As I write this month’s blog slightly later than usual, it’s hard to believe we are already staring August in the face. It’s been another varied month at Fern Farm, with plenty of goodbyes, hellos and work to be done.
We started off the month by seeing off more holidayers, always a bit sad to see them go, particularly Luttrell Lad and Melekhov who went back into training with Phillip Hobbs. It is always satisfying though to know we’ve given them the best care and fuel for what lies ahead and of course we wish them all well back at big school.
We had a quieter period in early July, allowing us to concentrate on my passion project of re-training and re-homing racehorses. We’ve placed many horses in happy homes in the past, something we’ve never really advertised before but are now focusing on at Fern Farm. The best part of RoR for me is making the perfect pairing of personalities, it’s a bit like running a dating agency! I’ve received some lovely updates from happy owners and their retired racehorses and it’s very satisfying to see their new careers and successful partnerships develop. Earlier this month we re-homed Our Reward, aka Rodders, with Ali Sewell, they will be having lots of fun together and are already making great progress.
Getting inside a horse’s mind is one of the most fascinating parts of my job. Whilst I love doing the breakers, re-training the retirers and finding them forever homes is so rewarding. Racehorses retire for so many different reasons, which presents all kinds of possibilities for their future. We have had two great examples of this in the yard this month. Maktay came to us from David Bridgwater. We bought him straight out of training as a beautifully bred 4 year old that just hadn’t met expectations on the track for no particular reason. He’s been an absolute delight to have around and ride, completely unfazed by anything and so kind, keen to please and a gorgeous ride with some swagger about him. The first day schooling him I was so impressed we had him jumping over poles within about half an hour, pretty amazing for a baby who will have only seen gallops, racecourses and the odd hurdle. I could tell straight away he doesn’t have the killer instinct for racing, but will make a super project for someone and we will have no problem finding him a home.
At the other end of the scale Terry the Fish came to us from Jonjo O’Neill, as referred to us by the RoR organisation, with whom we are now proud to be working in association. Terry has won some decent races and at best was rated 131. Unfortunately he sustained an injury whilst training at home, from which he is well recovered but sadly it has ended his racing career. At 8 years old he has plenty ahead of him and is also the most handsome boy you will see. On the first day in the school with him I was pleased with how he moved and really liked him, he certainly has some class about him and personality-wise is miles from Maktay. I will take things slowly with him and eventually he will need to go to someone with the right knowledge and skill, he will be happy hacking but he needs plenty to do and think about. He is very content for now hanging out with his new best friend Loose Chips who is showing him the way things work around the yard.
In other news it has been great to get on with pre-training, with some gorgeous Fern Farm favourites being back in work including Bold Red, Hoot at Midnight, Benny’s Bridge, Noble Savage, Arcadian Pearl, Divine Tara, Golden Taipan, Sir Bertie, Sandymount Rose, Milanese Rose and a 2 year old filly by Helmet as yet unnamed. So the team and I have had plenty of riding to do! It was lovely to welcome Fergal (O’Brien) and owner Gill Bostwick (director of Biddestone Racing) the other week to see Benny’s Bridge in the school and I’m happy to report everyone was pleased with him. Benny has been a long term rehab project following a muscular injury last winter. Fergal and Gill’s patience and trust in us has been amazing and we have taken a very long slow approach to getting him strong and physically able to take training. He spent a holiday back with Gill and came back to us in early June looking superb which gave us a wonderful blank canvas to work with. Following a month of road, hill, poles and flat work he is cantering now and has relaxed brilliantly. Gill also owns the Helmet filly and came to see her on the gallops, we are really grateful to Fergal for recommending us.
It’s also been good to get back to work with new shoes on for our pointers Reality Bites and Western Diva who is pictured above, posing as usual. Reality Bites will be our syndicate horse this season, there are a few shares left so if you’d like to get involved and have some fun days out please see our point to point page for details. On the pointing front we were of course delighted to learn that the go ahead has been given to start the season early, we are very optimistic now we’re back in training that we will be out and about early, hopefully in some better weather this year!
I have to mention the babies, Kazuri Kate’s foal Bertie by Cockney Rebel and Premier Blanc’s foal Peter by Frontiersman, who continue to thrive. They are now in a field together and getting along well. Bertie is so full of cheek and knows he’s a colt already! Being with two mums and a friend has definitely calmed him down a bit, we love having them around and there is nothing like standing in the field on a summer evening and giving a foal a good scratch to take away any stresses of the day.
Following our relatively quiet start to the month we end it being incredibly busy for which I’m very grateful. Though it’s hard to keep up at times this is how we roll, every day is always different and we look forward to getting back to racing, new ventures and all the comings and goings that make up the wonderful crazy life of Fern Farm.