Racing – welcome back!

So great to get racing back on our screens on Monday so well done to everyone for helping get the show on the run. Exciting here for us too as we were thrilled that about 20 more horses returned along with some of our team too – Jasmin Richards, Beth Whittle and Paddy Berkins. Great to have noise around the place again albeit most of it due to lots of whinnying from horses full of excitement!

Although today isn’t as hot as it has been, and we have only had a very small amount of the promised rain, the team have voted to start at 6am again instead of 7 and therefore finish an hour early. They are working straight through and not coming back for evening stables as the horses are being ridden from the field. Freddie sets his alarm at the same time as mine for 5am and we go and feed all the horses including the youngsters and those that are still on holiday. He’s been a great help and helps me feed them in the evening too. After the horses have been ridden and turned back out in the field the team are doing all those extra jobs that always need doing!

Our Bookkeeper, Deb Kedward, used to come into the office for a day with Belinda but now she is working remotely and calls in for paperwork once a week instead. It has worked really well but Belinda is looking forward to her being based here for a day a week again.

We had visitors last night, socially distanced of course, when Ollie & Irene Ryan, who had been walking around Lower & Upper Slaughter, drove by the gallops and decided to call to ask if they could pop in. We were thrilled to see them and especially show them their ‘new’ filly Found On whom we hadn’t had long before lockdown and they haven’t managed to see in the flesh yet. It was a stunning evening last night and, with all the space we have here and the horses turned out, it was easy to socially distance. Reve is in another field but also within walking distance and also has summered superbly. It was so good to catch up and almost odd to have visitors!

We aren’t encouraging visitors to the yard and indeed no-one is allowed in the yard at the moment apart from the team but owners are encouraged to come and watch their horses in action on the gallops. They have been asked to contact Belinda or myself though so we don’t have too many people to safely manage. We are starting to take bookings and look forward to seeing familiar faces again.

We obviously have our wonderful viewing platform too and therefore those that are having to take isolation more seriously can park up there, stay in their cars and watch the amazing view of our stunning gallops from there. They will know who their horses are as we will put coloured numbercloths on and a coloured cap too.

So it is far from business as usual here and indeed don’t have our full team back yet (but thanks to the Government’s furlough scheme they are still being paid and will be back soon as more horses come back in from their summer holidays) but we do feel that within the guidelines we are slowly able to open some of our doors again and look forward to seeing people and to getting back racing ourselves too. Plenty of guidelines and hoops to jump through there as well but it’s back so we are certainly not complaining!