Martin’s Blog 24th April

Whilst I’ve been busy on social media, especially Twitter, and am learning about Instagram (thanks to the kids!) I’ve not blogged for a week so apologies for that. I didn’t think there was much to share but thinking back over the last 7 days there does seem to be quite a lot that has happened.

We’ve chosen to stay away from the politics and covid-19 stories ourselves as there is pretty much of an overload of it already and we’ve decided that we need to help people, and indeed ourselves, stay positive and it’s definitely helping us by looking for the good and fun out of this crazy situation.

Yes we are fortunate to live where we do however with racing facing an uncertain future it’s not without it’s pressures but we are planning as much as we can for the future and feel generally positive about things. We are lucky to have the support we do ensuring there are always plenty of plans, backed up by forecasts etc, which are as accurate as we can possibly get them. Our twice weekly conference calls keep us focused and help iron out any concerns and are so very useful.

Our chickens are a source of entertainment too. Our team of four are now a team of eight with four new additions – 2 are white Suffolks and 2 are Rocky Rhodes. They’ve got fun names and the boys are really enjoying looking after them – the new ones are segregated at the moment via a wire fence and can only see the other hens through a wire mesh separating one part of the hen house to the new extension but all is so far good. So when you are passing, when allowed of course, you can pick up your free range eggs here and help the boys earn some pocket money!

What glorious weather we are having at the moment and, whilst it must be frustrating for those without gardens or unable to get out, it’s surely better than the depressing rain we are all too familiar with in this country. The rain was much needed earlier in the week though and has definitely helped my fields green up and the new seed we planted start growing. I’m afraid more is needed though so let’s make the most of the sun whilst we can as rain is surely only just around the corner.

We’ve had 2 horses in training for much of this month – Raving Bonkers and Black Prince who are going to have a spin on the flat as and when it returns. They’ve now been joined by Gold Mountain, one of the first jumpers we’ve got back in. He’s had a few weeks out but is now back in hoping that somehow we will be able to run in July, even if behind closed doors. For the meantime though we’ll tick them along and, if nothing else, the videos of them on the gallops, coupled with the horses out in the field, seem to be bringing so much joy to those unable to visit. I thoroughly enjoy making them too.

One member of the team that we’ve not furloughed is Lucjan and he is flat out with so much mowing, strimming, mending and building to do. Our field shelter bizarrely flipped out of the field last week in an evening of high winds (it wasn’t in a field with horses in thankfully) probably because I’d taken the gates off it. However, we have re-positioned it and, with Lucjan’s help, we have re-vamped it so that it now is a shelter for two fields with a partition in the middle as it is very large. This will be a great help next winter when we have our current crop of yearlings one side and the two year olds the other side. Our yearlings are with Anna & Alan Varey at Batsford Stud at the moment and it will be great to have them here soon and be able to see them change and develop. Hopefully lots of you will be able to come and visit soon – let’s hope.

Happy Birthday to Deb Butler for yesterday. Deb is helping us out hugely at the moment and is one of the riders you will see on my videos as she is Raving Bonkers’ regular rider and loves riding him out. She is actually going over and above helping us out and is an absolute star doing tasks from steam cleaning to cleaning bridles and much more in between. Thank you Deb!

Take care everyone and stay safe.