Well again two months have gone past and I have not caught up with the blog, however in my defence, we do add to the Jo Davis Racing Facebook site more regularly.
We have been having a poor time with the runners, just under 3 weeks ago we ran 3 at Uttoxeter, He's a Toff, John Biscuit and Touchy Subject. The first two ran disappointing races and I put it down to John being past it and Toff being ungenuine and not in love with racing, however we expected much more from Touchy Subject and were very very disappointed.
My instant reaction was that they had to be ill still, i decided to take bloods from them on the Friday, along with a random few who hadn't been running and had been ill but I thought were over it. How wrong was I? All of the bloods showed we were still viral and they needed a rest to help get over it, the vet recommended complete rest for 2 weeks and walking for 1/2.
Upon receiving the news, I had what can only be described as an epiphany...I knew we had been battling a virus since November but couldn't understand why horses that were looked after so well, given the best of everything, fed top quality feed, hay that was clean, nebulised twice a day were still ill.
I knew that certain horses such as Marmont, have always suffered from "allergies" but I always found a reason such as pollen or respiratory infections, however whenever we stopped nebulising him, his nose became snotty overnight.
Cue me trying to work out what was causing this, then I realised that when the barn was built, way before we bought it, they had put insulation in between the block work without capping the blocks, hence the rain had come in through the Yorkshire boarding and soaked the insulation, causing it to be like a sponge, creating a mould and fungus heaven, then to add insult to injury we had rats living in there. Joy.
So having been told to rest the horses I decided to turn them all out and gut the barn, how hard could it be? Ya, quite hard if Im honest...Especially as I gave us exactly two weeks to do EVERYTHING!
First we thought we could pull the insulation out from the top of the block work, noooo never going to happen as the rats had made sure that it was no longer in rolls, just lots of very dusty tiny bits and there was only a 1" gap to drag it out of, 43 meters each side of the barn plus the ends was a very daunting prospect. I managed to find a company who specialise in taking it out of houses when people have damp and mould and they did a fantastic job, thank you so much to Vac-extract. We would have been there for a year as opposed to a week otherwise...
Next we got Stable Hygiene to come in and steam clean everything, but whilst they were getting on with all that, my guys and I cleaned and painted the tack room, feed room and disinfected all of the tack, whilst Gregg (aka Our Trace) creosoted all the fencing.
They finished the steam cleaning last Monday afternoon and we started painting the wooden partitions and fronts inside and out that day, followed by all of the next day, 22 stables done. Then came the back block walls, I think painting blockwork could be used as a form of torture, it is like a sponge and took 2 coats of undercoat (one of which was sprayed by me using a back pack sprayer, by the twenty second stable, I was in bits, both physically and mentally) and two coats of antibacterial paint on top, it was like painting the Fourth Road Bridge, just not as fun...
Whilst we were paining the walls (and ourselves), one of Greg's lads was putting metal capping around the windows and along the top of the blocks to stop any more mould and rats living in the cavities and finally on Sunday we were finished.
Yesterday saw most of the horses coming back in, with a few left out who are soft ground horses. I think they were all delighted to be back in and we are delighted to be starting again in a fresh and clean barn.
I cannot thank, my staff and friends who helped me achieve the impossible in two weeks, enough. We all kept smiling and making every miserable job a bearable one, I am so grateful and relieved. Lets hope this does the trick! Will continue walking the horses for a week followed by ridden work next week and then will re blood again. Fingers crossed!!!
Below are a few pics of the whole delightful process.