‘His job was to go in the ring and win gold medals – what we’re doing is different’: Dan Skelton on working alongside his dad, Nick

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  • National Hunt trainer Dan Skelton is a busy man, with four yards to run and 120 horses in training at his Warwickshire base. As he said recently on The Horse & Hound Podcast, “it’s a big old set-up!”

    But there are lots of people involved behind the scenes who all help keep the show in the road, including his brother, Harry, who is a jockey and of course, his father, the Olympic gold medal-winning showjumper, Nick.

    “Our family set-up and team just works – it’s seamless,” explains Dan. “We all know what we’re seeing and feeling and sometimes we need to discuss but other times we don’t as we know what each other is thinking.”

    When asked about how much involvement his father Nick has in proceedings, Dan says that it is not as much as you might assume.

    “Dad lets us get on with it – he loves coming racing and there is the odd occasion when we might ask him something, but his job was to go in the ring and win grands prix and gold medals and so he knows what we’re doing is totally different,” says Dan. “There’s a bit of crossover, but he doesn’t try and enforce his opinion – he’d rather just enjoy it.”

    Dan also explains that, despite having lots of horses in his care, and the fact that he employs a large number of staff, he runs a steady and calm ship.

    “We don’t run a yard where everyone is shouting and screaming – everyone knows what they’re doing and where they should be and they quietly get on with it,” says Dan. “You can’t have a yard with insanity around the place – it would drive me mad!”

    Hear more from Dan Skelton as he looks forward to the season ahead and gives us an exclusive insight into his family-run business on episode 76 of The Horse & Hound Podcast – listen here or search “The Horse & Hound Podcast” in your favourite podcast app.

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