Lizzie Luxton’s point-to-point blog: Sore heads, great praise and final preparations [VIDEO]

  • Since my last blog Harry has had an exciting couple of weeks. There’s been lots of cantering and a special visitor in the shape of Will Biddick!

    Will arrived on Sunday (23 November) at 9am (gulp!) to give Harry a jump.

    Unfortunately for Will he had to put up with several sore heads as Jo Buck, her partner Gerry Supple — David Pipes assistant trainer — and many others celebrated in considerable style the night before.

    It was 70th birthday of the local pub landlord (Clovelly Inn) and prolific owner of point to pointers, with Pauline Geering and Torben Hughes. It was a party to remember — or not in my case! — and Harry (pictured below) was delighted I wasn’t riding him the following day!

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    A glowing report

    The jumping went very smoothly (see video), and I was delighted to hear Will say how clever he thought Harry was. As you may have read in my previous blogs, careful and tidy were not always words I would use to describe Harry’s interesting technique!

    I use Dartmoor as my cantering ground, and it’s the perfect place in my eyes. The horses barely know they’re in training and they can go to different parts of the moor to keep them sweet and depending on their level of fitness.

    I have found a super track that is approximately one mile long up a reasonable pull — they go nice and steady up there twice once they are fit.

    People often think that training racehorses is about going flat out at all times. But this simply isn’t the case.

    However, my job as trainer is to make sure that the horse has the stamina to gallop three miles and ‘getting the trip’ doesn’t happen by training with pure speed.

    Harry’s week in training

    To give you an insight of how the horses work, this was Harry’s week, starting at Sunday last week through to Sunday just gone (30 November):

    Sunday: Short hack followed by schooling over fences
    Monday: Day off in the field for most of the day (Harry pictured below, having a great time getting muddy!)
    Tuesday: Long hack (one and a half hours)
    Wednesday: Steady canter on Dartmoor
    Thursday: Same as above
    Friday: Visit to Jackie Du Plessis all weather gallop for a ‘sharp’ gallop
    Saturday: Harry’s favourite pastime – hunting! Plenty of cantering this day!
    Sunday: Hack

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    In the past I worked for Jackie Du Plessis and I’m really grateful to her for letting me take the horses down to work them alongside hers.

    Her horses are always very fit and she has a super eye, I owe her a massive amount and I’m always asking her advice on things. She’s a serious trainer and it’s from her that I learnt that no stone should be left unturned and if you’re not happy on the day of the races it’s best to put the horses away and drive home than regret running them.

    Fit and fresh

    The next two weeks leading up to Harry’s first run will involve a normal week this week work wise and then I will tweak the days to fit in with his run, so he has a sharp pipe opener the day before his race.

    I aim to take them racing as fit as possible but it’s vital they feel fresh, as an overworked horse won’t run to his best.

    Harry will have another clip before Wadebridge to make sure he looks as smart as possible in his sponsor’s rug. He is being sponsored by Jump on us inflatables this year, so will be sporting a dashing bright orange paddock sheet, kindly made by Equafleece.

    I have been using a NAF product called Love the SKIN he’s in and that has seemed to make a large difference to his skin and coat health and I’m very pleased with the results all round.

    Poor Harry does suffer a bit, so I try my best to keep his skin as clean and healthy as possible. If he was a teenager, he’d have every skin and spot complaint under the sun!

    If any of you reading are at Waebridge for the Cormwall hunt club meeting on 14 December, please come and meet Harry, he loves fuss and attention, I just ask that no one is to feed him anything before he runs!

    Wish us luck — his mate Ted is running too so it should be an exciting and very nerve wracking day for me!


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