Tuesday, 4 May 2021

 It was my Birthday on Friday and as it was such a nice day we decided to head for the beach. The traffic was surprisingly good considering it was a bank holiday and we got there in good time to have a walk, picnic on the beach and bottle of champagne. I even went for a swim, which needless to say was somewhat chilly but compared to the river, not too bad. We then went out for an 'alfresco' bar snack on the way home, still with sand in our feet. A really wonderful day.

Holkham Beach - It's been too long away from the sea.

We also had a great weekend - Ella had a ride on Field Exhibition (Flo) at Dingley Sadly her and Flo had a slight disagreement at a fence and Ella fell off. Up to that point Ella had settled Flo beautifully so it was such a shame as everything was coming together nicely. However, I had every sympathy with Ella as I have lost count how many times I fell off at Dingley!  Ella was fine, thank goodness. Her Mum, Becs had prepared the best picnic ever and it was a lovely treat to join them and watch some good racing. 
We didn't run Secret at Mollington as the ground hadn't softened significantly and as it was a two and a half mile race I didn't want her to be rushed off her feet. The weather was foul so instead we enjoyed watching it on TV by the fire.....

Sunday, 25 April 2021

 We had a great day yesterday at Garthorpe. They had done a really good job with the ground, and although it was quick, it was safe. We decided to run Archie even though we knew it would be too quick for him. Last time he ran he was completely clueless and had no idea he was racing - This time the penny had dropped and he set off at a ridiculous pace and Zac had a job to hold him. It was lovely to see him so keen, but in his excitement he completely forgot to breathe and ground to a sudden halt after a circuit and a half.  It was lovely to see him enjoying himself and we will call it a day now for this season. He has been broken for less that a year and was only jumping poles a few months ago, so to see him jumping the big fences at such speed was very exciting.  He will be hunted next season so that he gets used to having horses around him, and it won't be quite such a big deal.  I am looking forward to next season already!

Archie has learnt so much in such a short time

The racing in general was fantastic and the weather was nice enough to enjoy a drink around the lorry (socially distanced of course!) with people we hadn't seen for a long time.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

 Another beautiful day but still no rain. I have entered Archie (Daring Dove) for Garthorpe but won't run unless the ground is safe. Steven has just sent me some photos from his visit on Sunday which are much better than mine so here they are - 

Roy Boy and his admirers


Popalong with Jasper (Velvet Steel's two year old)

Monday, 19 April 2021

 Yay! Not only did Secret complete the course but she came third! A great result, and the really pleasing thing was how well she finished her race - It was an uphill finish and she grew a pair of wings, overtaking a number of horses to the finish line. She absolutely loved it and was very reluctant to go back in the box when she saw the horses galloping past for the next race and she tried to go with them.  She had a great day out and showed us a bit of promise. She has shown the boys a thing or two and hopefully they will now follow suit. The course was fantastic and I didn't see a lame horse. They had also moved a fence which caused all the problems last year and there were very few fallers, if any.  A very good job done by the Edgcote team. 

It was a really lovely days racing, particularly because owners were allowed and Roy, Carol and Steve had come to Blackgrounds first for a bottle of bubbles to celebrate being 'allowed out of prison' as Roy put it. We had a little picnic and then went to see Popalong and Popaway in the field whilst Doug also led the very playful Roy Boy around the yard - Popaway has produced some cracking youngsters. We are very lucky.

Roy and Steve with Popaway and Jess

Roy Boy almost a year old

Roy with Roy Boy

Sunday, 18 April 2021

 We walked Edgcote and were very pleasantly surprised how good the ground is - They have done a fantastic job and the ground is safe, so we are going to give Secret a run. She hasn't completed yet so it would just be nice for her to get round

Ella and Field Exhibition (Flo) had a fantastic run yesterday in what was probably the hottest Ladies race of the season. She got a great start and very bravely was on the inner the whole time tracking Southfield Theatre with Ravished on her outside. It was a 3.2 mile race and Flo tired before the finish but it was very exciting to see how well they both jumped at such speed. Flo has been raced so many times under rules that she needs to start enjoying it again, and she certainly seemed to love it yesterday. A perfect horse for a novice rider.  It was a beautiful day and the picnics were out. We are hoping to have the same today. I haven't got great memories of Edgcote after last year so I am keeping everything crossed that we have a jolly day out with everyone back safely. 

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

 Another lovely day but sadly still no rain - Where have the April showers gone? We will have to walk both courses (Edgcote and Chaddesley) but are very unlikely to run Secret as she fractured her leg two years ago and I wouldn't want to run her on ground that is anything but good/good to soft. I rode Garry today and he rather annoyingly felt fantastic. We will still get his back checked but I just cannot understand his disappointing run.  The only other thing I can think of is that he needs soft ground as being such a big horse he hasn't learnt to organise himself in front of a fence yet on quick ground. Oddly it says on his race card that he won with a tongue tie - He has never worn a tongue tie with us and he was with us on his only win, so I don't know where they got that information from.  His wind seems fine, so we can rule that one out.  I know he is genuine as he tries so hard on the gallops and never hesitates to go up the hill but maybe he just doesn't like racing...  We will try him one more time in the soft (?) with a female jockey, possibly cheek pieces and see how he goes.

Popaway - Back home and enjoying her hot breakfast

We are bringing the brood mares back now and Popaway and Jess were the first to come home. They have been to Yorton stud to visit Masterstroke. It was lovely to have them back and Jess was the first one covered and was scanned in foal this morning. Rosie (a well bred flat mare) and Velvet Steel went to Pethers Moon and have just returned and Velvet Dream and Burrows Spring have  gone to the National Stud to visit Flag of Honour. They are coming home tomorrow.  One in foal, five to go!

Sunday, 11 April 2021

 We had the loveliest day racing today without actually running the horse!  Sadly the course hadn't had a drop of rain and the ground was just too quick to risk ruining a gorgeous horse like Flo. Having said that it was a great course and we would thoroughly recommend it for next season. The Croome and West Warwickshire hunt had put such a huge effort into starting up this new racecourse and they deserve to be very successful with it.

Ella's parents had bought a huge picnic and drinks hamper, the weather was lovely and the everyone was very friendly. It made me wonder why I don't just go pointing without the worry of taking a horse - It is so much more fun!