weeks.
Talking of sponsors, we are incredibly lucky to now be working alongside Lafond Browbands. Val Lafond is super talented and has an awesome eye for detail — she has made us some simply stunning new browbands in the horses’ racing colours (pictured throughout), which is a lovely touch.
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Definightly, owned by the Emmets and formerly trained by Roger Charlton, has picked up his qualification for British Dressage Area Festival and had a super win at Burrows Court last week in the novice with 68%.
Gaitway, formerly trained by Nicky Henderson and Word Of Warning, formerly trained by Phil Kirby, had a trip down to The Royal Bath and West Show, which is in my opinion one of the buzzier shows on the circuit. Gaitway was fifth in the Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) open in-hand class and an educational spin in the RoR Jockey Club novice class, giving the ride judge a lovely ride and gaining some fantastic feedback from the judges. Word Of Warning collected his ticket for Hickstead in the RoR Tattersalls class and jumped a fabulous clear round in the RoR TBA challenge, but enjoyed his individual show slightly too much!
The coming weeks will see the horses venturing out to clinics, dressage and showjumping competitions so we have plenty to keep us busy.
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