How do you train both your National Hunt and Flat horses? “Our main aim is to have the horses fit, healthy, happy, sound and very well educated in all they do which can only lead one way - to success”.
Fit: The horses receive plenty of work with a lengthy build up, that is varied work tailored to each horse. We are lucky enough to have access to over 1,000 acres of farmland that has a variety of grassland banks, valleys, steep banks and lovely downland turf gallops. The varied routine also stimulates them mentally so they are not doing the same thing day in day out. I like to have the horses fit to enable them to win races but I am conscious on not having them unnecessarily ‘light’.
Healthy: I like to turn out the horses as much as possible so I’m not just aiming for a healthy body but a healthy mind as well. Ad-lib forage is fed whilst in the stable to maintain a healthy gut function. The stabling is also incredibly airy and well ventilated. We use Baileys horse feed and I speak to the nutritionalists there very often to get the balance right for each horse.
Happy: A varied routine seems to keep most horses happy and access to the paddocks helps too. The horses are generally turned out in two herds: all the geldings together and all the fillies together. I like the herd mentality and giving them an opportunity to socialise together. Coupled with this, horses are stabled in a large American style barn where every horse can see the whole yard; helping them settle very well.
Sound: Be it barefoot or with correct shoeing soundness is of the utmost importance to enable me to train a horse successfully.
Well Educated: I like all the National Hunt horses to receive plenty of grid work when schooling which allows them to make the mistakes at home and improve at home. Learning to fiddle and get themselves out of trouble at home can only help them when under pressure in a race. Nearly all horses get their eye in before they run. To date we have had over 60 runners without a faller over jumps.