This week has been a difficult week, no real reason if I'm honest, just difficult. I think we are all struggling to find any light at the end of the tunnel. We are lucky here, we have a beautiful place to live, gorgeous horses to ride and look after and a fantastic team, so there should be no way that I am down or finding it hard.
I've decided to loose school all the horses today, none of them will be running any time soon on this ground, so what's the point of us getting soaked through again and letting them get cold and wet for no reason.
I have retired to the office and am looking out of my window - the rain is relentless, I don't think it has ever been this heavy for such prolonged periods of time, our land is completely waterlogged and flooded. Usually this time of year we would be skiing, that is the only thing that I do which gives me a complete break from work, I'm too busy trying not to die.
I did say to Anna the other day, I even love going to airport and having a fry up before we go, so she suggested we go to Gatwick after lock down and just have a fry up...it's the little things that make me happy! Still again, if that's the worst thing we are missing/dealing with as a family then aren't we lucky? I must stop myself watching ski Sunday though, it's torture on my mental health!
However when we are still struggling to find any form with the horses and we get soaked to the skin day in day out or are dealing with an icy, frozen gallop and yard, everything seems so much harder, but then that is only a short lived feeling as I keep telling myself, the evenings are drawing out and it will stop raining, maybe, one day, I hope...
The one thing I can tell is I am so grateful for my staff, they are always here, never sick or sorry and I can completely trust them to get the job done, the staff are the unsung heroes of racing and without them we are nothing, so thank you guys. One day I may be able to afford a pay rise for you...We will be getting some percentage money this year, I promise you!
I feel for all the good people out there who don't have the luxury of open spaces, who don't have work colleagues to chat to and work with, who don't have children who like to learn, I take my hat off to all of you who keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Onto the horses, they have been decidedly average recently, Mr F ran a much better race to finish mid div and he's turned into the biggest diva since that race. He is, in his mind, god's gift to horses, we hump and bronk and buck most days now - worse than any of the youngsters, so I feel he may be running again in a couple of weeks, if I can find the right race on the right ground at the right track....Which is harder than it sounds...Seeing as the powers that be like to put on more high class races, which attract 4/5 runners and have a dearth of low grade handicap hurdles, which attract 50/70 entries a race.
Flying Risk is a total enigma, we thought we had her cracked at home but to be fair to her, she did make a noise at Wincanton, so we have done a palate surgery and she has started back in work, moving superbly. I have my doubts about her confidence too, the last run she had in Ireland resulted in a smashed hind splint bone, consequently when horses come around her at home, her instinct is to shy away and I would say that is not helping her on the track, I may put some blinkers on to help her feel secure.
Jack really shook me when he choked at Chepstow, I didn't see that coming - when he ran in October at Uttox, there was no sound and working at home we have heard nothing. Granted he hasn't been working on the heavy ground but when Trev scoped him, his palate was completely slack again. So his wind was done this week, hopefully he will be back racing in a month, I know there is a decent horse on soft ground in there, he has just had so many problems we haven't been able to get it out yet.
Steve (Catlow) was amazing at Wincanton, he jumped and ran for fun, I think he had a little too much fun and the ground didn't allow for him to run that freely! I know he will be fine on good ground and I will also put a tongue tie on him, no noises just instinct. I love this horse, Trace wants him when he's retired and just recently Julie bought a share in him, I had to tell her that the deal was he went to Trace when he retired and she said yes, which is lovely!
Alan is back in work, cantering and generally feeling fabulous. He is such a funny lad, still has his aaaarrrrggghhhh moments but actually he has grown up so much I would say he is nearly a nice ride, when he's not bronking... We will aim for good ground chases, in fact he is the same as Steve, just less keen! So we will try to avoid having them in the same races. The trouble is now there are so few low grade races, when you do find one, there is a full field and they go flat out.
I was talking about the speed of races to someone the other day, if you have a thinker of a horse (which we have had many over the years) who like to front run, it is getting harder and harder to win with them. Passato, who won 6 over fences for me would probably struggle to win a race now, he liked to front run and as long as they didn't go flat out over the first two fences, he would grow in confidence as the race went on, now a days they go so fast over the first few in handicaps, those kind of horses are always going to struggle.
Alan needs good ground to see the best from him but he resents the speed they go when he gets the good ground, especially if he can't be up there, the thinking is the further we go the slower they will go, but that really isn't the way it is now.
Dave has been gotten ready to run again, only to see the ground go heavy (no surprise there) so we will keep ticking him over and wait, he is too nice to ruin and we know he hates jumping out of very soft ground - he is rather fresh though and our Trace is having fun cantering him each morning.
Jemima is back cantering again after throwing a splint, she was working well and will start galloping this weekend, we are looking to run her in a bumper soon, her name is now Passing Eve. She has turned into a diva too, who likes to tank along in her work, very competitive which is nice.
Claude was going superbly but he put a whopping buck in last week and came in with a haematoma on his butt where he tore a muscle, which is frustrating. He's on box rest at the moment and is having it cold hosed and hot compressed, I am hoping we don't have to lance it...
Sammy (Beccaccino) is a beautiful horse, he just improves everyday and has started to settle into his work. He is very weak so we are taking it really slowly with him, I love him and watching him move he could be anything.
Gallic is typical Gallic, injuring himself in any number of ways, however he is back sound again and cantering - we have removed any sharp objects/blunt objects and wrapped him in bubble wrap for the foreseeable future.
Eddie (Dreamingofasong) has grown loads and has been cantering everyday, we need to get on and school her over some hurdles, however again she needs goodish ground so I haven't rushed her. I really like her and think she will be super when she's in mares handicaps.
Finally the small one has been amazing through the whole home-schooling joy, there have been the odd tears and stress but on the whole she has just knuckled down and gotten on with her work. Usually unsupervised as I am riding or working, so much gratitude she didn't get the dyslexic/hatred for school work I had! I try to reward her by doing pony stuff with her each day and painting, it turns out she is amazing and I am not as bad as I thought.
I know that we will come into form again soon and I know that today will turn into tomorrow and we will be laughing and joking again, I know that for every set back we seem to be having, it could be so much worse and I know that if I have a gut feeling about something being wrong, I must listen to it and not doubt things.
Anyway stay safe and thank you again to all of you who follow and encourage us, I hope to repay you with some decent winners soon! In the meantime have a look at some pictures that involve the sun, you know just in case you had forgotten what it looks like...