Monday, 7 December 2009

Velvet Skye now back in work

It's been such a busy week, so a quick re-cap -On Tuesday evening we got a call from Nicky Henderson's amateur stable jockey to ask if he could ride out for us in the hope of getting a point to point ride. It was perfectly timed as Will Telfor hadn't turned up as expected on Friday and we really do need a second jockey so that we can enter the horses and know that we aren't going to be let down at the last moment. His name is Ed Kendall and he turned up on Wednesday morning and rode the Frog and Harry. I was on Dove and then Dream and we went around the flat gallop three times and then once up the hill. Frog was a little 'fresh' but didn't do anything bad, and Harry was really good and relaxed. When we got back he schooled them in the menage over the built up hurdle and we were delighted with the way he rode.
On Thursday I was chief tractor driver with Doug. We were fencing the other side of Market Harborough. It was a really cold spot and the wind was whipping through us - I was very pleased to be spending most of the time in the tractor. Before we started Doug phoned the owner to confirm exactly where they wanted the fence, that confirmed the fence posts were meticulously banged in - luckily the rails weren't put on, because the owner phoned the following day to say there had been a mistake and the fence was in the wrong place. 'C'est la vie' ..........
In the evening it was our 'office party' John Stephenson our accountant had come to sign off the end of the year accounts and Sally, who helps with the books was also doing some office work so we went out for a meal at 'The Griffin' - I always used to do the same with whoever helped me with the horses during the season. We used to ride to the pub (draped in tinsel etc,) which was about 7 miles away where I had organised hay nets and rugs in the car park for the horses. We would be greeted by a large jug of mulled wine and a huge open fire - four hours later we would fall out of the pub and try and get on our long suffering but incredibly understanding horses All I can say is that it was very lucky that the horses had a homing instinct!
On Friday, Rowan Cope (our previous and very successful jockey, now new master of the Pytchley hounds) wanted to introduce us to a young jockey working for Caroline Bailey and wanting a ride in a point to point. He bought Sam, who rode Frog and Dove and also rode very well, but was a lot less experienced than Ed and Will - one extreme to another, we're spoilt for choice now!
On Saturday we went to watch Northampton v Bath - the rugby wasn't brilliant as Bath played tactically very well but slowed the game down, and Northampton only won by three points in the last 22 seconds when they scored a converted try. We went to the bar and met up with the 'Towcester' lot - which in hindsight probably wasn't the best idea as they then invited us back to John and Sarah's for a curry. It ended up being rather a late but very enjoyable night.
On Sunday we had been invited to Richard and Jenny's for lunch - before we left we bought the youngsters in from the field and put them in the barn as it had been pouring with rain all night and the river bank looked as though it was about to burst. Lunch was brilliant, they are such a great crowd. I sat next to John Pritchard who farms in Warwickshire. He was master of the Warks hounds for a number of seasons and is without doubt one of the best horsemen in the area. He is a legend across country ( and he's no spring chicken) and will ride over any obstacle on any horse. He loves the countryside and his hounds and was a pleasure to watch the connection between man, dog and horse while he was master/huntsman.
When we got back in the car Doug noticed that he had missed a number of calls from Ben (owner rider) we immediately thought that something had gone wrong with Jake - We knew that Ben's parents had come over that lunchtime to watch him canter and jump Jake in the school - Doug eventually managed to contact him to find that his mother (Ann) had decided to have a sit on Jake in the school - Ben's father (Stuart) tried to leg her on but Jake moved and she fell off , landed with her leg underneath her and broke both bones just below the knee. She was taken to Banbury hospital where unbelievably it won't be pinned until next Monday because they haven't got the necessary plates.
It rained all day today. Lucy was in and I rode Frog, Doug on Harry, Lucy on Dream and Ben on Jake. We had the heart monitors on and I wasn't happy with Frog's HR. It was unusually high and had an average of 136 and a high of 230. We were supposed to be going up the gallops but I came away and walked her back - she felt really flat ( for Frog) and has obviously got something brewing. Better to be on the safe side with her, she is going so well and there is no rush. The others went well and Dream worked the best out of all of them.
Second lot, Lucy on Dove, me on Skye and Doug on Red. Red is still making a noise which is rather a worry, Skye was as keen as ever and Dove had a couple of plants but was relatively happy. It was still raining and I didn't mind spending the rest of the day in the office.