Alan Hill: Training the owner-rider and how to make it work *H&H VIP*

  • Training an owner-rider is a lot harder than training a horse as you have two elements instead of one.

    One such owner-rider is Gareth Henderson, an equity trader in London, who catches a train every morning at 6.45am.

    He is as enthusiastic as they come but he isn’t able to ride out in the week. Instead he goes to the gym, then rides out at weekends.

    Gareth has “golden time” when he’s at the yard, meaning we make every minute count. He rides a variety of horses alongside his own, and rather than hacking round the lanes, he rides work up the gallops and schools. The fast work keeps his eye in and his reactions sharp for racing.

    We video novice riders schooling so we can debrief them, looking at points to learn from, like body position and seeing strides.

    One of Gareth’s horses, Hunters Lodge, is a 10-year-old ex-chaser who has already run four times this season and won twice.

    His dream is to ride this horse in the four-miler at the Cheltenham Hunter Chase evening, so we’ll prepare him as best we can.

    Having owner-riders does take effort, but it is our job as trainers to introduce new people into the sport and keep them there.

    They are the backbone of the future of pointing and will, with luck, want to put back into the sport for years to come. So while our aim is to advise and educate them, above all, we must ensure they have fun.

    Ref: Horse & Hound; 14 April 2016