Another month has gone by and I have been very lax at keeping the blog updated, I know that the way to promote yourself these days is through social media but the reality of it is much harder when you are working full time and being a mum. I do post pictures on Instagram and Facebook as often as I remember to take pictures and or have something to tell people.
Last month we had a great month, Marmont finally put it all together and won a handicap hurdle with Dicky up, he did it really nicely and came out of the race so well I ran him two weeks later, again he ran a lovely race, Dicky found that he had a bit of ground to make up coming to 3 out so he asked him to go and before he knew it, he had hit the front. He told me that at that point he had to keep going but it may have been a bit too soon on the tacky ground. When you have the champion jockey apologising, you realise what a true sportsman is, I thought he gave the horse a great ride and was just beaten by a better handicapped horse on the day. We also think his wind has been a bit of an issue and Dicky thought it stopped him winning on the tacky ground, so on the Monday after the race Marms went into the vets for a palate surgery.
I debated whether to do it or not and still believe that he has a nice win in him, if we can improve him 10% then that 10% was the difference between winning and coming second. He has another week on the walker then I can start riding him out again, he is a little fresh...I have also had such good results with that type of surgery, there are very few risks and a lot of gains so that's where my share of the prize money has gone, no pressure Marmi...
The day Marms came second, Oscars Leader ran in his first hurdle race and I thought he would run a massive race, which he did by finishing second over a trip that is on the short side at a track that if you had told me I would be running him at, especially over 2 miles, when we started with him, I would have laughed in your face!
Oscar is a massive advert for a young horse who was pushed too hard, when he was too weak to try to win a point to point, which is the aim of the game now in Ireland, then sell them over here for big bucks. The day I bought him for John I remember everyone looking at me as if I had gone mad, he was small, very very thin, very nasty and unhappy, when we rode him he would nearly collapse with fear if we tried to move our hands or do our stirrups, he used to trip every other stride and he could barely get up two furlongs of our gallop.
I kept telling the guys and John once he got stronger and his confidence, he would be a nice horse but there were some days when he kept growing upwards and not eating or putting on condition I found myself worrying. However the first time I managed to get him to quicken on the gallop and make him think it was his idea, he gave me such a feel it took my breath away and from then on he has grown in confidence and become the kindest nicest natured horse. We still have to ride him very precisely to keep him using himself in the right way to keep the strength in the top line and he is everything I bang on about race horses being ridden correctly, to get the best out of them. WIthout that work, there is no way he would be the horse he is becoming. He has become such a kind horse, he waits in the afternoon for my daughter to come and give him his cuddle everyday.
I know that he will be super next season over 3 miles but if the ground stays on the soft side we will try to win a maiden or a novice over 2m4 this spring.
We ran Heroes or Ghosts at Warwick and I was very confident of a big run, he had been running away with us at home and loving life, it just shows you never know. He ran a dreadful race, was never travelling and came home lame in front, scoped filthy the next day. If you had told me to scope him before the race I would have thought you were mad, he had the cleanest nose, his coat was gleaming and hadn't coughed for months but scoped with loads of mucus down his trachea. Poor Floyd, he is just walking at the moment and his leg has settled down, he will be assessed this week and we can then make a plan.
Starfoot is back in full work and nearly ready to go again, he is bouncing and very very well, we are really looking forwards to him this season. He is hard to keep sound but by us riding him properly, he can maintain the strength to keep himself correct. Ash is doing a really good job with him and he loves her, he can feel in charge and it makes him the big man!
We have a few nearly ready to go again and I have just entered John biscuit, however the ground is too soft for him now, Mr F will be ready again in 2 weeks but the ground will probably go too firm for him! Meg (Tuppance Coloured) is nearly ready as is Touchy Subject. He's a Toff has come back into work really pleasingly after his wind op and again will be ready in a couple of weeks. Sods law they will all be ready when Im off skiing again - however as the guys keep telling me they win when im away...
I'm looking forwards to Cheltenham this week, I won't be going as I have too much on here but will be watching with avid interest. I find it so frustrating not to have horses good enough to go to the big meetings but still dream that one day we will, next year could be a reality - I have to dream!
The hardest thing for me is that we can do the job as well as anyone and our horses are given the best of everything with individual attention but its very very hard to attract owners. I work full time in the yard and am a mother to a gorgeous daughter, my partner has nothing at all to do with the horses and I don't have family who are involved, so I struggle to get out and meet owners, I have to be in bed at 9 every night to start work at 6, no room for socialising! I think I am one of the only women to be doing this job with no support network.
Now I have such good staff, they are a dream, work brilliantly as a team, ride really well and love the horses and for the first time in years I feel so happy and grateful to have them. I have amazing facilities, it would be great to get a couple more owners who want their horses to have more attention in a small yard, most owners have no idea of how each trainer can differ and how a lot of horses fall by the wayside in big yards, when they could and would thrive in a small yard.
Our strike rate of winners and place horses is very good, however we only run when I am happy with the horses, which means people don't get to see us that often - out of sight out of mind. Any answers to my conundrum would be gratefully received.