Michael and Sharon began training racehorses in 2002 at the family farm in Staverton, initially with a small string of point-to-pointers. They both shared a life-long passion for horses and have been involved with them for many years but now the direction of their lives was gradually changing course.
With more owners, and with success following success on the point-to-point scene, decisions had to be made about the future. Enthusiastic owners were looking to run horses under rules so Michael decided to approach Andy Haynes, who trained at nearby Limpley Stoke, with a view to bringing a few horses to his yard to train under rules. Michael worked closely with Andy and was subsequently given sole responsibility for the jumping team at the yard.
Many winners followed, the most notable being the enigmatic Border Castle who ran away with the Scottish Champion Hurdle in 2008. The horse had been bought by Michael and Sharon only a few months previously and ran in the colours of their syndicate, the Staverton Owners Group.
Owner pressure persuaded them to set up their own National Hunt yard and early in 2010 Michael and Sharon found themselves facing a whirlwind of change as they planned all that had to be done. With the commitment already made for Michael to attend the courses at Newmarket they put into action the plans which would transform the yard in readiness for their new venture.
The yard continues to expand with more horses from both existing and new owners. Each year Michael and Sharon welcome owners, from near and far, to an Owners Evening which includes a tour of the stables and a parade of horses, followed by a party. Newcomers are most welcome!
Our American Barn: This airy and spacious barn has twenty-six full size stables, each of them having rubber floors to minimise injury. Every stable has self-filling water bowls and horses are bedded on top quality dust-extracted shavings.
Large Indoor School: This is used for warm up, loose schooling, lunging and various other forms of exercise. It comes into it's own in the most inclement weather, ensuring that horses never miss their daily exercise.
Large Outdoor School: This is used daily for warming up the horses prior to the gallops. It's main use, however, is as a schooling area before the horses jump on the grass. It is equipped with baby hurdles, full size hurdles and steeplechase fences.
Gallops: The six-furlong, state of the art, all weather activ-track can be used in all conditions and has an uphill finish. It is harrowed daily and the depth can be varied to suit the work required. A wide variety of grass gallops provide plenty of scope for horses to train in conditions favouring their needs.
Schooling Ground: Hurdles, fixed brush hurdles and steeplechase fences, including an open ditch, ensure that the horses are well prepared. Michael believes that if a horse cannot jump it cannot win! It is also here that the all the flat horses are taught and well familiarised with the starting stalls prior to racing.
Horse Walker: A valuable tool on any yard, this brand new five stall covered horsewalker has both rubber floor and sides and the additional benefit of lights. Every afternoon horses are given extra exercise here, bringing their time out of the stables up to about two hours.