Harry has had a busy few weeks since returning to work after his annual Christmas setback. All seems to have returned to relative normal for him and he’s feeling very, very well. We’ve had an incident packed time of it and come to think of it, Harry has had a brilliant time terrorising everyone and generally being a heller!
Shortly following his break after some hacking, I took Harry down to Jackie Du Plessis for a bit of canter work as Dartmoor was a little damp, and he worked superbly, bar one rather large buck!
On the way back to the lorry we came across two Shetlands being led down the road by their young owners. Cue major panic from Harry with a spin and a canter off down the road, tail in the air and loads of snorting. I decided to get off him and lead him past as I didn’t want him slipping on the road and hurting himself (again!). Massive mistake!
Halfway past the, by now very confused ponies and owners, Harry was off. He pushed me into the hedge catching me in the stomach on the way past and he was gone. He got about 100 yards up the road where he stopped and looked back to asses the damage he had caused and to make sure he couldn’t see the ponies anymore. My mother found it all very amusing, and although he caught me it wasn’t intentional so I do forgive him (just!).
Off to the races
Harry’s aim after his setback changed from Wadebridge to Chipley Park on 25 January. Will Biddick unfortunately had a ride in the same race for his boss so I asked young David Noonan to take up the reins. He is a super rider and works for David Pipe where he is held in high regard and I was sure he would be an able replacement.
I had to school Harry over fences before his run as David couldn’t get down. He’s really well at the minute and to say he was strong would be an understatement! But WOW he is unreal, so much power and scope, which is a good job as I asked for a very long one the last time over he fences but he responded so well and I was delighted with him (see video below). All set!
We took Harry to Chipley along side Tiz (Baldhu High Tide) who was having a racecourse gallop and a school over fences after the racing had finished.
They are good mates at home and behaved brilliantly together on the lorry. Harry was pretty revved up when he was walking round the lorry park, and I’m pretty sure he tried to show my sister Torie his belly. BAD HARRY!
In the paddock I asked David to ride him similar to how Will rode him before Christmas at Wadebridge. Time to get nervous again as I legged David up and wished him a good, safe ride. Harry was still revved up and I can’t say I was surprised to see him miss the first fence completely and take David a while to pull up to go back to the start. He is a little fresh it’s fair to say.
He jumped off near the front and it was quickly apparent that no one else was prepared to make the running so that was left to Harry and David. He ran and jumped brilliantly but with the ground becoming increasingly sticky (Harry was in the last race at 4pm), and having missed two week’s work with his setback I wasn’t surprised to see him lose his prominent position down the back straight on the last circuit and David sensibly pulled him up on the last bend.
He cantered back up the home straight and had a good blow. David said he felt he would be better suited to going left handed and also put him out the back instead of using so much energy running too free in front of the field.
He has come out of the race very well and got very, very dirty the next day in the field alongside some epic bucking and squealing!
He has had a quiet introduction to some small ponies on Dartmoor since the incident at Jackie’s and he’s not taking it particularly well it’s must be said. This is odd as he’s totally obsessed by my small pony on the yard at home. He is a strange character, but I guess that’s why I love him so much — his quirks ultimately make him competitive and hopefully he will win a race before too long.
We are aiming him for Buckfastleigh on 15 February. Unfortunately neither Will or David can ride him for one reason or another so Ciaran Gethins from Philip Hobbs’ yard will take up the reins on that occasion. He is a super rider and I’m sure he will be capable of anchoring Harry (no mean feat at the minute!).
The other horses are all going well and hopefully Tiz and Teddy will run on the same weekend as Harry. Busy times and hopefully all will go smoothly in the meantime.
I hope you are all well and fully recovered from Christmas and New Year antics!
Lizzie and Harry