What an amazing day I had on Denman last weekend. The penny’s definitely beginning to drop — he is getting so much more relaxed and settled each time he goes out hunting.
He liked the Dutch gag and I had no braking issues riding him mainly off the snaffle rein. He is still coming out second horses when there are less people, but he is learning to queue more quietly when going through gateways and is standing better when waiting.
We had a lovely run across “The Diddle” and jumped three hedges. The first one, with a ditch in front, he took a little low, but this is a hazard of ex-racehorses. The second hedge had a rail each side, which he soared over and nearly jumped me off! Then we went off to catch a loose horse and on returning jumped the third hedge on our own without a lead. He did an enormous leap, but being a little green I have to expect that from time to time.
Racehorses are used to having orange guard rails at the base of fences on the track, so most have not seen plain natural hedges before and it takes a bit of time for them to get it right. Like a young horse, Denman is proving to be very bold. They were not small hedges — he measured them well and did not rush in.
He didn’t hot up, either. Earthmover was always quite tricky once he’d jumped a few hedges as he raked and yawed for the rest of the day. So far, Denman hasn’t done that and has a lovely mouth. He’s really enjoying himself, and so am I.
I may be able to increase his feed soon as he is currently on pony nuts, Alfa A and Protexin Gut Balancer (my secret weapon), which really helps maintain the condition. After hunting I also give him the Protexin Recover Aid.
I visited Charlie Langton (www.charlielangtonart.com) in his studio the other day, which was a huge treat. He’s currently working on a large bronze of Galileo for Coolmore Stud. It’s fascinating to see how these bronzes are produced and how many measurements he takes.
Charlie is very talented and did the lovely bronze of Yeats, which stands in the paddock at Ascot. He really manages to capture the character of the horses as he spends so much time with them. Newbury racecourse holds the Denman Chase — maybe one day there could be a bronze of Den there?!
Denman wishes you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, and hopes to be doing lots of hunting over the Christmas break.
Photos courtesy of TTL Videos
See more pictures of Denman out hunting with the Duke of Beaufort’s